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MLB Cheat Sheet: DraftKings Fantasy Baseball DFS Picks, Predictions, Betting Odds for April 21

Steve Buchanan breaks down Thursday’s DraftKings MLB slate with pitching and hitting analysis, odds, lines, and prop bets.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday brings us a lot of early afternoon baseball, so we better get right into it! WE DON’T HAVE TIME TO SPARE!!!!

Follow me on Twitter or you’re not allowed to read this article. @SBuchanan24

DraftKings Sportsbook Game Notes

Biggest Moneyline Favorite

Note: This section highlights the pitcher whose team is the largest favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Jordan Montgomery, $6,900, New York Yankees (-165) at Detroit Tigers (+145) — No one on this slate is a resounding favorite but the Yankees take the crown this afternoon. They’ll send Montgomery to the mound, who’ll be making his third start of the season. In two prior against the Orioles and Red Sox, he’s gone a combined 8 13 innings allowing three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks. He’s pitched as advertised thus far, as his 3.07 FIP is slightly lower than his 3.24 ERA. This Tigers team has seen some of the least amounts of action against left-handed pitching to this point, logging only 93 plate appearances. For reference, the Orioles top the league with 189. The Tigers have a .316 wOBA with a .076 ISO and a 110 wRC+ at this rate. That said, this club does have some strong bats against lefties if you look at their stats from last season. Guys like Jonathan Schoop ($4,300) and Eric Haase ($3,600) had some of the best numbers on the team against lefties.

While I’m ok with taking the Yankees in this spot from a betting perspective, I’m not interested in Montgomery from a fantasy standpoint. While it’s only been two starts, his strikeouts have been down and he’s not generating the swings and misses we’ve seen in the past. Overall, his velocity has been down slightly (92.7 on his fastball last year, 91.8 thus far) and he’s been seeing more contact for outs. Again, it’s very, very early, but I simply don’t see a need to use him, even at $6,900.

Highest Projected Total

Toronto Blue Jays (-110; 4.5 team total) at Boston Red Sox (-110; 4.5 team total) 9 runs— No real favorite in this one, as Kevin Gausman ($8,900) is set to match up against Tanner Houck ($7,800). For two teams that have been expected to score a lot of runs this season, neither team has really come out of the gates and done so. In fact, the Blue Jays and Red Sox have nearly scored identical runs with the Jays at 49 (T-16th) and the Red Sox with 48 (18th). The Red Sox especially have hit a bit of an offensive wall it feels like, scoring just six runs over the past three games.

Gausman has been quite unlucky in his Jays debut. Despite posting a 4.22 ERA, his FIP currently stands at 0.45. Yikes. Through 10 2/3 innings, he’s given up five runs on 14 hits with 14 strikeouts. So, clearly, the defense has been the issue here for Gausman. He has been giving up some hard contact at 38.7% but the plays behind him could have been made.

At this rate, while it seems odd to say, it’s hard to trust these teams to hit the over. Both teams combined have gone 8-16 hitting the over this season, which is amongst the worst in the league. At nine runs, I would be inclined to take the under in this game.

Weather Notes

Baltimore Orioles at Oakland Athletics — Thunderstorms are in the forecast all throughout the afternoon. I’m not sure this game ever begins but it’s worth taking a look at before first pitch.

April 21, 2022 Betting Splits

Follow me on Twitter @SBuchanan24 for daily updates on these splits.

Splits to Start

These stats reflect 2021 numbers until May 1.

Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters

Worst vs. LHB, FIP, wOBA
Zach Davies, 5.88, .356
Michael Pineda, 4.51, .346
Zach Plesac, 4.40, .297

Best vs. LHB, FIP, wOBA
Tyler Wells, 1.93, .208
Kevin Gausman, 2.71, .263
Tanner Houck, 3.23, .282

Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters

Worst vs. RHB, FIP, wOBA
Josh Rogers, 7.54, .396
Carlos Carrasco, 6.32, .396
Paul Blackburn, 5.45, .364

Best vs. RHB, FIP, wOBA
Tanner Houck, 2.00, .261
Kevin Gausman, 3.29, .267
Dylan Cease, 3.34, .292

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Carlos Carrasco, New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants, $9,800 - Yesterday, I wrote up Chris Bassitt and that didn’t exactly go to plan. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment but I’m going back to another Mets pitcher against the Giants. Carrasco has looked fantastic to start the year and he’s credited that to feeling 100% in his elbow again. Carrasco said before the season he has full range of motion again and that has improved his pitching drastically. He’s allowed just one run on five hits and 13 strikeouts through 10 23 innings against the Diamondbacks and Nationals to this point. He’s also seen a big uptick in swings and misses, generating at a rate of 15.8%. While the Giants can be a tough offense to face, they also provide plenty of strikeout upside.

Stud Hitter to Pay For

Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians, $5,900 — Anderson has been a fantasy producing machine since coming off his two-game suspension to begin the season. Since he returned, he’s posted at least 7.0 DKFP in six of his eight games. Today, he’ll take on Zach Plesac ($8,300), who against righties last season had a .329 wOBA, a 5.01 FIP and 16 of the 23 home runs he allowed. At the rate that Anderson is getting on base, this should be another spot to pay up for him at shortstop.

Save Big by Drafting

Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals, $3,000 — The D-Backs came up big for us yesterday, so let’s run it back one more time. Walker, who bats cleanup, is simply too cheap when he’s facing a lefty. Admittedly, his numbers against lefties were quite poor but he’s historically hit them very well. In 2020, he had a .330 wOBA with a .196 ISO and a 103 wRC+. At only $3K, I’m more than willing to take a shot with him in a prime spot in the lineup and against a pitcher with a 7.54 FIP and a .396 wOBA against righties last season.

For sports betting, head over to DraftKings Sportsbook or download the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

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