Well, here we are. The slowest sports day of the year. The one day between the MLB All-Star Game and the return of regular season baseball. It’s truly like watching paint dry, which is probably why I’ve been staring at the DraftKings Sportsbook all afternoon looking at futures. There’s only a little more than 70 games left on the schedule and the trade deadline is looming. Is there anywhere for people to find some value?
I certainly think so. Here’s a few bets I’m considering for the second-half of 2022.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
NL Rookie of the Year: Spencer Strider (+180)
While betting the odds on favorite isn’t the most fun thing in the world, I’m having a difficult time understanding how Strider’s odds are still plus-money. The right-hander has been absolutely dominant since joining the Braves’ rotation, with a 3.42 ERA and an eye-popping 37.4% strikeout rate in the 10 starts he’s made this season. Heck, if you use May 30 as a cutoff point, Strider isn’t just the frontrunner for National League Rookie of the Year, he’s a perfectly fine candidate for Cy Young. In 50.0 innings of work across that span, Strider’s 2.33 FIP is the fifth-best mark among qualified pitchers in the NL, and his 2.42 xFIP ranks first. Atlanta is also 33-13 since Strider’s first start, if you’d like a little narrative with your stats.
The other aspect of this bet is Strider’s competition. Michael Harris II (+210) has the second-best odds on the board, yet Strider’s clearly been the more impactful rookie on his own team — a take that’s substantiated by a pretty sizeable gap in fWAR between the teammates. After that, you’ve got Oneil Cruz (+700), Seiya Suzuki (+1200) and Nolan Gorman (+1800). Cruz is a highlight machine, but there’s a chance he finishes the season below the Mendoza line with a strikeout rate hovering around 40%. Suzuki’s hit exceedingly well since returning from the IL, but said IL stint cost him valuable time. While Gorman is a platoon bat with zero defensive value at this point in his career. This award is Strider’s for the taking.
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AL Central: White Sox (+125)
What hasn’t gone wrong for the White Sox in 2022? In fact, here is a list of players who have landed on the IL at some point this season for Chicago: Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Yasmani Grandal, A.J. Pollock, Jake Burger, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Liam Hendriks. I’m sure I’m missing someone. Yet, despite all that, and the lingering stink of having Tony La Russa as a manager, the White Sox find themselves sitting at the .500 mark at the All-Star break, just three games back of the division leading Twins.
However, I finally have some good news for fans of the Southside team: Chicago’s schedule is ridiculously easy down the stretch. It’s actually the easiest schedule of any American League squad by opponent winning percentage (.466). Now, that’s somewhat part and parcel with life in the AL Central — Minnesota and Cleveland also face a remaining schedule with a winning percentage below .500 — but what the White Sox have left in front of them is truly special. 30 of their final 70 games (42.9%) will be played against the Tigers (9), the Royals (11), the Athletics (7) and the Diamondbacks (3). The only three games Chicago still has to play versus the dominant AL East is a three-game set with Orioles in late August. If they can stay at least somewhat healthy, I think the White Sox have a huge second-half run in the cards.
Regular Season Wins
Angels Under 75.5 (-110)
The Angels are currently 14 games below .500. Since May 25, the team is 12-36. Joe Maddon has been fired, Anthony Rendon is once again lost for the season and, during the All-Star break, it was announced that Mike Trout is headed to the IL. Woof. As per usual, there’s enough star power on this roster where I wouldn’t be shocked to see Los Angeles be competitive in the second-half of the season; yet even if the squad were to finish 36-34 in its final 70 contests, it would still only win 75 games for the season. That’s how low the Angels have fallen the past couple of months.
Really, there’s a pretty obvious path to Los Angeles being sellers at the deadline. I mean, there’s honestly not that much to sell — unless we want to set the world on fire with Shohei Ohtani fake trades — but I’m sure a few teams could use the services of Noah Syndergaard, Ryan Tepera or Aaron Loup. That would leave the cupboards extremely bare in Anaheim, so much so, I wouldn’t fret the Angels’ 21 remaining games with the Athletics (12), the Tigers (6) and the Royals (3). At that point, all four of those teams are on roughly equal footing.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and I 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.
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