Thursday Best Bets: One MLB Bet, Two NBA Props, One NHL Prop

Framber Valdez #59 of the Houston Astros pitches during Game 1 of the 2021 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
Image Credit: Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Do you want the bad news first or good news as it pertains to’s Best Bets? Yeah, that’s what we thought, too: Let’s get the negative out of the way.

Bad news: We suffered our second-straight losing night Wednesday, going 1-for-3.

Good news: The one hit was yet another NBA Prop winner, bringing our record to 17-5 in that department. (Hang on, pulling out the trusty calculator … yep, that’s 77 percent winners!)

More good news: Matt LaMarca checks in with another NBA Prop selection, which is among four Best Bets across three sports on this fine Thursday. That includes our first NRFI of the MLB season. (We know you know, but just in case you forgot: It’s pronounced nur-fee. And means “no run in the first inning”. Baseball is back, baby!)

Without further ado, let’s get to the good stuff!

Best Bets Track Record

Wednesday: 1-2
Year-To-Date: 46-40-1

Bostonian vs. The Book: 12-14-1
BetPrep Prop of the Day: 11-16
NBA Props: 17-5
NHL Props: 6-5

MLB Prop: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels

Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches in the game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 19, 2021 in Anaheim, California.
Image Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The bet: No first-inning run scored
The odds: -105
Where to bet: FanDuel Sportsbook
From: Matt Perrault via The Bostonian Vs. The Book podcast

The Bostonian vs. The Book crew is embracing MLB’s long-awaited Opening Day, taking “no runs to be scored in the first inning” in Angels-Astros.

This first-inning run prop has grown in popularity in recent seasons as an entertaining and approachable way to wager on MLB. After all, you only have to watch one inning (instead of the entire game) to get a decision on your bet.

Podcast host Matt Perrault was quick to pinpoint a NRFI opportunity in Thursday’s Angels-Astros game, citing the pitching matchup between Los Angeles’ Shohei Ohtani and Houston’s Framber Valdez: “Valdez has been pretty good early,” Perrault said. “Shohei Ohtani was unhittable in April last year.”

Dave Sharapan, co-host of the podcast, also believes both pitchers will get through the first inning unscathed.

“Both guys [will be] dealing early,” Sharapan said. “I like the game Under anyway. When I like the game Under, I always try to side with ‘no’ in the first inning.”

The Bostonian vs. The Book crew is confident that Ohtani will be raring to go after resting his pitching arm all offseason, while Valdez should live up to the billing as a solid front-line starter for the Astros.

If you want to bet no first-inning run in Thursday’s Angels vs. Astros contest, you can find the best price (-105) at FanDuel.

Perrault listed three other best bets he likes during Thursday’s Bostonian vs. The Book podcast — all coming from MLB’s Opening Day. You can listen to the replay on YouTube, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts.

NBA Prop: C Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic takes a shot over an opponent
Image Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The bet: Over 7.5 assists (vs. Memphis)
The odds: -115
Where to bet: DraftKings Sportsbook
From: Matt LaMarca via Thursday NBA Props

It’s getting difficult to find new words to describe Nikola Jokic.

He’s currently the betting favorite to take home his second consecutive MVP, and he’s capable of beating teams in a multitude of ways. Jokic is averaging career-bests in both points (27.0) and rebounds (13.7), while also netting 7.9 assists per game. And he’s doing it all with Will Barton as his best teammate. That’s absurd.

Jokic is on pace to set a new record for Player Efficiency Rating, which was held by Wilt Chamberlain for nearly 50 years before Giannis Antetokounmpo bested it two years ago.

There are plenty of ways to target Jokic on Thursday against Memphis, but my favorite is betting him to beat his assist prop. He hasn’t been distributing at quite his normal rate of late — he’s had less than 7.5 assists in three straight games — but he’s had at least eight dimes in 40 of 73 games this season (54.8%).

The Grizzlies also have played at the second-fastest pace in the league over their past 10 games, so this is a strong pace-up spot for Jokic and the Nuggets. Throw in the fact that Jokic has averaged 8.0 assists in three games versus the Grizzlies this season, and this is my preferred NBA prop for Thursday’s Best Bets.

NHL Prop: C Dylan Strome (Chicago Blackhawks)

 Dylan Strome #17 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on December 18, 2021 in Dallas, Texas.
Image Credit: Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

The bet: Score anytime goal (vs Seattle)
The odds: +160
Where to bet: DraftKings Sportsbook
From: Dan Bradley via Thursday NHL Props

Since getting the opportunity to log top-line minutes, Dylan Strome has taken off. He has 11 points in his last 10 games after scoring 32 points in his previous 47 contests. Along the way, Strome has made life easier for linemates Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat as well.

Strome’s long-term role in Chicago will be a topic of offseason debate. For now, he’s still wearing a Blackhawks sweater, and in that sweater, he’s had great goal-scoring success against bad teams (nine goals in 17 games versus foes with a losing record). And they don’t get much worse than Seattle, whose goaltending has been putrid in its inaugural season (and that’s being kind). Philipp Grubauer is expected to start Thursday, and his minus-24.95 goals saved above expected (GSAA) is the worst in the league.

The Blackhawks have averaged 3.7 goals over their last 10 games, the highest total of any home team on the ice Thursday. Strome needs to shoot the puck more (two shots or fewer in six of the last seven), but if he fires away as he did against Arizona on Sunday (five shots), he should be able to beat Grubauer and give us a nice plus-money Best Bets NHL props winner.

NBA Prop: PF Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)

Tobias Harris #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles the ball against the Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center on March 21, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Heat 113-106.
Image Credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The bet: Over 2.5 assists (at Toronto)
The odds: -130
Where to bet: Caesars Sportsbook
From: BetPrep Prop of the Day via

The BetPrep Prop of the Day missed on Wednesday, as Jayson Tatum went Over 7.5 rebounds against Chicago.

For Thursday, the BetPrep folks will look to get back on track by taking Philadelphia Sixers’ forward Tobias Harris Over 2.5 assists against the Raptors.

Jena Garcia checks in with the rationale for this BetPrep Best Bet:


@vidavivadiva with your Prop of the Day! Happy #OpeningDay everyone! #props #EasyWithAdobeExpress #propbetting #sports #sportsbetting #sportsbook #bettingtiktok #sportstalk #money #betresponsibly #bets #fyp

♬ original sound – BetProps

You can find Harris Over 2.5 assists at -130 juice on Caesars Sportsbook.

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