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MLB Picks for September 2: Baseball Best Bets, Predictions, Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook

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

Cleveland Guardians v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Sometimes you just need a fresh start. To turn the page. I hadn’t produced a winning bets article in two weeks going into yesterday’s slate, yet the magic of September smiled down upon me. Well, it was more the magic of Merrill Kelly, but I’m still happy it’s not August anymore.

Our record on article plays for the season stands at 62-55. Let’s build off Thursday’s success with three more bets on this evening’s MLB card.

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

Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Guardians

Luis Castillo Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+115)

I understand why this line is set as low as it is. Coming into Friday’s action, the Guardians own baseball’s lowest strikeout rate by a considerable margin (18.4%). Cleveland also sports the lowest swinging strike rate in the league (9.0%) because that’s how correlation works. Simply put, the Guardians are a team built to put the ball in play, which limits the strikeout upside of opposing pitchers.

However, not all opposing pitchers are created equal. Luis Castillo has struck out 27.2% of the batters he’s faced throughout his 19 outings in 2022. His strikeout rate since joining the Mariners at the beginning of May is a cool 31.0%. Castillo’s actually managed to clear this prop in 11 of his last 12 appearances, a stretch which obviously includes a 10 strikeout performance on August 27 against this same Cleveland lineup. The Guardians have been struggling as of late. In the past two weeks, they rank dead-last in the American League in ISO (.103) and wRC+ (57). Castillo’s going to work deep into this start. Maybe that doesn’t translate into double-digit strikeouts for a second consecutive contest, but it is going to mean at least six punch-outs.

San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers

Dustin May Over 15.5 Outs Recorded (+110)

Two things can be true at the same time. For instance, it’s more than fair to suggest that Dustin May has looked fantastic since returning from an extended IL stint — he’s allowed just two earned runs across 11.0 innings — but, it’s also fair to point out that the Marlins aren’t exactly the highest level of competition. Tonight’s matchup with the Padres should definitely be a better indication of where exactly May stands heading into the playoffs.

However, for the purposes of this bet, the two most important statistics from May’s first two outings of 2022 are the pitch counts. On August 20, the right-hander threw 71 pitches to get through five innings. On August 27, he threw 86 pitches to finish six innings. That’s meaningful progression, and it leads me to believe May’s clear to surpass 90 pitches on Thursday. Heck, he might not even have a pitch count at all. Considering how nasty May’s stuff has been and with how easily he’s maintained a 2.82 ERA throughout his career, I don’t think pitching into the sixth inning for a second straight start will be all that much of a challenge for the 24-year-old. Even versus San Diego.

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Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox

Red Sox -1.5 (+105)

Obviously I’m going to find a way to bet against Dallas Keuchel tonight. I’m not made of stone. The former AL Cy Young Award winner has been a train wreck in 2022, posting an 8.84 ERA and a 5.79 FIP across 56.0 innings of work and three unlucky organizations. There’s really no need to sugarcoat the situation. After a long and successful career, Keuchel’s cooked. The 34-year-old’s best days on the diamond are behind him, which should be pretty clear due to the fact Keuchel’s surrendered at least six earned runs in five of his last seven appearances at the MLB level.

Boston’s got a lineup that can take advantage of this situation, too. The Red Sox are red-hot coming into Friday’s action, possessing a 129 wRC+ over the past two weeks — the best mark among all American League teams. For the season as a whole, Boston also ranks inside the top 10 in both wOBA (.334) and wRC+ (114) versus left-handed pitching. The team is actually 14-6 in its last 20 games against a lefty starter. Combine all that with Nick Pivetta taking the mound, and I’ve got a lot of confidence that the Red Sox win this one by a large margin.

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