There are a lot of things going on right now that are a lot more important than baseball, but MLB has 15 games on the schedule today, including doubleheaders.
Here are three of my favorite targets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Thursday’s MLB slate.
Editor’s Note: According to reports, tonight’s Phillies-Nationals, Athletics-Rangers, Red Sox-Blue Jays and Twins-Tigers games will be postponed.
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Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins: Tigers ML (+138)
This looks like a pretty big mismatch on paper. The Tigers will turn to Matthew Boyd, who has pitched to an 8.48 ERA this season, while Twins starter Randy Dobnak has posted an ERA of 1.78 through his first six starts. However, the advanced metrics for both starters paint a different picture. Boyd still hasn’t been great by any stretch of the imagination, but his 4.60 xFIP is actually pretty close to Dobnak’s mark of 4.08. Boyd is also the superior strikeout pitcher, posting a K/9 of 10.36 through his first 28 2/3 innings in 2020. He has had some really bad luck in terms of batting average on balls in play (BABIP) and HR/FB rate, so expect some better performances from Boyd moving forward. The sharps appear to be all over the Tigers in this matchup. They opened up around +160 but have dropped all the way to +138 at the time of writing. The Tigers have generated just 21% of the moneyline wagers in this contest, so a line move that drastic is a pretty good indication of professional activity in their favor.
Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Under 9.0 runs (-105)
This is one of the most interesting pitching matchups on the slate. The Nationals will send Max Scherzer to the mound, who certainly needs no introduction. He’s been one of the best pitchers for the past half decade, and while he’s off to a bit of a slow start in 2020, there are still plenty of reasons for optimism with him this season. He’s still striking out batters at an elite rate, so there’s no reason to expect his struggles to continue moving forward. Spencer Howard will make his fourth career start for the Phillies, and he has the potential to be one of the best pitchers for the next half decade. He hasn’t exactly shown that to start his career – he’s pitched to a 6.17 ERA through his first three outings – but he entered the season as the Phillies’ top prospect and the No. 27 overall prospect in the majors. He posted a 2.35 ERA in Double-A last season. I’m expecting progression from both of these starters, and there’s no reason why that can’t start today.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles: Orioles ML (+170)
The Orioles are a pretty large underdog here, but I think this is a pretty good spot for them. They’re taking on Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, and the Orioles have actually been one of the best teams in baseball vs. southpaws this season. They rank sixth in wRC+ and second in ISO, so they have the potential to find some success in this matchup.
They will send John Means to the mound, and he was one of their lone bright spots in 2019. He pitched to a 3.60 ERA over 155.0 innings, and while he was definitely a bit lucky, he still stands out as arguably their best pitching option.
The public unsurprisingly wants nothing to do with the Orioles – they’ve received just 24% of the moneyline bets in this contest – but those bets have accounted for 58% of the money wagered.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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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.