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MLB Picks for August 26: Baseball Best Bets, Predictions, Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook

Garion Thorne gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Friday’s MLB betting card.

I’ve basically been treading water with these article plays the past few weeks, so our record for the season stands at a very familiar-looking 58-53. It is what it is. However, we’ve got a full 15-game slate on Friday and about a month left in the regular season to try and finish strong. Get excited!

Here are three bets I’m considering tonight on the diamond.

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.

Cleveland Guardians at Seattle Mariners

Shane Bieber Under 6.5 Strikeouts (+100)

Despite a pretty significant drop in fastball velocity, Bieber’s been fantastic in 2022, pitching to a 3.10 ERA and a 2.83 FIP over 145.0 innings. Still, it’s not like everything’s been exactly as it used to be. The right-hander’s 24.7% strikeout rate is his lowest mark since his rookie season, as Bieber’s zone contact rate has shot up to an extremely underwhelming 88.8%. For some context, that’s actually the eighth-highest qualified rate in baseball, above the likes of Kyle Freeland, Cal Quantrill and Marco Gonzales. You know, guys who aren’t really considered strikeout artists.

Essentially, Bieber has lived and died with his ability to induce swings on pitches outside of the strike zone, where his swinging strike rate remains elite. That’s not a terrible strategy, but it just won’t work against some teams. Teams like the Mariners. Seattle owns the American League’s lowest chase rate across the past two weeks (28.6%) and for the season as a whole (30.0%). The Mariners don’t fish, which should lead to a lot of batted ball events versus Bieber. It’s also not like this prop is a lock independant of matchup, as Bieber’s failed to reach seven strikeouts in six of his last 10 outings.

Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals

First 5: Over 3.5 (-120)

Let me be clear: I think the Braves are going to do a lot of the heavy lifting to get this over the total. For as solid as he’s been all season, I still just don’t trust Jose Quintana, who did get roughed up by the Diamondbacks in his most recent outing. Quintana’s peripherals are underwhelming to say the least — particularly a 4.12 xERA — while a 6.8% HR/FB ratio continues to seem unstable, especially considering the lefty’s 21.4% mark from 2021. Atlanta owns a .344 wOBA against southpaws in 2022, the third-best mark within the split, so if any team’s equipped to send Quintana down the path to regression, it’s one employing Austin Riley, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Dansby Swanson.

Where this bet gets a little dicey is with Spencer Strider. The rookie has been amazing since making his debut back in April, as evidenced by a 2.06 FIP that leads all National League pitchers with at least 100 innings thrown. However, it’s worth pointing out that the Cardinals have been just as impressive statistically since the All-Star break. St. Louis leads baseball in slugging percentage (.500), wOBA (.371) and wRC+ (143) since the Midsummer Classic, and the team’s lineup happens to feature two NL MVP candidates. Though, you do need to keep an eye on the status of Nolan Arenado, as he might potentially end up on the paternity list prior to Friday’s contest.

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New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics

JP Sears Over 5.5 Hits Allowed (+120)

Obviously, the fact that the Yankees racked up 20 hits on Thursday night looms large here. Yet I also truly believe Sears is the exact archetype of pitcher you want to attack with a hits allowed prop. First and foremost, he’s been the farthest thing from a “three true outcomes” pitcher in 2022, with microscopic marks in both strikeout rate (16.3%) and walk rate (6.4%). There should be plenty of batted ball events on Friday for New York, which, if you’ll allow me to be reductive, is kind of a crucial element when trying to collect a base hit.

Let’s not overlook the Yankees’ dominant splits, either. New York has crushed left-handed pitching like few other teams this season, with the Yankees’ 129 wRC+ within the split the best mark in all of baseball. In fact, if Jose Trevino is behind the plate and Marwin Gonzalez is in right field instead of Oswaldo Cabrera, it’s likely all nine members of New York’s starting lineup will have a wRC+ of over 100 against LHPs. That’s a daunting task for Sears.

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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.

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