We’ve made it to the first Wednesday of the MLB season’s second half and it feels like a good time to assess how we’ve made out so far in 2021. We come into tonight’s action with a 27-14 record on article plays, a tally that does not include last week’s trio of wagers, which were all futures bets that you still have time to get in on.
So, because it feels like I don’t have to cancel this article out of financial ruin, here are my three favorite bets for this evening’s slate on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
This isn’t the sexiest pitching matchup on paper — someone in the stands is more likely to produce a 95 mph fastball than either Kyle Hendricks or Adam Wainwright — but both veterans have been pitching better than you’d expect the past few months. Hendricks’ turnaround might be the most surprising, as it appeared the 31-year-old’s reign of soft-contact domination had come to an end with a string of horrible outings back in April. However, in Hendricks’ past 12 starts, the RHP has posted a 2.48 ERA, all while holding opponents to a modest .291 wOBA. Heck, that ERA falls to just 1.98 in Hendricks’ most recent six trips to the mound.
As for Wainwright, the key to his success in 2021 is the same as it’s been for the past half-decade: Make sure the 39-year-old is pitching at Busch Stadium. While Wainwright has registered an ugly 5.35 ERA on the road so far this season, his numbers at his home park are pristine. The former All-Star has a 2.84 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP in St. Louis, ratios he’s able to maintain thanks to opponents managing an underwhelming .265 wOBA within the split.
The other aspect to consider here is handedness. Eight teams come into play on Wednesday with a wOBA below .300 when hitting against right-handed pitching. Both the Cardinals and the Cubs are on that list. The NL Central rivals are also each sitting in the bottom five in wRC+ versus RHPs, so runs should be at a premium.
Remember that famous quote from It’s a Wonderful Life? The one where Clarence tells George “no man is a failure that has friends.” Well, I have a similar mantra, except you have to replace the words “has friends” with “bets against Garrett Richards.”
Richards is truly the gift that keeps on giving, as the right-hander comes into tonight’s start against the Blue Jays equipped with a 6.27 xERA and an MLB-high 51.2% opponent hard hit rate. In Richards’ past six outings, opposing hitters have slashed an insane .361/.428/.623 off of the 33-year-old, numbers so putrid that it’s almost a shock that the veteran’s 6.66 FIP isn’t worse within that span of time.
Now, that doesn’t change the fact that this is a huge prop, yet Toronto does lead the league in OPS (.796) and wOBA (.342) when facing right-handed pitching. The Jays are also best in baseball in ISO (.215) and wRC+ (124) when hitting in their home ball park (whether that be in Dunedin or Buffalo). I’d expect them to put up runs early and often on Wednesday night.
I’m not sure who told McCullers to start button mashing his slider like a 12-year-old who doesn’t know the move list on Mortal Kombat, but it’s been a highly effective strategy as of late. In three starts so far in July, the right-hander has seen his slider usage jump all the way from 22.3% in June to 37.1%. As a point of reference, McCullers has used his fastball in just 37.8% of counts within the same span of time.
The result? McCullers has struck out an impressive 31.7% of the 82 batters he’s faced, including eight strikeouts in 5.1 innings against this same Cleveland lineup back on July 2. He also posted eight strikeouts in his outing on July 8 against the Athletics, and he then set a new season-high with 10 punch outs versus the White Sox in his most recent appearance on July 16. With Cleveland leading the American League in strikeout rate going back to the beginning of the month (27.1%), there’s no reason to think McCullers can’t go over this prop for the fourth-straight start.
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 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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