MLB has quite the odd schedule on Thursday, which forces the main DraftKings slate to lock at 4:05 p.m. ET! I honestly can’t remember a main slate locking so early during the week and yet, here we are.
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Biggest Moneyline Favorite
Note: This section highlights the pitcher whose team is the largest favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Clayton Kershaw, $10,300, LAD (-315) vs. ARI (+255) — What a great spot for Kershaw facing one of the worst teams offensively against lefties and a struggling opposing pitcher. Entering this game, the Diamondbacks have a .269 wOBA, .112 ISO and a 21% K% against lefties. This is also the second time that he’ll face this club, shutting them out through 5.2 innings while allowing just three hits and striking out six. Kershaw is the most expensive pitcher on this slate and that’s fine by me with how well he’s pitched overall and how poorly the D-Backs have been in this situation. It’s good to see his swing-and-miss rate going up as well to 13.4%, which is currently the highest it’s been since 2017.
Other notable favorites: Zach Eflin ($7,800; -167) vs. Nationals, Mike Clevinger ($8,700; -167) vs. Angels
Highest Projected Total
TOR (-127, 5.5 runs) vs. BOS (+108, 4.5 runs) 10.5 runs — The Blue Jays are the favorites here and will be running out one of the many additions to their rotation in Taijuan Walker ($4,800), who has been pitching much better than his salary indicates. On offense, they’ll be taking on Martin Perez ($6,400), who has been so wildly inconsistent you can never figure out if you should be stacking against him or rostering him. If it helps, the Blue Jays have been a good team against lefties with a .338 wOBA, a .191 ISO and just a 22.1% K%. The 5.5 run projection for them, as you’d imagine, is tied with other teams for the highest on the slate.
Other notable team totals: PHI (5.5) vs. WAS, CWS (5.5) vs. KCR
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WAS @ PHI — As the night rolls along, the chance of rain is going to increase. So while they’ll be able to start without a problem, the real question is if this will go the full nine innings. Keep an eye on this one.
NYY @ NYM — Same situation as in Philly, make sure to check these games before first pitch.
Splits to Start
Note: This section will now show the combined stats from 2019 and 2020
Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters
Worst vs. LHB, wOBA, FIP
Zach Eflin, .374, 6.28
Dylan Cease, .370, 6.46
Taijuan Walker, .369, 6.13
Best vs. LHB, wOBA, FIP
Clayton Kershaw, .267, 3.65
Martin Perez, .270, 3.56
J.A. Happ, .285, 4.48
Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters
Worst vs. RHB, wOBA, FIP
Martin Perez, .348, 5.04
J.A. Happ, .339, 5.64
Dylan Cease, .331, 4.46
Best vs. RHB, wOBA, FIP
Taijuan Walker, .218, 3.47
Mike Clevinger, .248, 2.22
Clayton Kershaw, .277 3.83
Pitcher to Build Around
Clayton Kershaw, LAD vs. ARI, $10,300 — This is not really a slate where you can go and get creative, so Kershaw is truly the play as your SP1. I’d love to throw someone else in this spot but he’s in the best position today. I’m sure plenty of attention will be on Mike Clevinger ($8,700) as well and that’s totally fine. The problem I have is that the Angels don’t strikeout much against righties with just a 21% K% and have hit righties well, sporting a .328 wOBA and a .171 ISO. So I think it’s fair to say it’s not the best matchup for him. Thus, Kershaw is my dude here.
Heavy Hitter to Pay For
Juan Soto, WAS vs. PHI, $5,600 — In the hopes they can get this full game in, Soto is in such a great spot against Zach Eflin ($7,800), who is always someone to pick on if you’re a lefty. Since the beginning of last season, Eflin has allowed a .374 wOBA with a 6.28 FIP, which are some of the worst numbers on this slate against lefties. Soto, meanwhile, continues to rake at the plate and is averaging 11 DKFP over his last 10 games with four home runs, two doubles and nine RBI.
Save Big by Drafting
Ryan O’Hearn, KC vs. CWS, $3,400 —So here’s the deal. O’Hearn doesn’t have great numbers, like at all. So you’re probably like, “why would Steve do this to us?” Well, I have my reasons. First, Dylan Cease ($9,500), while pitching well, has really struggled against lefties. Along with Eflin, he has some of the highest numbers against lefties since last season with a .374 wOBA and 6.46 FIP. If you look at this season specifically, he’s allowed six of his eight HR to lefties and a .353 wOBA with a 6.75 FIP. O’Hearn bats cleanup against righties, so this could be a super sneaky spot for him at what should be very low ownership. I have zero issue taking a shot here.
Favorite Team To Stack
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox (vs. Martin Perez) — Some of the stacks I’m really into for tonight, like the Nationals, Phillies and Mets, have weather concerns. So instead of giving you a game that could get cut short, let’s roll with the Blue Jays in a no weather related game. As mentioned above, the Blue Jays are hitting lefties well and the majority of the struggles for Perez have been at Fenway Park. When pitching at home, Perez has allowed a .362 wOBA with a 5.52 FIP along with three of his five home runs allowed.
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