We come into today’s action carrying a record of 14-12 on article plays, after rain washed away one of our three bets last Friday. Good news: There’s no wet stuff forecasted for this evening’s batch of games. Bad news: There’s only four games with a start time of at least 6:35 p.m. ET. In my humble opinion, that’s not nearly enough baseball to enjoy.
In any case, here are some odds that have caught my eye on Thursday.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
When in doubt, take the under. That’s been a pretty decent mantra to live by in 2022, where even a team like the Yankees — sitting second in wRC+ (117) — have hit the under in a whopping 60% of their games. Most of that trend can be chalked up to inflated lines and a dominant pitching staff, as New York also possesses the American League’s lowest team ERA (2.60). Luis Gil hasn’t been a part of that success, but he’s shown the ability to be effective in the majors before, posting a 3.95 xERA across his 29.1 innings of work in 2021. Also, if Gil gets in trouble, it’s not like the Yankees don’t have anywhere to turn. New York’s bullpen sits first in all of baseball with a 2.38 ERA and a 0.38 HR/9. However, with the White Sox struggling to a meager .273 wOBA against RHPs, I’m not sure Gil will need to be bailed out all that quickly.
On the other side, it’s hard to be too worried about the prospects of Dylan Cease. In fact, there’s a case to be made that the 26-year-old has been one of the best pitchers in the world through six starts. Cease’s 1.77 xERA actually leads all qualified arms, and an eye-popping 40.6% strikeout rate over his last three outings is about as impressive as it gets. Cease has also limited right-handed opponents to a .134/.194/.209 slash line in 2022, which should negate the power of bats like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and D.J. LeMahieu.
Anderson has been able to clear this prop in just one of his five appearances this season, yet those numbers are a little misleading when you consider Thursday will only be the veteran’s fourth start in 2022. It’s volume that’s been the issue, not the stuff. Among pitchers who have thrown at least 20.0 innings, Anderson ranks eighth in chase rate (38.3%) and 17th in swinging strike rate (13.4%), showcasing a devastating change-up that has produced an incredibly noteworthy 29.4% whiff rate. It would appear that the Dodgers have worked their magic on yet another pitcher.
Matchup is also key in this spot. While the Phillies’ lineup is loaded with powerful bats, the trade-off has been contact rate, particularly against left-handed opponents. Philadelphia enters this series in Los Angeles owning the league’s third-highest strikeout rate within the split at 26.9%. In fact, the Phillies’ five prized bats — Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins — have a combined 31.6% strikeout rate in their 187 plate appearances versus southpaws this season.
To Make the Playoffs
Is this an overreaction to a bad week? Maybe. Is there any way a lineup this talented continues to hit a league-worst .181 with runners in scoring position? Not unless there’s a curse involved somewhere. Have the Jays played an odd front-loaded schedule with 15 combined games against the Yankees and the Astros? Yes. Yes they have. Still, this line feels like it’s more concerned with the preseason projections and hasn’t at all factored in the 32 games we’ve seen Toronto play in 2022 — or teams like the Angels and the Twins that look much better than anticipated.
Entering play on Thursday, the Jays are 17th in wOBA (.308) and their bullpen ERA of 4.22 is the second-worst in the American League. Really, aside from herculean efforts given by Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah, they’ve been average to below-average in almost every way. This includes the advanced metrics that loved Toronto last season. Remember when the Jays were bludgeoning opponents in 2021 and their expected record was 99-63 at season’s end? Well, due to nine one-run wins and a -13 run differential, Toronto’s expected record in 2022 sits at an underwhelming 14-18.
The Jays are also already six games back of New York for the division, with Tampa Bay sitting in second place. Contrast that briefly to the White Sox, underachieving in their own right, but only 2.5 games back of the Twins to begin May 12. Chicago is just +190 to miss the playoffs. The Rays are +170. Again, I wouldn’t be shocked if Toronto turned this around, but you can’t tell me this line doesn’t seem off by comparison.
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