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MLB Picks for April 17: Baseball Best Bets, Predictions, Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook

Steve Buchanan gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Monday’s MLB betting card.

Monday features a 12-game slate of baseball that kicks off at 6:40 p.m. ET. The only game not on this slate is the Angels as Red Sox, as that had an 11:20 a.m. start due to celebrating Patriots Day.

Let’s dive into three of my favorite wagers on DraftKings Sportsbook for Monday’s slate.

Follow me on Twitter for daily MLB picks and info @SBuchanan24

Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals

The Pick: Rangers run line -1.5 -125

The Rangers are starting their ace, Jacob deGrom against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. After an uninspiring debut start against the Phillies on March 30, deGrom has gone on to allowing just three earned runs on nine hits with 20 strikeouts through the next 13 innings. One of those games came against the Royals, whom deGrom held to two runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts. Despite that Opening Day blunder, deGrom looks to be back on track, as his 4.32 ERA is accompanied by a more appealing 2.22 xERA.

The Royals have been one of the worst team in the league on the run line, going 5-11. Only the Rockies have a worse record at 4-12. Tonight, they’ll start Jordan Lyles, who has pitched like, well, Jordan Lyles. He’s been tagged for 10 earned runs on 21 hits through just 17.1 innings, giving him a 5.19 ERA (5.80 xERA) and a 3.79 FIP (4.66 xFIP). Lyles has been allowing a lot of hard contact (33.3%) and line drives (28.1%), so it’s no wonder that his early season numbers are ugly. If deGrom can pitch well against the Royals again, I can’t imagine the Rangers not winning this game by at least two runs.

Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros

The Pick: Blue Jays moneyline -120

The Astros aren’t underdogs often. If you look back at least season, in total they were underdogs 23 times, which represents only 13% of the regular and postseason. If this stands, this will already be the third time in 17 games. I do like this spot for the Jays, who will pitch Kevin Gausman against Cristian Javier. Gausman has been great and has only allowed three runs in his first three starts. All of them came against the Tigers, although he did almost go a full nine innings in that one. Prior to that, he shutout the Royals and Cardinals through six innings apiece. This Astros team has been a bit slow out of the gate offensively, posting a team 101 wRC+, which ranks 15th in the league.

This has a lot to do with Javier as well. After a stellar season in ‘22, Javier has been roughed up early and often. His 4.24 ERA matches up almost exactly to his 4.18 xERA. His strikeout numbers are WAY down, albeit in a small sample. Still, after striking out an average of almost 12 batters per nine innings last year, a 7.4 K/9 this year is quite dramatic. What makes this alarming for me has been the quality of opponents he’s faced. In three starts, Javier has pitched against the White Sox, Tigers and Pirates. I mean, what the hell man, we’re not supposed to be struggling out of the gate here. This is by far the toughest opponent he’s faced and his advanced numbers don’t exactly show me he’s ready. I’ll take the Blue Jays as a short favorite.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies

The Pick: Rich Hill under 3.5 strikeouts -135

I’m a bit conflicted on this game overall. On paper, this feels like a matchup a good matchup to go over on. Rich Hill and Kyle Freeland isn’t exactly a pitching duel. But, I’ll give Freeland his flowers, he’s been awesome to start the year. Hill, not so much. So instead of taking a shot at the total, I’m going under the strikeout total for Hill. Four strikeouts feels like A LOT for him tonight. After somehow logging SEVEN strikeouts against the Reds, he’s proceeded to strikeout one batter since. Yup. One. 10 innings, one single strikeout. How that happens, is beyond me.

At age 43, Hill’s stuff is not overpowering. His fastball sits at 87, his change at 80.8 and his slider is at 68.8. So, as you can imagine, he’s inducing mostly contact. He can do that all day long if he wants, because that’ll keep his strikeout numbers down. Hill isn’t fooling opposing hitters either, logging just a 4.9% swing-and-miss rate. The Rockies are a team that will provide strikeouts to opposing pitchers but especially with this game in Colorado, I can’t imagine this is a start where Hill goes over.

It’s funny to sweat these low totals as well. Like, imagine he strikeouts out the first batter of the game. ALREADY, you’re like “OH THIS IS JUST PERFECT, HE ONLY NEEDS 3 MORE AND WE’RE ONLY IN THE FIRST!!!!!” It’s fun, trust me.

Follow me on Twitter for daily MLB picks and info @SBuchanan24

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

All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.