Best Bets of the Day – May 16th

Andrew Gould highlights his favorite bets for Sunday's games.

Diminished offense has been the story of the 2021 MLB season thus far. Perhaps a few games on Sunday’s docket can offer a reprieve.

From the three games highlighted below, three scheduled starters have enjoyed sterling success while the other trio has faltered. Regardless of their recent form, these aren’t hard-throwing aces demanding our respect. They’re beatable enough to eye modest over/under run lines.

Since the Coors Field contest has a mountain-high line of 11.5 runs, let’s instead pick a winner to finish the weekend strong. Then let’s throw in one player prop from a strikeout artist looking to stay hot this afternoon.



Cubs at Tigers: O/U 7.5 or 8 Runs

I initially planned to endorse the over, which opened at eight runs for -102 on FanDuel. After all, the Tigers represent the perfect bounce-back spot for a struggling Kyle Hendricks. On the other end, Matthew Boyd will bring his 1.96 ERA to the mound against a boom-or-bust Cubs offense.

That line has dipped to 7.5 runs but remains at eight on DraftKings. Although this indicates more betting interest on the under, the oddsmakers originally had the right idea.

Hendricks has endured a brutal start of 2021, submitting a 6.23 ERA and 6.63 FIP. Opposing hitters are collectively slashing .320/.372/.587 with 11 home runs and a .410 wOBA. Making matters worse, his volatility has been wholly unpredictable. After getting shelled by the Braves, Hendricks appeared to right the ship with a gem against the Dodgers, only to surrender six runs against the light-hitting Pirates. We can’t take a bounce-back for granted in an advantageous matchup. That’s especially the case with Detroit’s offense coming to life with 59 runs in its last 10 games. The Tigers, looking to deliver an encore on Saturday’s 9-8 triumph in extra innings, offered at least four runs in eight of those contests.

Six of their starters batted left-handed yesterday. Lefties have a 1.318 OPS against Hendricks, who has already served up more barrels this season (14) than last (11).

As for Boyd, how long can he sustain that sparkling ERA with a regressed 17.9% strikeout rate? It’s the worst mark since his rookie campaign and is accompanied by his highest contact rate (79.9%) allowed since 2016. Home runs have plagued the southpaw throughout his career, but he’s given up just one long ball. That’s not a result of a fly-ball dip either; his 1.9% HR/FB rate is far lower than a career 13.6% tally that had never dipped below 10.5.

Hendricks and Boyd are certainly capable of igniting a pitchers’ duel, but there’s a considerable downside in this matchup as well. Throw in shaky bullpens — particularly Detroit’s — and the over is the better play. It may be wise to take the lower line for a smaller payout on FanDuel.

Pick: Over (-115 for 7.5 Runs on FanDuel, -106 for 8 Runs on DraftKings)


Reds vs. Rockies: Moneyline

Jeff Hoffman finally escaped Coors Field, but now he has to go back to the home venue that haunted him for years. From 2016 to 2020, the righty got rocked to a 7.58 ERA and .394 wOBA in 130.2 innings at the unforgiving park. While he’s posted a more passable 4.70 ERA for the Reds, the righty has just 21 strikeouts to 15 walks in six starts since a promising season debut. Statcast credits him with a woeful 5.87 xERA, so nothing suggests Hoffman is a new man ready to conquer his old demons.

On the hook for a 5.97 ERA, Antonio Senzatela is hardly a formidable adversary. He has, however, proven capable of combatting Coors Field at times. In fact, the righty has a lower ERA at home (4.97) than on the road (5.19). He’ll also face a tougher lineup, as Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker continue to swing scorching bats for the Reds. They’re nevertheless 18-19 with a plus-one run differential after dropping two of three at Colorado. The last-place Rockies are an abysmal 2-14 on the road, but a decent 13-11 at Coors. The Reds, on the other hand, are 8-12 on the road. At even odds, Colorado is a decent bet to seal the series (sweep?).

Pick: Rockies (+100 on FanDuel, -103 on DraftKings)


Dylan Cease Strikeouts: O/U 5.5

This is a low line available for -102 at FanDuel. Cease has cleared it in five of seven starts this season, averaging 6.7 punchouts per turn with 27 in his past three. While missing bats were far from the 25-year-old righty’s biggest concern, it’s certainly encouraging after he posted a 17.3% K rate last season. Cease has upped his swinging-strike rate to 14.2% with help from a more effective slider. Perhaps most important to winning this prop, he has gone at least five innings in his last three starts after failing to do so in any of his first four appearances. However, he still tallied six strikeouts in 4.2 innings against the Royals on April 11. Control and command remain pressing concerns for Cease’s long-term viability, but he will accumulate strikeouts in the process.

Pick: Over (-102 on FanDuel)


Cardinals at Padres: O/U 7

The oddsmakers are buying hot starts from Kwang Hyun Kim and Ryan Weathers. Although not a marquee pitching showdown at first glance, they’re guiding this Sunday Night Baseball bout to a low line matched only by Sunday’s matchup between Atlanta’s Huascar Ynoa and Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta.

After relinquishing one run in each of his last four starts, Kim carries a 2.74 ERA backed by a 2.37 FIP. He’s already matched last year’s 24 strikeouts in 16 fewer innings (23) while issuing just five walks. His career ERA is now a stellar 2.03 ERA, and the 32-year-old will face a short-handed Padres lineup without Fernando Tatís Jr., Wil Myers, and Eric Hosmer. This line is starting to make more sense, but there’s value in the over anyway.

Those absences haven’t hindered the Friars too much this series; they’ve plated 18 runs in two victories. They still have Manny Machado, Trent Grisham, and Tommy Pham — who hit his first homer of the season Saturday night — to combat the left-handed Kim, who has yet to complete six innings despite his dominance this season. The Cardinals got six combined innings from Johan Oviedo and Adam Wainwright, so they’re going to need some outs from an over-extended bullpen.

Weathers has improbably surrendered just nine hits and two runs in 22.1 innings. Looking at a .125 opposing batting average, you’d think he’s carving up hitters a la Jacob deGrom or Corbin Burnes. Not quite. He’s mustered a mediocre 7.8% swinging-strike rate and 42.3% hard-hit rate in eight outings. The rookie’s .157 BABIP and 96.2% strand rate are going to regress fairly significantly. Even if it doesn’t happen Sunday night, the Cardinals may only need to worry about Weathers for three or four innings.

Bettors not feeling the over should instead turn to the Red Birds’ moneyline (+114 on DraftKings).

Pick: Over (-105 on FanDuel, -112 on DraftKings)


Andrew Gould Overall Record: 10-10

Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): $51.52

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Andrew Gould

Andrew is Pitcher List's DFS Manager who also covers MLB and NFL for FantasyPros and Bleacher Report. He placed second in FantasyPros' MLB accuracy ratings in 2016 and fifth in 2018.

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