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MLB Best Bets Tonight: Expert MLB Picks for Thursday, May 18

Los Angeles Dodgers (-152) @ St. Louis Cardinals (+128) | Over/Under 9

The LA Dodgers were only messing around it appears. The team has shaken off the cobwebs that allowed the Diamondbacks to be the top dog in that division. LAD has settled in and won 15 of their last 18 games. It's been a great run for them in the month of May. Now they draw a St. Louis team still somehow dead last in the NL Central, despite being the actual division favorite in the preseason.

On the bump today we have my preseason pick for the NL Cy Young award, Julio Urias. Julio has had a strong start to the year, outside of a couple of shellings. He will need to be sharp, as the St. Louis' team has rallied to win eight of their last 10 games. One of the struggles Urias has had this season is the long ball. He's allowed 10 on the year, and at least one in six of his last seven outings. The Cardinals' offense has tons of power, where they rank seventh in the MLB in taters (85) and eighth in OPS (.768). If Julio can keep the ball in the yard, then there's a really good chance he can go six innings and log a quality start to give his team a chance to win. The Dodgers have won his last three starts.

The pitching is what has been the problem for the Cards. They don't have a single starter with an ERA under 4.00. Tonight they will bring back Adam Wainwright for his third showing of the young season. Waino has surrendered 15 hits and eight runs across 10 innings this season. If he still has gas left in the tank, then he's just off to a slow start. What Wainwright has to deal with is an LA offense that can rake. The Dodgers are third in the majors with 72 homers, fourth with 231 RBI's, and sixth in OPS (.771). There's definitely a possibility the Cards can grab a few runs from Urias, but I just don't think they have the pitching to outlast them.

MLB Expert Pick for Dodgers vs Cardinals

  • Dodgers ML -150 (DraftKings Sportsbook)

Freddie Freeman o1.5 total bases (-125), BetMGM

From a mechanical standpoint, Freddie Freeman has one of the most smooth swings in Major League Baseball. Since the beginning of 2016, Freeman owns a .309 batting average and a .939 OPS, proving that he is a constant threat to get on base, if not into scoring position right out of the batter’s box. Freeman already had an elite line drive% in 2022, (27.5%), but has increased that number even further in 2023 (30.8%). Tonight, Freeman gets a favorable matchup against Adam Wainwright, who has major red flags when he is facing left-handed hitters. Take the over here.

Whit Merrifield u1.5 total bases (-155), BetMGM

Entering play on Thursday, Whit Merrifield owns a respectable .281 batting average against left-handed pitching in 2023, but his .661 OPS and .094 ISOagainst southpaws reveal that the vast majority of his contact is going for singles rather than extra-bases. Taking a deeper dive into the metrics, Merrifield has an unimpressive 25.0% HardHit% against left-handed pitching this year, further supporting the notion that he simply doesn’t have much power in these situations. The under is a good look in this spot this evening.

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