MLB is back! After a couple of full slates, we are back into the swing of things. Here I am looking at my favorite bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for the games being played Sunday.
Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies: Phillies -1.5 (+117)
Vince Velasquez is a pitcher that I have been high on for a while. Unfortunately, injuries have stunted his development a bit. He’s still shown great stuff at times and with this being the start of the season, this figures to be the one time we can count on Velasquez having good health. His velocity was up in summer camp, which has me bullish on his upside heading into the season. Pitching against a weak Marlins’ team, he has the chance to get off to a good start.
Opposing him, Jose Urena is coming off a really tough season. He had a 5.21 ERA and his peripheral numbers don’t indicate much upside. Urena struck out just 6.59 hitters per nine innings last season and he’s also prone to walking hitters. Low strikeouts paired with walks are never a good recipe for success. Pitching against a tough Phillies’ offense, there is a good chance he gets lit up, allowing the Phillies to cover the run line.
Detroit Tigers at Cincinnati Reds: Tigers (+175)
I think Trevor Bauer is one of the most fun pitchers to watch in baseball. Last year, I thought he had a sneaky chance to win the Cy Young. Instead, his season could not have gone much worse. A spike in fly ball rate combined with a bump in his HR/FB rate meant a massive amount of homers hit against him. This combined with Bauer walking 3.46 hitters per nine innings ended up being a recipe for disaster. He finished with a 4.48 ERA, his worst mark since becoming a full-time starter.
I do expect a bounce back this season from Bauer although it’s tough to be too confident in him. At the very least, he likely isn’t deserving of being a massive favorite, even against the Tigers. Make no mistake, the Reds are more likely to win this game and the team I would pick if all things were even. This isn’t the case when considering the betting line. For a pitcher in Bauer who was prone to blowing up last season, it’s worthwhile taking a stab against him when the odds are so wide.
Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics: Angels (-118)
I am going to go out on a hunch and say this is going to be one of the only times all season we see Ohtani starting in a closely lined game. Arguably one of the most talented players that has ever entered the MLB, it’s been so long since we last saw Ohtani pitch that it might be easy to forget how dominant he was. As good as he’s been as a hitter, he came to the United States with the billing as an ace with the potential to hit. Ohtani is a better pitcher than hitter and that’s no knock on his abilities with a bat. In his first season, he pitched 51 innings with a 3.31 ERA. Ohtani also showed a ton of fantasy upside since he struck out 10.97 hitters per nine innings. I expect him to be one of the best pitchers in baseball this season and this line is a final chance to buy low on him.
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Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox: OVER 10.5 runs (-115)
The starting pitching in this game leaves quit a bit too be desired. Both of the starters in this game made appearances as starters and out of the bullpen and neither had success in either of those roles. LeBlanc capped his season with a 5.71 ERA and Ryan Weber finished with a 5.09 ERA. Even after these starters come out of the game, the bullpens are rough for both of these teams. No matter who ends up on the mound, the offenses are going to have the advantage.
Despite trading Mookie Betts in the offseason, the Red Sox should still have one of the top offenses in the American League. For this reason, the have been chalkiest offense for DFS on each of the first two main slates of the season. Even though the Orioles’ offense isn’t going to be great this season, they are still capable of decent performances against bad pitching. We saw this yesterday when they put up seven runs with Martin Perez starting for Boston. The pitching is bad enough here that I think this should be the highest-scoring game of the day.
Moneyline Parlay: HOU/ATL (+152)
The Astros are the safest parlay piece on this slate. The Mariners aren’t likely to win many games this season and Houston is at home with Zack Greinke on the mound. Seattle counters with Yusei Kikuchi, who didn’t appear to be MLB caliber in his first season in the big league. Even though he was great in Japan, his success didn’t translate and he put up a 5.46 ERA in his rookie season.
As for the Braves, they are taking on the Mets after a thrilling extra innings win. As per usual, the Mets’ bullpen blew a lead in the late going. New York also had to burn most of its top relievers, so I expect Atlanta to have an advantage in the later innings. In the early innings, I also think we could see things go the Braves’ way. Rick Porcello is making his first start with the Mets and not many former Cy Young winners have aged worse. Porcello had a 5.52 ERA last season and hasn’t had an ERA under 4.20 since winning his Cy Young.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.