Latest posts by Mario Mergola (see all)
- NFL Picks: 2018 Divisional Round Picks Against the Point Spread - Jan 12, 2019
- NFL Picks: 2018 Wild Card Picks Against the Point Spread - Jan 4, 2019
- Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Point Spread - Dec 28, 2018
I’m stepping back up to the plate as a pinch hitter for Colin today – flu-like symptoms (kidding, but he actually is sick) – to see if we can’t put together some winning DFS lineups. As always, I’ll be basing my decisions off my pitcher breakdown spreadsheet, which has been on an absolute tear since its final tweak at the end of June – 58.1% accuracy with over/under picks. That’s five weeks of winning picks, where there was even a stretch where we went 16-4 recently. Suffice it to say, the spreadsheet has been producing. So let’s carry it over to some DFS plays.
Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants – I’ll be honest, I don’t always love that my spreadsheet is infatuated with Ty Blach, but I get it. His games tend to be on the lower-scoring side of the scale since he is not necessarily a poor pitcher – 4.21 ERA as a starter – and his own team’s offense rarely scores – San Francisco ranks second-worst in runs-per-game. This bodes well for Jose Quintana, throwing in a pitcher’s ballpark. In fact, he might be one of the more popular – and expensive – plays of the day, but he is worth the investment. The contrarian in my would use Blach as well in a tournament – probably in late-only slates – but Quintana has the clear edge, especially as the Cubs appear to be getting hotter by the day.
Targets: Jose Quintana, then Ty Blach
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves – I had originally been poised to stack hitters from Atlanta against the ‘to be determined’ pitcher from Philadelphia – I did keep one in my list of undervalued plays – but I can still buy heavily into one side of the matchup. That is, Julio Teheran has been one of the most consistently underrated pitchers in the league for a few years, and Tuesday’s schedule brings more of the same. With Sale and Kluber on the mound – I actually removed Kluber from my list of low-scoring plays and might go against him and Marquez in my picks – Teheran is easy to forget. Don’t make the same mistake. Philadelphia scores the third-fewest runs-per-game.
Target: Julio Teheran
Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox – Simply by looking at name value, alone, it would make sense that a game started by Dallas Keuchel should be in the low-scoring category, regardless of his opponent. But, wouldn’t it also make sense for the over/under run total to remain low? After all, Chris Sale – one of the best in the game – is pitching against someone making his fourth career start and with a lifetime ERA – granted, in a small sample size – of 5.65. The over/under run total for Sale and Pruitt is a combined 2.5 points lower than that of Keuchel and Derek Holland. I constantly preach that run totals are not to be used for direct calculation – such as the fallacy of ‘implied runs’ – but have immense value as a comparison tool. This is the perfect example. Stack hitters from Houston, but go heavy with Chicago’s bats in a contrarian play.
Targets: Astros hitters and White Sox hitters
San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds – I will not necessarily go all-in on two teams that combined for two touchdowns the night before, but I will lean a little more heavily on the one that had to suffer through the bludgeoning. This is especially valuable when said team – San Diego – typically plays its home games in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, but gets to slide over to a hitter-friendly atmosphere for a series. The Padres’ offense will pop at one point, this week, and Tuesday offers the perfect opportunity for a rebound.
Targets: Padres hitters
Brandon Phillips – Earlier in the day, the Phillies had not even announced a starting pitcher for Tuesday night’s matchup. This does not exactly strike fear into the collective hearts of the Atlanta Braves. Looking for an inexpensive option, if Brandon Phillips is batting in front of Freddie Freeman again, he’s my guy. A combined 1-for-8 over his last few games, Phillips is looking to ‘correct’ back toward his mean.
Jose Bautista – Indeed, Bautista is batting just .215 on the season, but he is facing a left-handed pitcher at home in a somewhat critical – if Toronto is even alive – series. The potential for his price makes Bautista a great play on Tuesday.
Didi Gregorius – Apparently, I’m expecting a high-scoring affair in Toronto on Tuesday, whether-or-not my spreadsheet agrees. Regardless, Gregorius is a forgotten man at a suddenly-loaded shortstop position, but his best value comes in the form of misunderstood matchups. Because he is a left-handed batter, there is an expectation that he can’t hit southpaws. This is false. He is batting .279 against left-handed pitchers, this season, which is more-than-acceptable for his low price point.
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Photo Credit: Keith Allison/Flickr C.C. 2.0