The start of the NFL regular season is just around the corner, but the MLB retains center stage on Monday. There’s an eight-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
The Pick: Mets ML (-155)
I wouldn’t normally write up a large favorite like the Mets, but this line feels like a bargain. The Yankees have been in an absolute freefall of late, winning just four of their past 18 games. Their offense has been a disaster over that time frame, and they’ve scored just 25 runs in their past 12 games. As bad as that sounds, eight of those runs came in one extra-inning game, so their actual results are even worse than they appear on the surface.
Things don’t figure to get much easier on Monday. They’re taking on Max Scherzer, who has shown no signs of decline in his age-38 season. He’s pitched to a 2.15 ERA with 11.06 strikeouts per nine innings, and his ERA would actually represent a new career best. That’s remarkable for a pitcher that has been as good as Scherzer.
The Yankees will counter with Domingo German, who is arguably their worst starting pitcher. He owns a 4.86 xERA in his six starts, and the Mets rank second in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. If not for the pinstripes on the jerseys, the Yankees would be significantly larger underdogs in this spot. Let’s take advantage.
The Pick: Over 8.0 runs (-120)
This matchup features two left-handed pitchers in Jordan Montgomery and Drew Smyly, and both pitchers have been solid. Smyly has pitched to a 3.67 ERA this season, while Montgomery has allowed one run in 16 2/3 innings since being acquired by the Cardinals.
However, both pitchers seem like prime regression candidates. A trade from New York to St. Louis didn’t all of sudden turn Montgomery into Cy Young, and he’s posted a 3.98 xERA this year. He’s eventually going to allow some runs in his new uniform.
Additionally, Smyly has pitched above his peripherals. His xERA sits at 4.15, which is a good half a run higher than his actual mark.
Smyly will have his hands full with the Cardinals, who boast arguably the best offense in baseball against left-handed pitchers. Their lineup is loaded with righties that smash against southpaws, and they own the top wRC+ against left-handers this season.
The Cubs’ marks aren’t quite as impressive, but they have been red-hot recently. They rank fourth in wRC+ against left-handers over the past 14 days, and they also have plenty of quality right-handed bats.
Add it all up, and I’m expecting plenty of runs in this contest.
Brewers ML (+215)
Betting against the Dodgers has been akin to setting money on fire recently. They’ve won 17 of their past 20 games, propelling them to 84-36 on the year. They are almost assured to finish with the best record in baseball and could threaten 110-plus wins. They’ll also have one of their best pitchers on the mound in Julio Urias against a team that hasn’t fared well against southpaws this season.
However, fortune favors the brave. As good as the Dodgers are, they are almost certainly due for regression. No team is going to win 17 out of every 20 games, that’s just the nature of baseball.
Additionally, one of the Dodgers' only flaws is that they’re average against left-handed pitchers. They’re ninth in wRC+ in that split for the year, and they’ve dropped to 26th over the past 14 days. Eric Lauer is a capable starting pitcher – he owns a 3.58 ERA in 22 starts – so he should be able to mitigate the damage.
The Brewers may not win this contest, but this price is out of whack. It’s a good time to take a shot against the best team in baseball.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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