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MLB Best Bets: Baseball Picks, Predictions to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook for April 21

Garion Thorne gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Thursday’s MLB betting card.

Woof. We had a rough end to last week, going 0-3 on plays in Friday’s article, dropping our record for the season as a whole to 4-6. I sort of feel like the guy who’s batting below .200 as we inch closer to May, just appalled at the hole I’ve dug for myself.

Still, I think better days are on the horizon and it all starts with today’s afternoon-heavy 10-game slate. Here are the bets that I’m looking at.

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.


Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners

Marco Gonzales Under 4.5 Strikeouts (-120)

Betting against Gonzales was the main source of my woe last week, so maybe it isn’t the smartest thing in the world to double-down. Still, it’s not like the left-hander is some great strikeout artist. In fact, of the 67 pitchers to throw at least 150 innings dating back to the beginning of 2021, Gonzales’ modest 18.2% strikeout rate ranks 55th and his 9.0% swinging strike rate sits 57th. In terms of the raw numbers, the 30-year-old has failed to record five or more strikeouts in 12 of his last 18 outings. Again, Corbin Burnes he is not.

Gonzales’ matchup is less than kind, as well. Not only has Texas punished left-handed pitching to an AL-high 156 wRC+ so far in 2022, but it owns the league’s lowest strikeout rate within the split at 16.7%. For the season as a whole, the Rangers possess the American League’s lowest strikeout rate (18.5%), as few teams have been more aggressive about hunting pitches in the strike zone. To wit, Texas has posted a 72.4% zone swing rate — the fourth-highest mark in MLB. Simply put, if you swing early, you’re not getting in many two-strike counts.


Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

First 5 Innings: Over 4.5 (-115)

This pitching matchup could’ve taken place three days ago in Triple-A Indianapolis and I wouldn’t have batted an eye. There is simply no track record of success for either one of these men at the MLB level and there’s no reason to think that success is suddenly going to come on Thursday. In slight defense of Mark Leiter’s first outing of 2022, the seven earned runs he surrendered in 3.1 innings were at Coors Field. However, for his career, the right-hander has registered an ugly 5.91 ERA across 12 starts, allowing 2.11 home runs per nine and a .363 wOBA to opponents. The altitude can not be blamed for it all.

Then there’s Bryse Wilson, who is currently sporting an identical 10.5% strikeout rate and walk rate through his first two appearances of the season. The former top prospect’s velocity is down from where it sat with the Braves last year, though it’s not like he was ever pitching any better in Atlanta. In fact, much like Leiter, Wilson’s career numbers are a travesty, with the RHP rocking a 5.54 ERA to go along with a 5.55 FIP in 125.0 innings of work. Making matters worse for Wilson is the Cubs have statistically been the NL’s best offense through two weeks, with the club’s 123 wRC+ leading the senior circuit.


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St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins

No Run in the 1st Inning (-155)

The wild card here is Jordan Hicks, who after 114 MLB appearances as a reliever, will be making his first-career start this evening in Miami. The right-hander has already tossed four scoreless innings of relief in 2022, yet the question of Hicks’ velocity in a starter setting looms. During Spring Training, the 25-year-old felt that he could live in the 96-98 mph range, which while impressive, is a step down from the triple-digit radar reading we’re all used to seeing from the former closer. But that’s just the thing that makes this wager enticing: You’re getting a closer pitching the opening frame. It’s the ultimate opener.

As for the Marlins’ half of the equation, Pablo Lopez is about as steady as they come. The RHP has allowed just a single earned run across 10.1 innings of work so far this season, which is just a continuation of success we’ve seen from Lopez since 2020. The 26-year-old has also been particularly dominant while pitching at home during this stretch, as Lopez has posted a 2.29 ERA and a 2.87 FIP in his 18 starts in Miami. Expect this one to be scoreless heading into the second frame.

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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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