I mentioned in yesterday’s Best Bets how cold we’ve been to start May, but things can change in a hurry in the world of gambling. After a nice 2-0 night on Thursday, we’re back in the black and sitting at 19-14 on article plays for the season as a whole. That also means we’re up 4.5 units, if you’re someone who prefers that unit of measurement. I don’t discriminate.
Let’s dive into Friday’s card on the diamond.
Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics
Over 9 (+100)
This game opened with a total of 8.5, which perplexed me, yet it has obviously now moved to nine. As much as I’d like to believe I have the ability to move lines with my mind, it’s more likely that the DraftKings Sportsbook realized that the Rangers might cover this number all by themselves. Aside from the cheat code that is the Rays, Texas has been the best lineup in baseball in 2023. The team enters Friday’s slate with a .339 wOBA overall — good for second-best in MLB — yet the Rangers’ numbers are even more imposing when isolated against LHPs. Texas has a 125 wRC+ within the split. Ken Waldichuk is a lefty. Ken Waldichuk owns a 7.25 ERA and a 7.67 FIP. Ken Waldichuk is in trouble.
It’s also not like Martin Perez has been all that amazing, either. The veteran’s strikeout rate is back down to 17.1% and that’s translated into a pretty underwhelming 4.68 xERA across seven starts. Heck, Perez surrendered seven earned runs to the Angels this past Sunday. Oakland should be able to scratch out a few runs in this matchup, especially considering its been above-average against southpaws in its own right. The Athletics possess a 106 wRC+ within the split. That’s only the 16th-highest mark in the league, but it’s probably 13 spots higher than you assumed, right?
Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays
Spencer Strider Over 8.5 Strikeouts (+110)
Daulton Varsho Over 1.5 Strikeouts (+190)
Two different props, but props that are essentially telling the same story. Let’s start specifically with Strider. Though the right-hander has allowed a couple runs in his last two outings, he’s still been an absolute beast in 2023, pitching to a 2.70 ERA and a pristine 1.81 FIP. The 24-year-old is averaging an eye-popping 15.1 strikeouts per nine, which equates to a league-leading 42.4% strikeout rate. He’s hit the over on this prop in six of his seven starts, and he’s struck out at least eight opponents in every regular season appearance he’s made since late August of last season. He’s simply an anomaly, and while the Blue Jays don’t strikeout at a massive clip, they do own baseball’s 12th-highest strikeout rate in May (22.2%).
Alright. Strider is great. We’ve established that. Why pick on Varsho? First and foremost, Strider has been extra special when opposed by LHBs in 2023, finishing 44.0% of those plate appearances via the strikeout. Varsho has struck out in multiple at-bats on eight occasions so far this season, and he’s hitting high enough in Toronto’s lineup where it’s likely he’ll have to face Strider three times. The former Diamondback has also had his issues catching up with elite velocity. At +190, I’m willing to take a chance that Varsho is about to have a very bad evening.
Place your MLB bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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.