Thursday offers a unique starting time for this five-game slate with the first game kicking off at 6:40 p.m. ET. Make sure your lineups are set prior to that as lineups will lock at that time. After that, the next game doesn’t start until 7:20 p.m. ET. Let’s jump into this slate and as always, you can reach me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Largest FavoriteNote: This section highlights the pitcher whose team is the largest favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Luis Castillo, $10,600 CIN (-131) vs. CHC (+114) — It’s been an extremely strong season for Castillo thus far, as he enters this game averaging 25 DKFP with a K% of 31.8 and an overall xFIP of 3.08. The man I once loved to stack against is now the man I never want to miss when he’s taking the mound (kind of like Martin Perez, which I still can’t wrap my head around). This will be his first time facing the Cubs this season and he’ll be doing it at Great American Ball Park where he sports a remarkable .201 wOBA with a 2.87 xFIP through 32.2 innings. Don’t get me wrong, this Cubs lineup is very tough against righties and has a team .344 wOBA with a .201 ISO. With the slate set up as it is, I think Castillo is still going to be popular and rightfully so. I just can’t say this is a “smash spot” by any means.
Highest TotalSTL (-103) vs. ATL (-112) 10 runs — For the second straight night these two teams are involved in the highest projected total on the slate. The Cardinals are the slight favorites in this one as they face Julio Teheran ($8,000). The way to get to Teheran (stop me if you’ve heard this before) is with left-handed bats. The Cardinals aren’t exactly loaded with them and are very righty-heavy. Against righties, Teheran has held them to a .285 wOBA with a 4.17 xFIP. Not exactly numbers I see and think I MUST STACK THIS TEAM. On a short-slate, I think Teheran may be more of someone I’d want to roster rather than target against. Looking at the Cardinals numbers against righties, they don’t have a ton of power with a .166 ISO (23rd) and they’ll face Teheran at home, where he’s pitched much better than on the road. Call me crazy but I think this game has a legitimate potential to be a disappointment, at least on the Cardinals side, in terms of fantasy production.
Weather ConcernsNo weather concerns for tonight!
Splits to StartThe following stats now reflect numbers from the 2019 season
Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters
|Worst vs. LHB||wOBA||xFIP||Best vs. LHB||wOBA||xFIP|
|Adam Wainwright||.406||4.61||Luis Castillo||.281||3.35|
|Julio Teheran||.334||4.86||Eric Lauer||.288||4.37|
|Michael Pineda||.322||4.53||Jose Quintana||.292||1.83|
Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters
|Worst vs. RHB||wOBA||xFIP||Best vs. RHB||wOBA||xFIP|
|Michael Pineda||.397||4.79||Luis Castillo||.189||2.84|
|Eric Lauer||.354||4.83||Adam Wainwright||.262||3.84|
|Erik Swanson||.340||5.14||Marcus Stroman||.263||3.59|
Top Hard-Hit%This section will populate with the hitters that have the top hard-hit% over the last 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.
Pitcher to Build AroundLuis Castillo, CIN vs. CHC, $10,600 — It’s hard to get cute on these smaller slates, especially when it comes to pitching. I explained my thoughts about Castillo earlier and really think this is a good spot for him despite the Cubs hitting well. One area Castillo has really improved in is his ability to miss bats, as he currently sports a 15.7% swing-and-miss rate. It’s a significant jump from last season where when he had a 13.5% rate. With a number of pitchers in potentially tough matchups, Castillo makes the most sense here.
Heavy Hitter to Pay ForFreddie Freeman, ATL vs. STL, $4,500 — While I think this could be a disappointing spot for the Cardinals, I think the Braves are different. Wainwright hasn’t pitched as poorly as I expected but his numbers against lefties aren’t pretty. Through eight starts, Wainwright has posted a .406 wOBA with 4.61 xFIP and a 46.2% hard-hit rate. While Freeman isn’t hitting bombs at a rate we’d like, his .377 wOBA and .188 ISO against righties are still solid. At $4,500, this doesn’t feel like a steep price to pay for Freddie.
Save Big by Drafting…Rowdy Tellez, TOR vs. CWS, $3,600 — Tellez and well, essentially, the entire Toronto lineup has been quiet of late. However, nothing curses a hurting offense like a start against Dylan Covey ($6,200). He hasn’t pitched much this season but looking back at 2018, Covey allowed a .341 wOBA to lefties with a 4.72 xFIP and 10 of his 13 home runs. Despite just a .305 wOBA against righties, Tellez sports plenty of power and that’s showcased by a .207 ISO. This is an easy salary saver if you don’t want to go with Freeman.
Stack Em UpCIN vs. CHC (Jose Quintana) — After a really good start to the season, Jose Quintana is looking more like, Jose Quintana. The Reds aren’t the sexiest team to stack but they’ll be facing a pitcher that on the road has a .374 wOBA with a five of his six home runs allowed. The best part is, it’s not an overly expensive stack to make either so you can easily pair Castillo with the bats. With an implied of over four runs, I think the Reds will go a bit overlooked.
Favorite Prop Bet
Cincinnati Reds OVER 4.5 runs (+102)Did you just read what I wrote? Ok, great. To add on another layer here, the Cubs’ bullpen has hit a rough stretch with their bullpen and have a team 4.69 xFIP over the last week. They’ve also have logged 21 innings in that span, which ranks as the eighth most. When you factor in a starter that’s been struggling and an overworked bullpen, I like the prospect of them hitting the over in a hitter-friendly ballpark.
Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of the applicable MLB entity. All rights reserved.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.
Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER.