On Friday night, AppleTV+ will host two baseball games, starting at 7 p.m. ET: the Nationals visiting the Phillies, followed by the Reds at the Brewers. Below, I’ll give two plays from each game that I like and sweat along with all throughout the evening.
Nationals at Phillies
Line: -125 (bet $100 to win $80)
This total through the first five innings feels inflated. Sure, the Nationals were able to put up four runs against the Phillies on Thursday before the game was called in the top of the fifth. But that’s not how this Nationals offense is going to be on a normal basis. Against righties, the Nats have a combined .294 wOBA (27th), an 86 wRC+ (28th) and a 6.1% walk rate (28th). All those numbers are near the bottom of the league. While Phillies starter Kyle Gibson has been inconsistent, I simply do not fear this Nationals lineup.
On the other side, the Phillies have had their struggles against Nationals starter Josiah Gray. In his two starts against this club, he has gone a combined 12 innings, allowing just two runs on five hits with 15 strikeouts. Overall, he has pitched his best baseball away from Nationals Park, sporting a 2.45 ERA with a .269 wOBA through 51 1/3 innings. With all this in mind while looking at a total of five runs through the first five innings, I think we’re heading for an under in this one.
Nationals at Phillies
The wager: Kyle Schwarber over 0.5 home runs
Line: +215 (bet $100 to win $215)
While Gray has been good against this Phillies team, Kyle Schwarber is going to be a potential trouble spot for him. Gray has some really poor numbers against lefties, posting a .404 wOBA with a 7.60 FIP and 15 of the 24 total home runs he has allowed. For reference, against righties, Gray has a .277 wOBA with a 3.67 FIP and nine home runs allowed. Of course, Schwarber is an extremely streaky hitter, but the power has been here all season long. At home against righties, Schwarber has clubbed 11 of his 33 home runs. He has faced Gray eight times already, and of the four hits he has collected, two of them have left the yard. At these odds of +215, I like making a small play here for Schwarber to go deep for the second time in the month of August.
Reds at Brewers
Line: -130 (bet $100 to win $77)
The overall team total for the Brewers sits at 5.5 runs at +115. That’s a little high for me, so I like taking over 2.5 runs through the first five innings. The Brewers have been one of the better clubs to go over their team total through the first five innings with a 55-50 record. On Friday, they’ll be facing off against Reds starter Robert Dugger, who’ll be making his first appearance since July 7. In his limited time in the Majors, Dugger has not found much success. Through 82 2/3 innings, he has a career 6.97 ERA with a 5.61 FIP. He has limited strikeout upside with a career 7.08 K/9 and has struggled with home runs with a 1.74 HR/9.
Dugger has also posted some poor numbers, specifically against lefties. In his career, Dugger has a .431 wOBA with a 6.79 FIP and seven of the 16 total home runs he has allowed. The Brewers usually have three of their first five hitters on the left side of the plate with Christian Yelich, Rowdy Tellez, and Kolten Wong. A quick start from the Brewers seems likely and the line backs that up as it’s currently at -130.
Reds at Brewers
The wager: Eric Lauer over 5.5 strikeouts
Line: -120 (bet $100 to win $83)
The Reds shipped off their best two hitters at the Trade Deadline, with Tommy Pham going to the Red Sox and Brandon Drury joining San Diego. Their offense has really taken a hit since then and strikeouts will likely come in bunches moving forward. Against lefties, the Reds now own a 24.3% K rate, which is the sixth highest in baseball. Guys like Aristides Aquino and Donovan Solano have found themselves with full-time positions but are liable to strike out, especially Aquino. In his career, he has posted a K rate of 33.2% against southpaws.
As for Eric Lauer, he’s averaging over a strikeout per inning with a 9.1 K/9. In his prior start against the Reds, he was able to strike out five, but again, this was with a better lineup. Lauer is coming off one of his best months of the season, where he had an 8.8 K/9 and a 2.96 ERA through 27 1/3 innings. I like him to go over this 5.5 total against a much different-looking Reds team.
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