Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves

Thursday evening features an eight-game slate of baseball starting at 7:05 p.m. ET. It’s expected to be a high-scoring night with four of these games projected for double-digit scoring. Let’s get into all the information for this and as always, you can reach me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

Game Notes

Largest Favorite

Note: This section highlights the pitcher whose team is the largest favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Sonny Gray, $9,100, CIN (-167) vs. STL (+145) — Gray is set to take the mound against the Cardinals for the second time this season. In their prior matchup, which took place at Busch Stadium, Gray went five innings allowing two runs on three hits while striking out five for 14.25 DKFP. During that time, Gray wasn’t pitching anywhere near the level he has as of late. Since the beginning of July, Gray has at least 21.3 DKFP and seven strikeouts in six of his seven starts. What makes it all the more impressive is it’s been a tough schedule that includes a game against the Rockies at Coors Field, two against the Cubs and Brewers and a road start against the Braves.

Now he faces a Cardinals team that has just a .309 wOBA, a .167 ISO and a 22.2 K% against righties. With the way Gray is pitching, I’m all about using him in this matchup.

Highest Total

MIN (-150) at TEX (+132) 11.5 runs — The Twins are favored in this matchup against the Rangers, who’ll be sending Pedro Payano ($6,300) to the mound. He’s made only five appearances and three starts total in the majors, which overall have not gone well. His control has been awful since being recalled and sports an early 14.5 BB%. His 5.73 xFIP overall is nothing impressive, either, which is a big reason why the Twins have a 6.5 team total, which is the highest on this slate.

The Twins have been one of the better scoring teams on the road this season, averaging just over six runs per game, which is second highest in the league. With a poor bullpen behind Payano, this should be a spot for the Twins to get their offense back on track, as the team is averaging just 4.2 runs over its past five games.

Weather Concerns

No weather concerns!


Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters

Worst vs. LHB, wOBA, xFIP, Best vs. LHB, wOBA, xFIP
Drew Smyly, .463, 6.20, Sonny Gray, .248, 3.44
Reynaldo Lopez, .375, 6.30, Alex Young, .252, 5.63
Andrew Heaney, .343, 4.08, Pedro Payano, .266, 5.21

Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters

Worst vs. RHB, wOBA, xFIP, Best vs. RHB, wOBA, xFIP
Michael Wacha, .403, 4.68, Marcus Stroman, .250, 3.81
Drew Smyly, .362, 5.42, Alex Young, .265, 4.50
Aaron Sanchez, .354, 5.58, Yu Darvish, .269, 3.43

Top Hard-Hit%

This section will populate with the hitters that have the top hard-hit% over the past seven days. This percentage can help distinguish who is swinging the bat well over the course of the past week. I’ll be updating this daily so we have a consistent flow of names in this section.

Name, Team, Salary, Hard-Hit%
Bryce Harper, PHI, $4300, 71.4%
Joey Votto, CIN, $4000, 66.7%
Phillip Ervin, CIN, $4000, 63.6%
Josh Rojas, ARI, $3000, 62.5%
DJ LeMahieu, NYY, $5100, 62.5%

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Sonny Gray, CIN vs. STL, $9,100 — Just as it went last night with Clayton Kershaw, I fully agree with Gray being the top option on this slate. We simply can’t deny how well he’s been pitching and has a really solid matchup tonight to continue to build on that. When pitching at Great American Ball Park, Gray has a .276 wOBA, a 3.53 xFIP and seven of his 13 home runs allowed.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Eddie Rosario, MIN at TEX, $5,000 – – Rosario is on quite the tear as of late, scoring at least 14 DKFP in four of his past five games. With the Twins sporting the highest team total on this slate, it’s hard not to like their cleanup hitter, who clearly is locked in at the plate.

On the road against righties, Rosario sports a .383 wOBA with a .295 ISO and 12 of his 26 home runs on the year. He easily could be more expensive, so $5K for Rosario doesn’t feel like much.

Save Big by Drafting…

Welington Castillo, CWS at LAA, $2,600 — If you want to go wayyyyyy down the list for a catcher, Castillo is an intriguing option with how cheap he is. He’s been showing some signs of life at the plate lately, and the majority of his power has come against left-handed pitching. Despite a poor .294 wOBA, he does have a .205 ISO against lefties. He’ll be facing Andrew Heaney ($9,000), who is no stranger to the home run ball and has allowed six of his nine total at home. With Castillo being as cheap as he is, he won’t have to do much at his salary.

Stack Em Up

NYY vs. CLE (Adam Plutko) — Plutko has been terrible on the road and now has to face the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Through 26 1/3 innings away from Progressive Field, Plutko has a .379 wOBA with a 5.67 xFIP and six of his 17 home runs allowed. Regardless of how you make your stack, I really like Didi Gregorius ($4,400), as Plutko has a putrid 6.12 xFIP on the road against lefties.


Favorite Prop Bet

New York Yankees OVER 5.5 runs (-115)

The Yankees essentially had four days of batting practice in their four-game series against the Orioles. In that series, they averaged 8.2 runs per game while winning all four. Now, certainly, the Indians are much better pitching staff than the Orioles’, but I still like the Yankees to hit the over in this spot. The Yankees average 5.5 runs per game at home, the fourth-highest mark in the league. With the poor numbers for Plutko on the road, this is a spot to target.


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

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