Well, we’ve made it through five months of the MLB regular season and what a profitable five months they’ve been. After another 2-1 week last Wednesday, our record for article plays this season stands at 37-19. Hopefully, the winners keep rolling in during September.
Here are my three favorite wagers for tonight’s baseball slate on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Score in the First Inning: No (-120)
While the top-third of both of these lineups can be dangerous — though less so with Xander Bogaerts currently on the COVID IL — this is a contest that should be defined by pitching. Well, this is a contest that should be defined by starting pitching, as Boston’s bullpen has completely fallen apart in recent weeks.
Chris Sale has come back from Tommy John surgery looking incredibly strong. He’s thrown 15.1 innings across his first three appearances of 2021, maintaining a 34.4% strikeout rate and a 2.47 xFIP. He’s also been essentially unhittable his first time through the lineup, holding opponents to a .120/.185/.160 slash line. Obviously we’re dealing in very small samples here, but Sale’s stuff and his track record speak for themselves. The fact that the Rays have struggled to hit LHPs all season is welcome knowledge, too.
Where this bet gets interesting is Drew Rasmussen. The 26-year-old is far less renowned than his counterpart on the mound, but his five starts this season have been masterful, as he’s held opponents to a .204 wOBA and pitched to a 2.50 ERA. A converted reliever, Rasmussen is basically a two-pitch pitcher, as he’s combined to use either his fastball or his slider in 95.9% of counts. It’s a limited mix that might get someone in trouble the second and third time through an order, but one that shouldn’t affect Rasmussen’s ability in the first frame.
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Cleveland Guardians at Kansas City Royals
Team Total: Cleveland Over 4.5 Runs (+105)
If I asked you which team has hit the most home runs across the past two weeks, how long do you think it would take you to get to Cleveland? The soon-to-be Guardians have been on absolute fire since the middle of August, leading baseball over the last 14 days in long balls (24), ISO (.239), wOBA (.375) and wRC+ (137). Maybe more importantly, the club is also second in MLB in steals (15) during this stretch, a clear indication of how aggressive Cleveland wants to be on the base paths. Everything is just working right now.
Meanwhile, the Royals will recall Jackson Kowar to make his fourth appearance of the season on Wednesday night, after a nightmarish string of results in June to begin his MLB career. Trust me when I tell you that Kowar is far more talented than his 18.00 ERA or 8.56 FIP suggest, but I have my doubts that the rookie can slow down this red-hot Cleveland lineup.
Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago White Sox
Jose Abreu Over 1.5 Total Bases (+105)
Few players in baseball had a better month of August than Abreu. The reigning American League MVP was unstoppable in the batter’s box, slashing .330/.382/.661 with a .330 ISO and a 182 wRC+ in 123 plate appearances. It was also a 31-day stretch that saw Abreu rack up an eye-popping 17 extra-base hits.
I’d expect the good times to continue in his matchup against Max Kranick and the Pirates on Wednesday evening. While Kranick has only thrown 20.0 innings at the major league level, it’s pretty clear that he’s going to struggle with RHBs, as the 48 he’s faced so far have combined for a whopping .383 wOBA. Heck, Kranick is currently sporting a 6.07 xFIP within the split. In short, the right-hander is an extreme fly ball pitcher with an 18.9% strikeout rate. That’s not the archetype that generally survives a meeting with the White Sox. On top of that, it’s not like Pittsburgh’s bullpen is an area of strength, either, so Abreu should have ample opportunity to crush this prop.
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