5 best bets for Sunday Night Baseball

This article was contributed by DraftKings. For more information on sports betting go to DraftKings.com.

Sunday Night Baseball features an American League East showdown between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Both teams are locked in a bitter battle in the AL East and the AL Wild Card.

The Orioles got off to a rocky start this season, but they turned things around after calling up top prospect Adleyrutschman. They have since gone 46-33, which has put them to five games over .500 for the season. They’re currently 2 1/2 games away from the last wild card spot going into Sunday, which gives their fanbase ample cause for excitement.

Unfortunately, the Red Sox have gone in the opposite direction. They hit 11 games above .500 on June 26, but they’ve been struggling ever since. They’re down to bottom in the AL East and are 2 1/2 games behind the Orioles overall.

Can the Orioles keep things going at Sunday Night Baseball? Let’s dive into five of my favorite bets at DraftKings Sportsbook.

There’s not much to separate these two teams on paper. Offensively, the Orioles are 15th against righties in wRC+, while the Red Sox are 18th. Orioles starter Dean Kremer has a 4.58 xERA while Nick Pivetta is at 4.39. The Orioles average 4.29 runs per game and the Red Sox average 4.50.

However, this performance was incredibly deceptive. Kremer actually posted his third-best K/9 of the year, but the Red Sox managed a .375 BABIP. Overall, his 1.53 FIP on that outing suggests he was terribly unlucky.

Aside from that random performance, Kremer has been pretty good lately. He limited a top-flight Blue Jays roster to just two earned runs in seven innings and he kept the Pirates off the scoreboard for 6 1/3 innings. Add it all up and his second half FIP is actually better than his first half grade.

With that in mind, I don’t think there’s any reason for the Orioles to be underdogs at this point. They were the better team offensively and could also be in front on the hill.

Even though I hyped Kremer, I still think Sunday’s under on 4.5 strikeouts has some value. Kremer is far from a strikeout pitcher, averaging just 7.04 strikeouts per nine innings. It ranks in the 23rd percentile for strikeout rate and 45th percentile for breath rate, so it just doesn’t generate a lot of misses.

That makes this matchup against the Red Sox a bad one for him. They were one of the tougher teams this season, ranking 20th in strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers. They’ve been even better lately, falling to 23rd in that division over the last 14 days.

Kremer caught six strikeouts in his last meeting against the Red Sox, but he had to hit strikeouts due to poor batter luck. A few more balls should find gloves this time, so I don’t expect a repeat.

The first inning is almost always the highest scoring inning in the league. The Washington Post noted that from 1871 to 2016, a run was scored in the first inning in more than 30 percent of games. No other inning comes close to breaking that mark. It’s the only inning where both teams are guaranteed to bring the top of the lineup to the plate, and it often takes a pitcher an inning or two to settle into the game.

Additionally, these two pitchers struggled in the first inning this year. Pivetta has a 5.25 ERA in the first inning while Kremer is at 4.85.

Mullins had a breakthrough year in 2021 when he scored a 136 wRC+ while also becoming the newest member of the 30/30 club. Unfortunately, in 2022, he’s taken a step backwards. His 108 wRC+ still makes him a slightly above average hitter, but his power has dropped dramatically. He’s down to 11 home runs and his ISO has dropped from .228 to .143.

However, this appears to be a strong buy-low spot. Mullins’ numbers are considerably better against right-handed pitchers, with eight of his 11 home runs coming in this split. He’s also been a lot better since the All-Star break, posting a 141 wRC+ and a .204 ISO over 106 plate appearances.

Pivetta is also very vulnerable with the long ball, especially against left-handed batsmen. He’s allowed 1.49 home runs per nine innings against lefties this season.

He will be on the positive side of his breakups against Kremer, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a good thing. Kremer has been extremely tough on left-handed hitters this season, limiting them to a .282 wOBA. He relies on his fastball in these matchups, and left-handed hitters have only averaged a .190 expected batting average against this field.

Given McGuire’s struggles in court, I have no problem betting that he will be unsuccessful in this matchup.

I’m a promoter at DraftKings and also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and sometimes play on my personal account in the games I give advice on. Although I have given my personal opinion on the games and strategies above, they are do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All clients should use their own skill and judgment in building constellations. I can also use other players and strategies than those I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to non-public information.

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