Ronald Acuna

A seven-game slate is on tap for Thursday afternoon starting at 7:07 p.m. ET. Weather will be a bit of a concern with a few games potentially starting in a delay so we’ll have to keep our eyes on that. Let’s jump into all the info for tonight and as always, you can reach me on Twitter @SBuchanan24.

Game Notes

Largest Favorite

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

Justin Verlander, $12,600, HOU (-278) vs. OAK (+235) — No surprise to see Verlander as a huge favorite, as he seemingly is any given night he starts. Tonight he’ll take on the Athletics for the fourth time this season, a team he’s completely dominated all season long. In his previous three starts, Verlander is averaging a massive 36.3 DKFP against the A’s with a .197 wOBA, a 3.11 xFIP and a ridiculous 38.5 K% through 21 innings. When you also consider the A’s starter, Homer Bailey ($6,000) was shelled by the Astros earlier this season for nine runs on eight hits through only two innings, you have to like the chances for Verlander in this spot. As you’d expect, he’s by far the top option on this slate.

Highest Total

TB (-155) vs. TEX (+135) 10.5 runs — A number of games have a projected score of at least 10 runs but of those games, the Rays at -155 are the biggest favorites. They’ll be facing Kolby Allard ($7,200) at Globe Life Park with a projected team total of 5.5 runs. Allard has only pitched 10 2/3 innings at home this season but during that span has a .354 wOBA and a 4.24 xFIP. I personally am a bit confused by the total as the Rays haven’t been anything special against lefties this season. Entering this game they have a .317 wOBA, a .169 ISO and 99 wRC+. I wouldn’t be going out of my way to take the Rays in this spot as I think we have other options to consider over them. Despite some issues at home, Allard has been good overall and this isn’t a matchup I’d want to target against him.

Weather Concerns

LAD at BAL (Camden Yards) – The game has a legitimate chance to be postponed as they’ll be dealing with scattered storms all throughout the evening. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out as this is the only time the team travels to Camden Yards and the series is ending tonight. Keep an eye on this one.

ATL at PHI (Citizens Bank Park) – Same idea as in Baltimore just not as much risk. Storms will be in the area but as of now, it looks as if they should be able to play this one out.

WAS at MIN (Target Field) – This game will most likely start in a delay and then play after. It should be pouring before first pitch is thrown, so field conditions could be an issue. Otherwise, they should be good to go.

Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters

Worst vs. LHB, wOBA, xFIP
Drew Smyly, .462, 6.47
Jhoulys Chacin, .356, 6.31
Clay Buchholz, .339, 5.15

<strongBest vs. LHB, wOBA, xFIP
Justin Verlander, .229, 3.14
Patrick Corbin, .232, 2.71
Rich Hill, .252, 3.36

Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters

Worst vs. RHB, wOBA, xFIP
Brendan McKay, .364, 4.06
Drew Smyly, .358, 5.04
Dylan Bundy, .348, 4.31

Best vs. RHB, wOBA, xFIP
Justin Verlander, .247, 3.49
Patrick Corbin, .287, 3.84
Kolby Allard, .290, 4.31

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.

Name, Team, Salary, Hard-Hit%
Tyler Flowers, ATL, $3,800, 100%
Eugenio Suarez, CIN, $4,700, 83.3%
Matt Olson, OAK, $4,200, 73.7%
Rougned Odor, TEX, $4,200, 72.7%
Sheldon Neuse, OAK, $2,000, 71.4%

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Justin Verlander, HOU vs. OAK, $12,600 — I don’t see how you avoid using Verlander on this slate for all the reasons I stated earlier. He’s completely dominated this team in three prior starts so I don’t see how that will change the fourth time around. To refresh your memory, he has a .197 wOBA, a 3.11 xFIP and a ridiculous 38.5 K% through 21 innings.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Ronald Acuna Jr, ATL vs. PHI, $5,500 — The Braves should very much be in your lives tonight as they take on Drew Smyly ($6,500) and the Phillies. Smyly has been pitching better over his past two starts, but overall, his numbers are still so poor. Against lefties, Acuna has a .381 wOBA with a .276 ISO and a 134 wRC+. He’s very expensive but the probability that he and the Braves get to Smyly with some offensive production feels quite high.

Save Big by Drafting…

C.J. Cron, MIN vs. WAS, $3,500 — I think Cron is an excellent tournament play as he faces Patrick Corbin ($10,500) at Target Field. As I mentioned, this game could start in a delay but should play after. On the road, Corbin has been much worse, posting a .319 wOBA with a 4.16 xFIP and 15 of the 20 home runs he’s allowed. Cron, as we know, is a beast against lefties and at home has .404 wOBA with a .295 ISO and a 154 wRC+.

Stack Em Up

HOU vs. OAK (Homer Bailey) — All I keep thinking about is that start where the Astros knocked Bailey out after just two innings back in July. When all was said and done, it was the worst fantasy performance of the season for Bailey, who ended with -16.7 DKFP through two innings. He hasn’t been a total gas can since joining the Athletics but he’s still giving up a ton of hard contact at 43.2% and nine home runs since being traded over.

Favorite Prop Bet

Minnesota Twins OVER 4.5 runs (+110)

I’ll always take the over on the Twins when facing a left-handed pitcher. I love that we’re getting plus money on this in their matchup against Corbin. Granted, it’s not a slam dunk matchup, but we’ve seen what they’ve done to lefties in the past, and currently have scored the most runs in the league against lefties at 244.

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