Baseball is in full swing right now, and there are another 12 games to choose from on today’s slate. There was a one-game appetizer this afternoon between the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers, but the rest of the action starts at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Here I am looking at my favorite bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for the games being played Saturday.
San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies
Padres ML (-118)
The Padres took Game 1 of their series at Coors Field, and I like their chances of making it two in a row today. San Diego will send left-hander Joey Lucchesi to the mound, who was absolutely dominant vs. left-handed batters last season. He limited them to a .260 expected wOBA and a 24.8% hard hit rate, both of which are elite numbers.
The Rockies’ biggest bats may be right-handed, but the rest of the Colorado lineup is pretty heavy on lefty bats. Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, Ryan McMahon, Daniel Murphy – all of these guys should be neutralized by this matchup. The Rockies can opt go to with a more right-handed lineup, but all of those replacements will be downgrades offensively.
On the other hand, the Padres get to face off with Kyle Freeland, who was an absolute gas can at Coors last season. He pitched to a 9.25 home ERA, so the Padres’ offense should be able to do some damage.
Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels
Angels ML (+140)
Sometimes you make a pick based on matchups but sometimes you make a pick based on numbers. This game falls into the latter category.
The Angels look like one of the sharper bets on the board today. The Halos are currently receiving just 29% of the moneyline bets in this contest but those bets account for 46% of the money wagered. That is a good indicator that the big bets – aka the sharp bets – are coming in on the home team. Historically, teams that fit that criteria have posted a 4.0% return on investment. That may not sound like much, but every edge in baseball is significant over a long season.
Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners
I’m turning to the Mariners as another small home underdog. The A’s will hand the ball to Mike Fiers, who is simply not a very good pitcher at this point in his career. His ERA totals in 2018 and 2019 were pretty solid, but his advanced metrics suggest that he was one of the luckier pitchers in baseball over that timeframe. He was roughed up in his first start this season, allowing four runs over four innings without recording a single strikeout.
The public predictably wants nothing to do with the Mariners – Seattle is currently receiving just 29% of the moneyline bets – but this matchup is closer than the odds imply.
Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs
Under 9.5 (-118)
I think this number is simply too high. The Pirates are sending Mitch Keller to the mound, who I think is pretty underrated as a starter at the moment. He pitched to a dreadful 7.13 ERA over 48 MLB innings in 2019, but it’s fair to say he was unlucky over that timeframe. He allowed a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .475, which is a major outlier. To put that in perspective, Jon Lester led all qualified pitchers with a BABIP of .347, and Keller’s mark was nearly 50% higher than that. Keller’s FIP of 3.19 suggests he was much better than his traditional numbers indicate, so expect to see some progression from him in 2020.
On the other side, Tyler Chatwood has been very reliable as a member of the Cubs. He pitched to a 3.76 ERA in 2019 and allowed just one run over six innings in his first start of 2020. The Pirates’ offense is not very formidable – only Josh Bell and Bryan Reynolds posted an expected wOBA above .334 vs. right-handers last season – so he should be able to keep Pittsburgh in check.
Cleveland at Minnesota Twins
Cleveland ML (+106)
You have to feel good for Carlos Carrasco. He successfully made his way back from leukemia in 2019, but he just wasn’t the same pitcher. He struggled to a 5.29 ERA over 80 innings, which was a far cry from his peak of 2.55 in 2014.
That said, he looked fantastic in his first start of 2020. He allowed two runs over six innings while striking out 10 batters. His FIP in that start was a sparkling 0.26, so he was probably unlucky to allow even those two runs.
He’ll face a much tougher test today vs. the Twins, who have one of the best lineups in baseball, but this is the time to buy Carrasco. If he looks good again, you probably won’t be able to grab him as an underdog for much longer.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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.