It’s a few days late, but for the purposes of this article, we’ve now entered May. That puts a cap on a decent, if slightly underwhelming, month of April, where we went 11-10 on article plays with a couple juicy futures waiting in the vault. Not bad, but let’s aim higher.
It’s starts tonight. Here are three bets for this evening’s MLB slate.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Neither one of these teams is lighting up the scoreboard the past two weeks; however, I believe the starting pitching matchup is a far more important element of this bet. Let’s start with Jose Berrios. Technically speaking, the right-hander has settled down since getting rocked by the Rangers on Opening Day, maintaining a 2.66 ERA across his last 23.2 innings pitched. Yet, that’s a little bit of a mirage. It’s possible these numbers mean a less with the dead baseballs, but for the season as a whole, Berrios is sporting an 8.19 xERA. That ugly figure is accompanied by a .690 expected slugging percentage and a .530 expected wOBA on batted ball events. Yikes.
Aaron Civale’s not doing much better, having surrendered a combined 12 earned runs over his last two outings. The bad news doesn’t stop there. Civale has specifically struggled in 2022 with right-handed opponents, with the 41 he’s faced slashing an eye-popping .412/.488/.676 with a .501 wOBA. Well, Toronto just so happens to be flush with powerful RHBs, including the likes of Bo Bichette, George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Matt Chapman. There’s also a pretty decent chance that two-time Silver Slugger winner Teoscar Hernandez returns to the lineup from an oblique issue on Thursday. That’s a lot of firepower in the Jays’ lineup.
Buxton has been so ridiculously good to begin this season. In fact, the outfielder comes into tonight’s contest with the Orioles leading all players with 50-plus plate appearances in both ISO (.419) and slugging percentage (.710), which I guess is what happens when 12 of your first 18 hits have gone for extra bases. Buxton has also been hyper aggressive at the dish, walking just twice in his 67 plate appearances. That might not seem overly important, but with a total bases prop, you want as many batted ball events as possible.
The pitching matchup is heavily in Buxton’s favor, as well. Spenser Watkins has throughly struggled with right-handed batters over the course of his career, conceding an insane .342/.402/.658 slash line within the split. The 179 RHBs the right-hander has faced have actually combined for a massive .442 wOBA. On top of that, Watkins boasts a modest 10.5% strikeout rate in 2022, which should once again promote BBEs in his duels with Buxton. Contact is our friend on Thursday.
This totals seems low for a numbers of reasons, yet the main one is pretty simple: The Marlins can really hit. Across the past two weeks, Miami sits second in the National League with a 115 wRC+ as a team, thanks primarily to a balanced attack led by Jazz Chisholm and Jesus Aguilar. The Marlins also have power to spare, with the likes of Jesus Sanchez, Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia now populating the middle of their order. This is a Miami squad that can pile runs up in a hurry.
Conveniently, Nick Martinez is a pitcher who can give up runs in a hurry — at least he should be. While the 31-year-old has mostly survived his first four outings of 2022, posting a 4.12 ERA in 19.2 innings of work, the advanced stats paint a much bleaker picture. Martinez is walking 5.49 opponents per nine, yet an unstable 92.6% strand rate is keeping him afloat. Additionally, the RHP is allowing 2.29 home runs per nine and a gargantuan .488 xwOBA on batted ball events, so there’s certainly a reason his 6.64 xERA is basically two-and-a-half runs higher than that depressed ERA. Martinez is due for some serious regression and I think that’ll come this evening against a dangerous Marlins lineup.
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