Nearly every team hits the field on Thursday in a busy MLB schedule that includes several solid pitching showdowns. That includes the ageless Zack Greinke, 7-2 with a 2.89 ERA, facing Erick Fedde (1-0, 2.93) as the Arizona Diamondbacks play at the Washington Nationals. Jacob deGrom goes for the New York Mets as they host Jack Flaherty, Paul Goldschmidt and the St. Louis Cardinals. Plus Clayton Kershaw and Jon Lester face off in a showdown of All-Star left-handers as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs open a series in sunny L.A. Fans everywhere will be playing off MLB odds for these games, but before locking in any MLB picks of your own, you need to see the MLB best bets of the night from SportsLine handicapper John Bollman.

Bollman combines MLB front-office experience with a deep statistical background. Last season Bollman, who has a master’s degree in biostatistics, worked in the Toronto Blue Jays‘ analytics department, focusing on high-performance sports science and player development.

And he’s in the midst of a red-hot run, hitting on 20 of his last 30 picks (67 percent). Anyone following him is way up.

Now he’s studied the full MLB schedule and his top three picks are in, using the numbers to find critical trends you may not be considering. Parlaying them together would bring a return of more than 6-1 if they hit. 

We can tell you Bollman is going with the Dodgers (-172) at home to face the Cubs at 7:05 p.m. ET. He’s hit on three of his four picks involving Chicago this season, most recently on Monday when he went with the Rockies (-135) in a 6-5 Colorado win.

Both Lester (5-4, 3.56) and Kershaw (5-1, 3.00) are having solid seasons, but Bollman breaks it down more than the usual numbers and has found considerable value on L.A. at this money line price. That includes Lester’s 4.97 road ERA, and Kershaw’s 2.88 home split and 4-0 home record.

“Plus, Lester is 2-2 with a 4.55 ERA in Dodger Stadium while Kershaw is 5-3 with a 2.57 ERA against the Cubs in his career,” Bollman told SportsLine. “The Dodgers are 7-2 after a day off and 9-1 when Kershaw starts. Lay the favorite.” Confidently lock in the Dodgers to win on Thursday, and you could be well on your way to a nice parlay payout.

Bollman has also found a key x-factor that has him all-in on a road team Thursday night. You can only see which big dog he’s all-in on at SportsLine.

So which MLB picks should you make on Thursday for a payout of more than 6-1? And which road team is he backing hard? See Thursday’s MLB schedule below, then visit SportsLine to get Thursday’s MLB best bets, all from the former MLB front-office analyst now breaking it down for SportsLine.

Thursday’s MLB schedule

(all times Eastern)

Pirates at Braves (-154), 12:10 p.m.
Mariners at Twins (-172), 1:10 p.m.
Diamondbacks at Nationals (+105), 7:05 p.m.
Blue Jays at Orioles (+120), 7:05 p.m.
Cardinals at Mets (-132), 7:10 p.m.
Rangers at Red Sox (-225), 7:10 p.m.
Angels at Rays (-141), 7:10 p.m.
Tigers at Royals (+110), 8:05 p.m.
Yankees at White Sox (+165), 8:10 p.m.
Padres at Rockies (-141), 8:40 p.m.
Cubs at Dodgers (-172), 10:10 p.m.

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