Gerrit Cole

The NLCS matchup has been set after yet another postseason Clayton Kershaw meltdown. With the Nationals now set to take on the Cardinals, all eyes will be on the American League to see who will face the Yankees. Will it be the Astros or the Rays? Game 5 takes place tonight at 7:07 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. As of Thursday morning, the Astros are -275 favorites while this game sports and over/under of seven runs.

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


BETTING TRENDS

— The Rays have won 10 of their last 11 night games against American League opponents

— The ‘inning 1 UNDER 0.5 runs’ market has hit in each of the Rays’ last seven games at Minute Maid Park

— The Astros have trailed after 3 innings in each of their last three Thursday games

— Each of the Rays’ last six night games against American League opponents have gone UNDER the total runs line

Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Tampa Bay Rays

This focus of this showdown slate will be the pitching options. Tyler Glasnow ($10,000) will try to send the underdog Rays to their first ALCS since 2008, where they beat the Red Sox in seven games. Despite missing the majority of the year with a forearm injury, Glasnow has been dominant on the mound. He’s faced the Astros twice, and he has thrown a combined 9 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits while striking out nine. On the road, he’s been nearly untouchable, posting a .171 wOBA, 2.78 xFIP and only one of the four home runs he’s allowed. He’s a very viable captain option at $15,000 and saves you $3,000 in salary taking him over Gerrit Cole. While the strikeout upside favors Cole, Glasnow has a 33 K% of his own on the season.

The hitting on both sides will be rather difficult to choose from. On a slate like this, I’ll be looking for players who I can rely upon to put the ball into play and don’t strike out much. Austin Meadows ($8,400) and Tommy Pham ($8,600) are perfect examples of this. Both players have some of the lowest K% on the team against righties, and both have some pop against righties with Meadows posting a .278 and Pham a .191. Both of these guys can put the ball in play, which is essentially the most you can ask for in a matchup against Cole. For me, Meadows is the bat to pay up for on the Rays, as he leads in almost every offensive category against righties. As for Pham, he’s found some individual success against Cole, going 9/18 lifetime with two doubles, a home run and four RBI.

Willy Adames ($6,000) is someone to consider as a value play. While he isn’t a flashy name, he does have a .358 OBP and has been hitting well in this series, averaging 11.7 DKFP through the four games in this series. If you’re getting in both pitchers in this game, Adames is someone you can help offset some of those huge salaries with.


Houston Astros

The biggest name on this slate is, of course, Cole ($12,000). If you’re looking to captain him, you’re looking at $18,000 salary. In his first start against the Rays, he completely wiped the floor with this lineup, scoring 48.3 DKFP by tossing 7 2/3 innings allowing just four hits and striking out 15. Cole has now struck out at least 10 batters in 10 straight starts, which dates back to Aug. 7 against the Rockies. In that span, Cole boasts an insane .194 wOBA, 1.52 xFIP and a K% of 49.3%. If the Rays were to have a chance in this game, they’ll have a large, daunting task of taking down Cole. With numbers like that, it certainly won’t be easy.

On the hitting side, the Astros are in a tough spot like the Rays. As I mentioned, the DraftKings Sportsbook has them as (-275) favorites and sport a team total of 4.5 runs. However, it’s very difficult to find a split against Glasnow you want to attack, especially with his stellar numbers on the road. Yordan Alvarez ($9,400) is appealing in an opposite hand matchup, but he’s been relatively quiet in the ALDS, averaging just 7.5 DKFP but does have multiple hits in two of those games. Alvarez has a .446 wOBA with a .358 ISO t home against righties. If you ever wanted to buy low on someone, Michael Brantley ($7,600) hasn’t collected a hit in three-straight games and is 0-for-12 in that span. Like Alvarez, however, his numbers at home against righties are fantastic with a .381 wOBA, a .220 ISO and 10 of his 21 home runs on the season. If we’re basing it simply off talent, you can’t ignore Alex Bregman ($9,600) and Jose Altuve ($9,200).


THE OUTCOME

In the end, I think this ends up being a very, very close game, I wouldn’t be surprised if the under in this game hits, which the DraftKings Sportsbook has set at seven runs. With the way Cole has dominated as of late, I’m going to give the Astros the edge in this one. Cole has continuously gone deep into games of late, seeing the seventh inning in six of his last 10 games and four of his last five. While the Rays have the advantage in the bullpen, Cole can help mask that a bit tonight if he can once again go deep.

Final Score: Astros 4, Rays 2


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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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