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Solid mix of good pitching and opportunities for big offensive performances on Friday.
There are a lot of ways to get in on the weekend MLB action via DraftKings Sportsbook. Thankfully, you have all day to process my favorite Friday picks below -- no early afternoon chaos.
Minnesota Twins vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Michael Pineda over 0.5 home runs allowed +115
This is proof it’s always worthwhile to scan the “home runs allowed” column under DraftKings Sportsbook’s player prop section.
The Blue Jays have no shortage of power in their lineup, as much as the Rays held them at bay throughout their last series. Toronto’s offense has gone ballistic for much of September, and most of their success has come against right-handed pitching. The Braves are the only team with more home runs against right-handers this month, and the Jays dominate every other significant offensive category.
What’s more: Pineda gives up a lot of fly balls (39.1% fly-ball rate), and those turn into homers at a high rate (13.5 HR/FB). Since his return from the IL, he’s logged three then five innings in his two starts. He has yet to give up a home run in that stretch, which means he’s due.
The only reason this wouldn’t be a worthwhile pick is if Pineda was on a tight pitch count. But he went from 44 pitches to 72 since rejoining the staff, so there’s no reason to expect that trend to change. Even if he doesn’t go past the mark from his last start, that’s enough opportunities for at least one Blue Jays hitter to catch barrel.
Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets
Phillies -1.5 +130
Zack Wheeler over 6.5 strikeouts -125
Perhaps one of the greatest intangible factors in sports is a player going against a former team, which is what’s going on in Queens for the fifth time this season on Friday. Some players crumble against their old teams, but Wheeler has only gotten better the more he’s seen his former Mets teammates. New York hasn’t scratched across a run against Wheeler in his last two starts against them, spanning 16 innings.
While the Mets aren’t a team to strikeout much against right-handed pitchers, they certainly haven’t hit righties well this season. And even with the Mets being a middling team in terms of K rate against righties, Wheeler hit the over on his strikeout prop on DraftKings Sportsbook for Friday’s action in each of his last two starts while coming up just one punchout short in each of the two starts vs. the Mets prior to those.
Then there’s Philadelphia’s offense, which put on a clinic Thursday. Bryce Harper and Wheeler, with maybe a little help from the bullpen, might be enough to help the Phillies cover on Friday. But other Philly hitters should be able to pounce on Taijuan Walker. He hasn’t been great since the All-Star break, and things have only gotten worse since the calendar turned over to September.
Lastly, of the 17 wins the Phillies have earned in Wheeler starts, 13 have been by two-plus runs.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres
Total over 9 runs +100
The second I saw Vince Velasquez penciled in for this start, I had to find a way to back St. Louis’ offense. Not that the Cardinals destroy right-handed pitchers, but this guy hasn’t thrown in the bigs since July 30 when he gave up five runs vs. the Pirates.
But then something happened: the Padres woke up. After a tough stretch vs. the Dodgers and two low-scoring performances to start their series in San Francisco, San Diego went to work on Giants pitching in back-to-back games.
The Padres have the pop in their lineup to do most of the heavy lifting for this bet, but the Cardinals have the chance to erupt with Velasquez on the bump. Doesn’t matter to us either way. We just need them to combine for 10-plus runs.
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