The MLB trade deadline is just a few days away, and we’ve already seen some big moves. There are still more to come, which makes Sunday’s slate a bit different than usual. Teams that are expected to be sellers could pull a player from the lineup at any minute, so keep that in mind while making your selections.
We have 15 games to choose from on Sunday, including a nine-game main slate at 1:35 p.m. ET, a four-game late afternoon slate, and Sunday Night Baseball.
Let’s dive into three of my favorite wagers on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Boston Red Sox at San Francisco Giants:
The Pick: Red Sox ML (-115)
Sunday’s matchup between the Red Sox and Giants will be a battle of the bullpens. Both teams will be opting for openers, with the Red Sox starting Brennan Bernardino and the Giants starting Scott Alexander. Both players will likely be capped at around two innings before ceding to the rest of the bullpen.
Ross Stripling is the top candidate to handle the bulk of the innings for the Giants, which should be music to the Red Sox’s ears. Stripling has struggled in virtually every metric this season, resulting in a 5.77 ERA and a 5.38 xERA. He’s allowing more than two homers per nine innings, despite pitching roughly half his games in the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball.
Nick Pivetta is the expected long-man for the Red Sox, and he’s been much better than Stripling. His ERA sits at 4.11 for the year, and he’s striking out more than 11 batters per nine innings. That said, that doesn’t tell the full story. He’s yet to allow a run across 12 second-half innings, and his ERA dips to 1.98 across 41 innings out of the bullpen.
Ultimately, the Red Sox have a clear edge at pitcher, and they’re the superior offensive team as well. Add it all up, and -115 makes them a nice value.
Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Pick: Reds ML (+150)
I am going to continue to trust the stuff with Graham Ashcraft. He’s been a disaster for most of the year, pitching to a 5.64 ERA and a 5.35 xERA across 19 starts. However, the Reds continue to trot him out every fifth day due to his upside. He ranks first among pitchers with at least 90 innings this season in terms of Stuff+, which aims to measure how “nasty” a pitcher’s individual offers are. Ashcraft’s slider grades out as one of the best pitches in all of baseball.
Ashcraft is also starting to see some results. Since the All-Star break, he’s pitched to a 2.60 ERA over 17 1/3 innings, so it’s possible that he’s starting to put it all together. He should also benefit from pitching outside the extremely hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati: His road ERA is nearly 2.5 runs better than his home ERA this season.
Pitching against the Dodgers is no easy task, and their lineup has been scorching hot of late. They’re first in wRC+ against right-handers over the past 12 months, but Ashcraft should get a bit of run support. The Reds can hit too, and they have an exploitable matchup against right-hander Michael Grove. Grove has posted a 6.19 ERA and a 5.01 xERA this season, so the Reds should be able to do some damage.
The sharps seem to like the Reds in this spot, who have garnered 90% of the dollars on just 33% of the bets. I’m happy to tag along.
Texas Rangers at San Diego Padres:
The Pick: Rangers ML (+170)
This matchup features two teams with wildly different mindsets at the moment. The Rangers are officially all in on winning in 2023 after acquiring Max Scherzer from the Mets. Scherzer may not be the premier pitcher that he was in his prime, but it’s the type of move that signifies to your clubhouse that your only goal is winning. All the moves from the front office over the past two years scream “win now.”
Meanwhile, the Padres are stuck in no-man’s land. They entered the year with massive expectations, but they’re currently in 10th place in the National League. That leaves them 5.5 games behind the Reds for the final Wild Card spot, with three other teams ahead of them on the outside of the playoff picture. While they may not embrace the full sale sell-off that the Mets have chosen, they’re probably not going to be aggressive buyers, either. There are also at least a few guys who are looking over their shoulders, wondering if they could be shipped out of town.
That difference in mindset makes the Rangers a target for me on Sunday. The Padres do have a clear edge on the mound, with Blake Snell and his 2.61 ERA taking the bump. However, the Padres have been far from unbeatable with Snell starting this season. In fact, Snell owns just a 7-8 record despite being one of the better pitchers in baseball.
The Rangers are a potent offensive team, checking in second in wRC+ vs. southpaws, so they’re capable of scoring against anyone. Taking a flyer on them at +170 feels like a wise decision, and the sharps appear to agree, with Texas receiving more than 70% of the moneyline dollars.
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All odds are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds are subject to change.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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.