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MLB Cheat Sheet: DraftKings Fantasy Baseball DFS Picks, Predictions, Betting Odds for May 17

Steve Buchanan breaks down Monday’s DraftKings MLB slate with pitching and hitting analysis, odds, lines and prop bets.

Not only is it an eight-game slate tonight but DraftKings is offering some massive prize pools. Get in it if you want to be rich.

Follow me on Twitter or you’re not allowed to read this article. @SBuchanan24.

DraftKings Sportsbook Game Notes

Biggest Moneyline Favorite

Note: This section highlights the pitcher whose team is the largest favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Gerrit Cole, $10,900, New York Yankees (-280) vs. Texas Rangers (+225)— One quick glance at the pitching pool for tonight and it was very obvious that Cole and the Yankees would be the biggest favorites on this slate. Betting on the Yankees when Cole takes the mound has a 5-3 record on the moneyline, which is insane considering Cole has allowed all but nine total runs (eight earned) in his 52 23 innings. This will be his first time facing the Rangers and he’s coming off an incredible 43.6 DKFP performance against the Rays, where he shut them out through eight innings while striking out 12. With this game being on the road, the Yankees are 10-8 on the moneyline as road favorites.

The strikeout upside in this matchup is very similar to when Cole faced the Rays. The Rangers have a 27.1% strikeout rate against righties, which ranks as the third-highest mark in the league. The actually have some good overall numbers against righties with a 102 wRC+, a .314 wOBA and a .153 ISO but in no way am I looking to take them for daily fantasy purposes. If there was anything to point to as a glimmer of hope for the Rangers, it’s that the Yankees bullpen has been shaky over the past week with a 4.61 FIP and a 4.42 BB/9.

Other notable favorite: Yu Darvish ($10,200; -220) vs Colorado Rockies

Highest Projected Total

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jose Abreu is not in the lineup for Monday’s game vs. the Twins.

Chicago White Sox (-110; 4.5 runs) at Minnesota Twins (-110; 4.5 runs) 9.5 runs — An even matchup according to the odds on DraftKings Sportsbook with Dallas Keuchel ($6,200) opposing J.A. Happ ($7,100). I had this game circled as one to target even before seeing the total, as we have two of the better hitting clubs against lefties in this one. The White Sox have a 141 wRC+, a .187 ISO and a .369 wOBA while the Twins sport a 110 wRC+, a .182 ISO and a .326 wOBA against lefties. Both pitchers in this one are contact pitchers, with Happ and Keuchel both striking out no more than five batters per nine innings.

I personally like this spot more for the White Sox against Happ. I mean they JUST tagged Happ for nine runs on nine hits in 3 13 innings his last time out and his 6.74 FIP in that game says it all. Happ had a BABIP of .571 (!) in that game, which was by far the highest mark he’s had all season long. With his strikeout numbers continuing to decline, his fly balls continue to increase dramatically and currently has a 47.5% on the season. I would be stacking the White Sox first and foremost and then figuring out the rest of my lineup.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $300K SUPER Knuckleball [$100K to 1st]

Weather Notes

No weather concerns!

Splits to Start

These numbers now reflect the current 2021 stats and include pitchers with a minimum of 10 IP.

Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters

Worst vs. LHB, wOBA, FIP
Jordan Lyles, .369, 4.95
Casey Mize, .359, 5.83
Adbert Alzolay, .339, 6.19

Best vs. LHB, wOBA, FIP
Gerrit Cole, .179, 1.04
Yusei Kikuchi, .179, 2.85
Taijuan Walker, .248, 3.42

Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters

Worst vs. RHB, wOBA, FIP
Max Fried, .442, 5.61
Jordan Lyles, .392, 5.96
J.A. Happ, .333, 4.67

Best vs. RHB, wOBA, FIP
Adbert Alzolay, .197, 2.05
Taijuan Walker, .217, 2.58
Gerrit Cole, .219, 1.23

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees at Texas Rangers, $10,900 — No one opened this slate for tonight and thought, “Hmm, I wonder if Cole is a legitimate option for tonight against the Rangers?” I mean, you’re all intelligent people, you simply came here to back up your thoughts. So let’s quickly talk about who you can use as your SP2.

I think Yusei Kikuchi ($7,800) is also very much in play as well against the Tigers. This team isn’t just bad against lefties, they’re downright horrific against them. Entering this game, they sport a 56 wRC+, a .068 ISO and a .249 wOBA. ON TOP OF THAT, they have the highest strikeout rate in the league at 33.4%. Only them and the Rays are the only team striking out more than 30% of the time against lefties. Meanwhile, Kikuchi is quietly putting together a solid start to 2021 and has a 9.2 K/9 while generating a 13.3% swing-and-miss rate. So Cole and Kikuchi leave you with an average of $3,912 per hitter. That’s extremely doable.

Stud Hitter to Pay For

Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals, $5,500 — This will be the first time that Jon Lester ($6,600) faces his former teammates and it’s at Wrigley Field no less. Unfortunately for him, the Cubs have some good bats against lefties and Bryant is one of them. Aside from being a run scoring machine, Bryant has a .591 wOBA a .652 ISO and a 276 wRC+ against lefties this season. In fact, of the 12 hits Bryant has against lefties, 10 of them have gone for extra bases, splitting five for doubles and five for home runs. While Lester has yet to allow a home run in his three starts, ground balls have been down for him thus far and he only has a 5.6 K/9.

Save Big by Drafting

Kevin Pillar, New York Mets at Atlanta Braves $3,300 — It hasn’t been a huge sample yet but the Mets love using Pillar in a prime spot when facing a lefty. Just the other day he was batting leadoff against the Rays when they ran out a lefty. We should expect something like that again tonight for the man who last season had a .407 wOBA, a .237 ISO and a 152 wRC+ when facing southpaws. When Pillar is starting, he usually doesn’t get pulled either, so getting him at a cheap price in a matchup he usually excels in is a great way to save some salary.

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