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MLB Picks for August 18: Baseball Best Bets, Predictions, Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook

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

Last week was baaaaaaad. I went 1-4 on article plays, dropping our record for the season as a whole to 54-48, which if I’m being honest, is way too close to a particular Simpsons meme. Anyway, there’s nowhere to go but up, right? Right?!

Here are three plays I’m looking at on today’s MLB slate.

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

Chicago Cubs at Baltimore Orioles

Adrian Sampson Over 3.5 Strikeouts (+100)

While I think it’s more than fair to suggest that Sampson is not a strikeout pitcher — his 18.7% strikeout rate is in the 22nd percentile of qualified arms — this prop is exceedingly low. We don’t even have to generalize about how most MLB starters are capable of striking out four opponents on any given day, as Sampson has surpassed four strikeouts in seven of the 10 appearances where he’s worked at least four innings this season. He’s also posted a 25.4% strikeout rate across his last three outings, twice finishing with at least six strikeouts. Again, he’s not Jacob deGrom, but he doesn’t have to be.

It’s not as if Baltimore is suddenly posting a lineup comprised of slap hitters, either. The Orioles are a team that’s susceptible to the strikeout. In fact, since the All-Star break, Baltimore sits with the fifth-highest swinging strike rate in all of baseball (12.5%), while the club’s 34.4% chase rate is good for the eighth-highest mark in the league. At plus-money, I’m wagering that Sampson can take advantage of some of these flaws.

Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees

First 5: Yankees Over 2.5 Runs (+120)

The Yankees have been struggling to score runs lately, but the team has to be feeling a lot better about itself following Josh Donaldson’s walk-off grand slam on Wednesday night. Plus, even factoring in a couple weeks of scuffling at the plate — and injuries to Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Carpenter — New York still ranks first in the American League in ISO (.194), wOBA (.332) and wRC+ (118) for the entire season. Not surprisingly, a lineup that features Aaron Judge is pretty good at scoring runs, and with DJ LeMahieu expected back this evening, things should get even more potent.

There’s also the matter of opposition. On Thursday, the Yankees will be squaring off with Jose Berrios, who is absolutely reeling at the moment. No qualified starter has a higher ERA (5.61) or xERA (5.58) than Berrios, and the right-hander’s statistics don’t get less concerning pitching away from Rogers Centre in 2022. Berrios owns a ghastly 7.50 ERA on the road, as he’s surrendered an eye-popping .404 opponent wOBA and 2.50 home runs per nine. His ERA across his last 11 outings is 6.97. His .499 expected slugging percentage is in the bottom two percent of the league. He’s given up more barrels than Patrick Corbin. Need I say more?

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Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres

Yu Darvish Over 6.5 Strikeouts (+100)

Another strikeout prop that just seems a little too low. Darvish has always been an elite option when it comes to generating swings and misses, and the veteran has been in fine form the last few weeks. In fact, across Darvish’s last nine starts, the right-hander has registered a massive 31.8% strikeout rate. He’s also exceeded this total in seven of those nine outings, often dipping his toe into double-digits. Needless to say, the version of Darvish that was barely producing a 20% strikeout rate in mid-May is long gone.

The Nationals have a role in this bet, too. While Washington consistently possessed one of the league’s lowest strikeout rates in the first-half of 2022, much of that had to do with the presence of Juan Soto and Josh Bell, who each currently own a strikeout rate below 15%. Still, though both will be in the building this evening, they now call San Diego home. It should some as no surprise that the Nationals have seen their strikeout rate jump since the trade deadline, even getting as high as 24.8% over the past seven days.

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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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