I feel a little bit like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. No matter what I do, no matter who I pick, I keep going 2-1 on my best bets in these Wednesday articles. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take the profit — and the season-long record of 33-17 isn’t too shabby — but I do miss the euphoria of a perfect week.
With that in mind, there’s no time like the present to try and improve. Here are my three favorite plays for tonight’s slate on the DraftKings Sportsbook. Hopefully, all three are winners.
This is a matchup of two teams that are red-hot. The Braves come into Wednesday 6-1 in their past seven games, while the Reds are 10-4 in their last 14 contests and 8-3 in their past 11 games on the road. Needless to say, it’s understandable that the DraftKings Sportsbook sees this tilt as a coin toss.
However, I do think there are some serious statistical trends that point towards Cincinnati walking away victorious this evening. Let’s start with Wade Miley. The veteran left-hander has quietly been pitching to a 2.75 ERA and a 3.57 FIP through 20 starts in 2021, despite having an average fastball velocity in the bottom one percent of the league. His secret? Hard contact suppression. Opponents have managed just an 85.5 mph average exit velocity on the batted ball events produced off of Miley so far this season — the fourth-lowest qualified rate in all of baseball. People just can’t square up the 34-year-old’s arsenal, which is why he’s been able to post a 2.04 ERA in his past six outings.
Miley’s handedness should also play a factor in tonight’s proceedings, as Atlanta owns just a 91 wRC+ when facing LHPs. That’s the fifth-lowest mark in MLB. Conversely, the Reds have registered a 132 wRC+ across the past two weeks, which ranks first among all teams in that span of time. Basically, Touki Toussaint is going to have to navigate a minefield, and he’ll likely have to do so without a lot of run support from his teammates.
This is a big prop. Especially considering Burnes hasn’t been quite living up to the lofty standards he set for himself back in April and May. In fact, while Burnes registered at least eight strikeouts in seven consecutive outings to begin 2021, he’s failed to reach that number in six of his past eight appearances.
Still, it’s not like the right-hander has been pitching poorly during this stretch. Burnes possesses an above-average 27.1% strikeout rate going back to June 18, and that includes a performance with 12 strikeouts against the Reds back on July 18. We’ve seen the flashes of brilliance, they’ve just been a little more sporadic than they were back in the spring. Yet I’ve got a feeling tonight is going to be one of those vintage moments.
To be blunt, what’s remaining of the Cubs’ 26-man roster is bad. Chicago traded away anything of any value at the deadline, and it’s now left with a collection of bats that appear to simply be overmatched at the big league level. To wit, the Cubs come into Wednesday sporting a 32.8% strikeout rate in August, which is easily the highest mark in all of baseball. Heck, Freddy Peralta, whose 34.5% strikeout rate for the season ranks just below Burnes’ rate of 35.0%, was able to rack up eight strikeouts in just 5.1 innings of work versus the Cubs on Tuesday. It can be done.
While the Brewers moneyline opened at a reasonable number, it’s been bet up to a place that I can’t recommend chasing. So, we’ll have to get a little creative if we want to take advantage of the most lopsided pitching matchup of the day.
I just spent a lot of time signing Burnes’ praises, but let’s quickly recap his accomplishments so far this season. The All-Star ranks first in baseball among pitchers with at least 100.0 innings thrown in FIP (1.66), xERA (1.84) and strikeout rate (35.0%). Only 1.6% of opponent plate appearances against Burnes have ended in a barrel — the lowest qualified mark in the league — as the RHP has conceded an average exit velocity of just 84.8 mph. By any metric imaginable, Burnes is incredible.
The opposite is true when discussing Jake Arrieta, at least the 2021 version of the former Cy Young Award winner. Arrieta has been underwhelming all season long, but the results from his past nine outings are particularly jarring. In that span, opponents are slugging .679 off of the right-hander, as Arrieta’s surrendered 3.9 home runs per nine. Unsurprisingly, this has translated into a 9.48 ERA for the 35-year-old. Expect the Brewers to score early and often in this one, which should clear the path to Burnes picking up his seventh win of the season.
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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