Well, it’s going to be a little while before we see baseball again. Thanks to very quick victories in the ALCS and NLCS by the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively, there’s three more scheduled off days between now and Game 1 of the World Series. How could we possibly kill that time? Maybe by perusing the many series bets available on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
We’re 8-4 on article plays for the playoffs so far. Here’s a few futures to consider.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Player Series Home Run Total
I’m a little surprised to see this number as low as it is, particularly with how great Bregman has looked at the plate so far in the playoffs. Through seven games, the veteran is slashing .333/.375/.600 with a 178 wRC+ in 32 plate appearances. Heck, with his three-run long ball off Luis Severino in Game 2 of the ALCS, Bregman set the record for the most home runs by a third baseman in MLB history. So, you know, he has a knack for coming up clutch in the big moments.
More than narrative, though, I like how this series sets up for Bregman’s splits. Lefties Ranger Suarez and Bailey Falter are likely to start three times in a potential seven-game series — Bregman’s preferred handedness matchup throughout his career. To wit, over 1,050 plate appearances versus LHPs in the regular season, Bregman sports a .232 ISO and a 151 wRC+. Houston also has home field advantage in the series, which should benefit all RHBs on both teams. However, the Crawford Boxes were kinder to Bregman than most in 2022, as the 28-year-old hit 16 of his 23 home runs at home. That worked out to an eye-popping .253 ISO and a 178 wRC+ in 326 plate appearances at Minute Maid Park. Honestly, Bregman’s odds for MVP at +1200 don’t look too bad, either.
Series Total Strikeouts
The Astros don’t strikeout. They just don’t. Houston ended the regular season with the second-lowest strikeout rate in baseball (19.5%), while also in possession of the league’s second-highest zone contact rate (88.7%) and its third-lowest swinging strike rate (10.2%). The team averaged a paltry 6.3 strikeouts per game in the ALCS, with the lone contest over six strikeouts coming against Gerrit Cole in Game 3 — the man who led MLB in strikeouts in 2022 with 257. My point is, it takes very particular circumstances for the Astros to swing and miss with any consistency. As long as this series doesn’t go the distance, I don’t think this will even be a sweat.
Head-to-Head Player Hits
This line is a clear reflection of how much the world respects and fears the Astros’ pitching staff as a whole. Still, it’s not like the Phillies have a bunch of Triple-A arms toeing the rubber. Though I’ll admit that Philadelphia’s bullpen is underwhelming, 66.7% of the first six games of this series will be started by either Aaron Nola or Zack Wheeler. That’s pretty damn good, and who knows how the duo might be utilized in a do-or-die Game 7. The point is, even factoring in Houston’s advantage on the mound, there’s no way Harper should ever be this heavy an underdog in a head-to-head statistical battle.
Not only will Harper have the slight edge in overall volume thanks to hitting out of a higher spot in his team’s order, but he’s been on absolute fire through the entire postseason. In 46 plate appearances over 11 contests, Harper is slashing .419/.444/.907 with a 271 wRC+. It’s worth noting Harper’s advanced numbers aren’t inflated by walks, either. He’s sporting just a 4.3% walk rate in the playoffs (with a single intentional free pass), while he’s also struck out in just 15.2% of his PAs so far. If Harper’s going to continue to create batted ball events with that level of consistency, the hits are going to come in bunches. No disrespect to Kyle Tucker is intended, but there’s a reason Harper is the current favorite for MVP despite his team being underdogs in the series.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.