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MLB Cheat Sheet: DraftKings Fantasy Baseball DFS Picks, Predictions, Betting Odds for August 18

Garion Thorne breaks down Wednesday’s DraftKings MLB slate with pitching and hitting analysis, odds, lines and prop bets.

Despite there only being 10 games on tonight’s featured MLB slate, the pitching options are absolutely stacked. We’ve got Freddy Peralta ($10,200), Lance Lynn ($10,000), Charlie Morton ($9,700), Jack Flaherty ($9,100) and Shohei Ohtani ($8,600) all taking the mound on Wednesday evening, hoping to build on excellent seasons.

Which stud starter should you be building your lineups around? Let’s dig into it.

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DraftKings Sportsbook Game Notes

Biggest Moneyline Favorite

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

Louis Head, $4,000, Tampa Bay Rays (-350) vs. Baltimore Orioles (+270) — Raise your hand if you ever thought you’d see a night where Louis Head was starting for the largest favorite on a slate. Heck, raise your hand if you even know who Louis Head is. Well, for the uniformed, it’s a pretty cool story. Head is a 31-year-old rookie reliever. Prior to his first call-up of the season, Head had spent parts of 10 seasons in the minor leagues without a single taste of MLB action. Now, he’s set to start his first-career big league contest after maintaining a sterling 1.85 ERA across 24.1 innings of work. Head is just an opener, yet you have to admit, it’s the sort of inspiring tale that baseball seems to specialize in.

Anyway, the “bulk” of the innings in tonight’s game will be thrown by Ryan Yarbrough ($8,000), who will be activated from the COVID injured list. Maybe it’s the uncertainty of how Yarbrough will look after his illness or maybe it’s the fact that Yarbrough’s surrendered 16 earned runs over 22.2 innings against the Orioles already in 2021, but I think Baltimore could have some upset potential on Wednesday. The Orioles own the sixth-best wRC+ (108) and the eighth-best OPS (.760) when facing LHPs, and if Trey Mancini ($4,700; calf) is back in the lineup, I might just have to put a sprinkle on the moneyline.

Highest Projected Total

Boston Red Sox (+105; 4.5 runs) at New York Yankees (-125; 4.5 runs) 10 runs — While this is obviously a matchup of two above-average lineups in a very hitter-friendly environment, you can personally thank Andrew Heaney ($7,900) for this contest owning the slate’s highest total. Heaney has been a disaster since donning pinstripes and parting with his facial hair, pitching to a ghastly 9.11 FIP and conceding 4.8 opponent home runs per nine across three starts. Needless to say, Yankees fans have been very supportive of the trade.

On the other side of things we have Nick Pivetta ($8,900). In general, Pivetta has underwhelmed since a strong opening month to the season — the right-hander is sporting a 4.56 ERA since the beginning of May — though his last two outings have been spectacular. Pivetta shut out the dangerous Blue Jays for six innings in Toronto, then followed that up with another fantastic start against the floundering Orioles. All told, Pivetta’s held opponents to a modest .184 wOBA so far in August. With the 28-year-old in good recent form, and the Yankees having hit the under in six of their past seven games, don’t be shocked if runs are harder to come by than anticipated this evening.

Weather Notes

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees — There will be heavy rain in the New York area, but it will likely stay clear of Yankee Stadium.

Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals Slight chance that this game begins with a quick delay, yet that should be the worst case scenario.

Houston Astros at Kansas City Royals As you might have expected, the other contest that will be taking place in Missouri has a similar outlook as the first one.

Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters

Worst vs. LHB, wOBA, FIP (TBF)
Mike Foltynewicz, .394, 7.01 (249)
Mitch White, .371, 5.32 (58)
Brady Singer, .358, 4.32 (243)

Best vs. LHB, wOBA, FIP (TBF)
Ranger Suarez, .146, 2.44 (66)
Marco Gonzales, .228, 3.90 (101)
Zack Greinke, .232, 3.54 (214)

Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters

Worst vs. RHB, wOBA, FIP (TBF)
Jesus Luzardo, .414, 6.78 (185)
Marco Gonzales, .376, 5.77 (269)
Spenser Watkins, .375, 5.97 (85)

Best vs. RHB, wOBA, FIP (TBF)
Lance Lynn, .220, 2.47 (226)
Freddy Peralta, .225, 2.21 (208)
Shohei Ohtani, .234, 2.29 (181)

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Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins, $9,700 — It’s difficult to not love Morton in this spot. Of the five “stud” pitchers we have going on tonight’s slate, Morton easily draws the best matchup in the struggling Marlins and, because of that, he’ll get to pitch in the spacious LoanDepot Park. That’s a win-win. Just how poorly has Miami been hitting as of late? Well, after being shut out on Tuesday, the Marlins now have a 97 wRC+ in the month of August, a figure they support with the league’s third-highest strikeout rate (26.9%) within that same span. Considering Morton’s pitched to a 2.57 ERA and 2.97 FIP across his past seven appearances — a stretch where he’s also posted a 28.7% strikeout rate of his own — I think the veteran is in line for a huge DFS performance.

Stud Hitter to Pay For

Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $5,700 — You’re going to want to get a piece of the Dodgers’ lineup on Wednesday, preferably of the left-handed variety. Los Angeles owns the slate’s second-highest implied team total and the reason for that is quite simple: JT Brubaker ($6,800). The Pirates’ RHP has been terrible over his past eight trips to the mound, registering a putrid 7.52 ERA and surrendering an eye-popping 3.1 opponent home runs per nine. As you might have guessed, most of that damage has been at the hands of LHBs, with the 92 Brubaker has faced within that span combining for a .671 slugging percentage and a .426 wOBA. Whether it’s Muncy, Corey Seager ($5,000) or Cody Bellinger ($4,500), you’d be smart to get some exposure.

Save Big by Drafting

Jorge Soler, Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins, $3,800 — It’s unclear what took place on July 20 that entirely changed the course of Soler’s 2021 campaign, but whatever it was, it was powerful. The veteran has been on absolute fire since that day, slashing .256/.374/.600 with a 157 wRC+. It’s even more impressive when you specifically isolate Soler’s numbers against left-handed pitching within that span. In 46 plate appearances versus southpaws, Soler has somehow clubbed eight home runs, which has translated into a .650 ISO and a 217 wRC+. Needless to say, with Soler likely batting second in tonight’s lineup against the Marlins, Jesus Luzardo ($6,100) will need to pitch carefully. Or at least he’ll need to pitch better than the .422 opponent wOBA he’s produced since being traded to Miami.

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

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and 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.

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