MLB-Showdown

Every Sunday night this year, there will be a Captain’s Mode Showdown contest on DraftKings for the ESPN featured primetime game. Tonight features a rivalry game between the Cubs and Cardinals. With the wind expected to be blowing in, this could be a lower-scoring pitcher’s duel. With that said, the wind was blowing in yesterday and the Cubs still scored nine runs.

Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.


FIVE BETTING TRENDS

— The home team has won each of the last nine game between the Cardinals and Cubs.

— The Cubs win 67.6% of games at Wrigley Field.

— The Cardinals have lost 18 of their 29 road games.

— The Cubs have won five of their last six games.

— Four of the Cardinals’ last five games have gone UNDER the total runs line.

Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Cardinals

Adam Wainwright ($8,800) is coming off his best outing of the season. Earlier in the week, he started against the Cubs and struck out eight hitters across eight scoreless innings. He finished with 32.6 DKFP, his highest score of the season. There are times that I have started to think Wainwright is washed up and he’s proved me wrong recently. He’s a high-variance pitcher and isn’t consistent from outing to outing, but he still has a fairly high ceiling. Waino has a total of 18 strikeouts in his last two starts and is in his best form of the season.

It’s hard to find many bats to like from the Cardinals’ side of the game. They are big underdogs with a low 3.8 implied total. Kyle Hendricks ($11,000) has been extremely tough on right-handed hitters this season, allowing a .250 wOBA. Against lefties, he’s a bit more vulnerable. Hendricks gives up a .317 wOBA to left-handed hitters, so the lefties are the hitters to target.

There are three lefties for the Cardinals who make for sensible targets. The batting order will determine the order of the priorities for these guys, but Matt Carpenter ($7,600) and Dexter Fowler ($6,200) are the top two options. They have alternated time as the leadoff hitter and I lean towards whoever hits first as the stronger play. Hitting lower in the order, Kolten Wong ($6,400) makes sense as a contrarian option. Fowler will likely be more popular since he’s cheaper and hits higher in the order, making Wong intriguing for tournaments.


Cubs

Hendricks ($16,500) has pitched extremely well this season and is the safest pick for the Captain’s Spot. He’s scored over 20 DKFP in six of his last seven starts. Factor in the wind blowing in with the low team total for the Cardinals and there are a few reasons to feel good about Hendricks. He is not a high strikeout pitcher, so he tends to benefit a lot when the wind is blowing in at Wrigley. At home, Hendricks has a 1.71 ERA this season. He pitched a complete game shutout and scored 32.85 DKFP in his last start against the Cardinals.

Wainwright has had a tough time getting out left-handed hitters this season. He allows a .393 wOBA to lefties and there are a handful of tough ones on the Cubs’ roster. On the high end, Anthony Rizzo ($9,600) is the first name that sticks out. He leads all Cubs’ hitters with an average of 10.1 DKFP and is having one of the best seasons of his career. Rizzo’s 148 wRC+ is his best mark since 2014 and he’s on pace to hit for a career high home run total. His hard contact rate is up to 43.8% compared to 33.8% for his career and he’s starting to hit the ball to the opposite field more to adjust for the uptick in shifting throughout the league.

The current hottest hitter on the Cubs is Kyle Schwarber ($7,400) and he isn’t all that expensive. It seems likely that Schwarber will be an extremely popular option and he could be the highest-owned hitter from the game. He homered into the wind last night and is averaging 13.4 DKFP in his last five games. Schwarber doesn’t have much success in his career off of Wainwright, but I think this should go overlooked. None of the BvP numbers against Waino hold much weight for me. Even though he’s finding ways to be a competent pitcher, he’s a former All-Star and not the pitcher he used to be. Most of the BvP stats come against Wainwright when he was a different pitcher.

It’s tough to know if he will end up starting, but Victor Caratini ($7,000) is a left-handed hitter swinging the bat well recently. He has reached base in all of his plate appearances this series, good for an average of 12.5 DKFP. Another cheap lefty who could serve as a punt play is Daniel Descalso ($4,000). Earlier in the season, he served as the leadoff hitter against right-handed pitching, but he’s fallen out of favor in recent games. If starting, Descalso is a great guy to save salary with.


THE OUTCOME

It’s hard to not favor the Cubs in this game. They are rightfully favored and I think the -167 moneyline price could even be a bit wider. The Cubs are at home and have a significant advantage in the pitching matchup. In addition, the Cubs have one of the better offenses in the MLB with a 109 wRC+. To this point, the Cardinals have a slightly below-average offense with a 96 wRC+.

Final Score: Chicago 5, St. Louis 3 


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) and 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.


Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.

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