As we work our way towards the MLB trade deadline, several contending teams continued to thrive last week. The Yankees and Astros remained atop their respective divisions with winning weeks while the Cardinals and Giants went a combined 12-2 to put themselves in a better position to make the playoffs. The Giants are playing so well that they might not actually be sellers heading into the deadline. The Phillies weren’t as successful, but their 4-2 mark has them only 6.0 games back of the Braves in the loss column in the NL East heading into Wednesday.
The goal of this series is to rank the plays that made DraftKings Sportsbook users the most money during the week while analyzing the most compelling storylines. With the outcomes being recorded every week from Wednesday to Tuesday, this breakdown includes everything played from July 17-23.
1) Shane Lowry
2) St. Louis Cardinals (6-1 Straight Up)
3) San Francisco Giants (6-1 SU)
4) Houston Astros (6-1 SU)
5) New York Yankees (5-2 SU)
6) Manny Pacquiao
7) Philadelphia Phillies (4-2 SU)
8) Leon Edwards
9) Clayton Kershaw to strike out the first batter he faces (Odds Boost 7/20)
10) Gerrit Cole over 7.5 strikeouts; Astros to Win (Odds Boost 7/17)
Lowry Pulls off Big Upset to Win The Open ChampionshipEntering The Open Championship, Shane Lowry was looking for his first major title. He didn’t exactly play well at the U.S. Open, but he came in second place at the RBC Canadian Open in the beginning of June. He shot back-to-back 67’s to start off the tournament at Royal Portrush Golf Club, then followed it up with an even more impressive 63 in the third round.
After such a great start, Lowry was in a great position to win heading into Sunday. While poor weather contributed to him shooting a 72, he still won the tournament by six strokes. At a staggering +8000 coming in, the victory resulted in some massive payouts for those who took a chance on the underdog to come away with his first major.
Pacquiao Defeats Thurman for Welterweight TitleThere is no question that Manny Pacquiao is a boxer for the ages. He is the only fighter in boxing history to win world titles in eight weight classes. That helped to make him the favorite (-159) against Keith Thurman despite being 10 years older and Thurman being a perfect 29-0 with 22 KOs.
Pacquiao didn’t disappoint those who bet on him to win. He knocked down Thurman towards the end of the first round, but this bout ended up going the distance. When the dust settled, Pacquiao had earned the split decision victory and the welterweight world title. What’s next for the boxing legend? He’ll return to the Philippines, where he currently serves as a senator, while he awaits his next fight.
Edwards Earns Unanimous Decision over dos AnjosThe headliner bout for UFC Fight Night at San Antonio’s AT&T Center pitted Leon Edwards against Rafael dos Anjos. Coming in on a seven-fight winning streak, Edwards was understandably the favorite at -120. He also had an 18-2 record, overall, compared to 29-11 for dos Anjos. In fact, the last time that Edwards lost was back in 2015.
Edwards put forth an impressive effort in this bout, winning by a unanimous decision. He used an elbow to open a deep cut above dos Anjos’ eye in the second round, which almost ended the fight early. With yet another victory under his belt, Edwards now has his sights set on trying to get a match against Jorge Masvidal.
Kershaw, Cole Provide Big Payouts with Punch outsClayton Kershaw and Gerrit Cole are two of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball, but they have their success in very different ways. The veteran Kershaw isn’t the overpowering force that he once was, posting a 24.7% strikeout rate this season. To put that into perspective, he had a strikeout rate of at least 29.8% each season from 2014 through 2017. Cole, on the other hand, has been mowing down opposing batters with his 37.9% strikeout rate.
Originally, Kershaw had +400 odds to record a strikeout of the first batter that he faced in his start Saturday against the lowly Marlins. An odds boost brought the line to +450, which he cashed in on by striking out Miguel Rojas on seven pitches. In fact, he went on to strike out the side in the inning.
With Cole’s prolific strikeout numbers, his line of 7.5 strikeouts for his start against the Angels last Wednesday seemed like a very reasonable number for him to hit. For him to reach the over and have the Astros win, the odds were originally set at +275. After being boosted to +315, Cole was in a prime spot to line the pockets of those who backed him and the team. Not only did he easily surpass the over for strikeouts with 11, but the Astros cruised to a lopsided 11-2 win.
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