MLB is back! After a couple of full slates, we are back into the swing of things. Here I am looking at my favorite bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for the games being played on Wednesday.
Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates: Pirates ML (+133)
This is my first betting write up for DK Playbook, so I’d like to go over my betting philosophy before I get into my picks. I believe in betting on underdogs and small favorites almost exclusively because the top teams in the league tend to be overpriced. For example, even though the Dodgers had the best record in the league last season, they posted just the 10th best ROI.
Taking teams at better than even money also means you need to pick fewer winners to profit in the long run.
To start off my picks for Wednesday, I’m looking at the Pirates as a small home underdog vs. the Brewers. They’ll be sending Joe Musgrove to the mound, and he’s one of the more underrated starters in the league. His expected wOBA last season was .310 or less against both sides of the batter’s box, and he recorded a 24.5% strikeout rate vs. right-handed batters.
He doesn’t deserve to a +133 underdog vs. the Brewers.
New York Mets at Boston Red Sox: Mets ML (-190)
Remember my rule about backing underdogs? Well, you can throw that out for this contest.
The Red Sox have been an absolute disaster to start the season, losing four straight games to the Mets and Orioles. They will be sending their “ace” to the mound in this contest (Nate Eovaldi), but they will still be at a huge disadvantage in this contest.
That’s because the Mets are turning to Jacob deGrom, who has won the NL Cy Young award in back-to-back years. He started his 2020 campaign with a bang, limiting the Braves to zero runs and eight strikeouts over just five innings pitched.
Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers: Tigers Over 4.5 (-132)
This seems like a great spot for the Tigers’ offense. They are taking on Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, who is not nearly the same pitcher that he was in his prime. His strikeout rate has fallen off a cliff, and he allowed right-handed batters to post a hard hit rate of 41.3% last season. The result was an expected wOBA of .344.
That should bode well for the Tigers, whose lineup is typically chock-full of right-handed batters. C.J. Cron, Miguel Cabrera, Niko Goodrum, Jonathan Schoop, and Jordy Mercer all posted a wOBA of at least .377 vs. southpaws last season, which should quietly make them one of the better hitting lineups in the league vs. left-handed pitchers.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Texas Rangers: Rangers ML (-134)
I am fading Madison Bumgarner as much as possible early in the season. He still has some name recognition with regular fans, but he was absolutely dreadful last year. He managed to post solid numbers when pitching at home in San Francisco, but Oracle Park is one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in baseball. When he was away from home, his ERA jumped all the way to 5.29.
There will be no place for him to hide today on the road vs. the Rangers in a park that favors offense.
On the other hand, the Rangers send Lance Lynn to the mound, who quietly ranked second in the AL in FanGraphs’ pitching WAR last season. He actually finished above Justin Verlander, who won the Cy Young award.
Ultimately, this is a much bigger pitching mismatch than the current odds indicate.
Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds: Under 9.5 (-120)
This line is surprisingly high for a matchup between two of the better pitchers in the National League.
The Cubs send Kyle Hendricks to the mound, who is coming off a masterful complete game shutout on Opening Day. The Reds will turn to Sonny Gray, who allowed just one run over six innings while striking out nine. Both pitchers were also excellent last season: Gray posted a 2.87 ERA, Hendricks 3.46.
I don’t mind backing Hendricks as a slight underdog, but I think the best play here is on the under.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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.