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Expect early fireworks between Mets, Phillies

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We put together another 2-1 card Wednesday night, losing on the hook with Taj Bradley after the Rays pulled him with a pitch count of 83.

As disappointing as that defeat was, we'll take the profit and move on to a small but fruitful Thursday slate.

Let's dive into a few of my favorite plays on the board.

Mets (+120) @ Phillies (-140)

I expect plenty of offense in this game. And with Jose Quintana and Taijuan Walker on the mound, the fireworks should begin early.

Quintana sports a 5.44 ERA this year, and he's given up at least four earned runs in three of his past four starts. His .380 xwOBA in that span indicates he deserves his poor results.

The Phillies own an impressive .270 batting average versus lefties this season, and only the Diamondbacks have a higher OBP against southpaws than them. Led by Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Alec Bohm, Philadelphia will cause Quintana a world of problems.

But the Mets have reason to believe they can keep up offensively. Walker conceded nine runs over his first two starts of the season before holding a lowly Marlins team to just one run on eight hits. That most recent performance is likely to be an exception rather than the norm.

New York sits sixth in xwOBA versus righties in May. The club's more than capable of doing damage against a back-of-rotation starter like Walker.

Look for both teams to score early and often in a high-scoring game.

Bet: F5 Over 4.5 runs (-115)

Cristian Javier: Over 3.5 hits allowed

Javier's made five starts this season, conceding at least four hits in all but one of those outings. His struggles suppressing hits are nothing new.

Dating back to last year, Javier's allowed four hits or more in 22 of his past 30 starts. That's a 73% clip.

Things aren't about to get any easier for him against the Athletics. Although its record isn't impressive, Oakland's offense has been for quite some time - especially against right-handed pitchers.

The A's rank fourth in xwOBA and top 10 in batting average versus righties in May.

Seven of the past eight right-handed starters the Athletics faced conceded four-plus hits. The exception came against Bryan Woo, who, at this point, is much more reliable than Javier.

Odds: -135 (playable to -145)

Justin Steele: Over 4.5 hits allowed

Steele's made three starts this campaign. Although he's only thrown a season-high 74 pitches in a contest, his pitch count has slowly increased each time out. That trend should continue as the Cubs get Steele up to full speed.

I expect 80-plus pitches to be in the cards Thursday night. That number's been somewhat of a sweet spot for Steele.

The 28-year-old has given up at least five hits in 13 of his past 15 starts when throwing 80 pitches or more. But he's allowed six hits in 12 of those contests, so he's often clearing the number with some room to spare.

The Pirates aren't a good offensive team, and it'd be ignorant to suggest otherwise. Still, they piled up six hits against Steele in four innings last time out.

With an increased pitch count for Steele and more Pirates at-bats, five hits doesn't seem like a lot to ask.

Odds: -132 (playable to -150)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X at @ToddCordell.

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