Best Bets of the Day: May 18

Can Nathan end his season-long slump?

At this point in the season, I’d like to think of myself more as the Minnesota Twins of betting and not the Detroit Tigers. Both teams stink right now, yes, but at least the Twins have aspirations of turning things around. With my current record of 11-24-1, I plan to turn things around too. Let’s make some bets.


Giants at Reds Money Line


Reds’ starting pitcher Luis Castillo (1-5, 7.71 ERA) has struggled mightily this season. After posting strikeout rates of 30.5% and 28.9%, respectively, over the past two seasons, Castillo’s K rate has dipped down to 16.3% in 2021. With today’s strikeout-centric environment, this is concerning. Although his xFIP of 4.27 isn’t quite as alarming as his ERA, Castillo is not currently close to his normal ace-like self. In a start against the Giants about a month ago, Castillo allowed four earned runs over five innings.

For the Giants, Anthony DeSclafani (3-1, 2.14 ERA) takes the hill. Unlike Castillo, DeSclafani has been elite thus far, perhaps even a bit lucky (his .211 BABIP against won’t last all season). After a subpar 2020 (we don’t have to count it), the 31-year-old right-hander is looking more like his 2019 self, a year in which he produced an fWAR of 2.5. Given that he is facing his former team for the first time since leaving, I believe DeSclafani will bring a little extra energy to the mound tonight. I like the Giants.

Pick: Giants ML (+110, FD)


Pirates at Cardinals O/U 7.5


For the Buccos, JT Brubaker (3-2, 2.58 ERA) will face the Cardinals for the second time this season. In his first outing against St. Louis, Brubaker allowed three earned runs over five innings. I remember watching that game, though. Shaky defense from the Pirates aided in some of those runs scoring. All in all, Brubaker has been a nice surprise for the Pirates this season, and I believe he will continue his success tonight. With Brubaker’s ability to limit runs and the Pirate offense’s knack for not scoring them, I believe we will see an under tonight.

Pick: under 7.5 runs (-112, DK)


Zach Davies O/U 3.5 Strikeouts


For the most part this season, Zach Davies (2-2, 5.60 ERA) has been flat-out bad. That said, he’s been getting his act together lately. Over his last three starts, Davies has allowed just two earned runs over 16.1 innings pitched. No, he has not struck out many batters at all during that span (eight total). He hasn’t struck out many batters pretty much any time ever (17.1% career strikeout rate). Tonight, though, we need him to fan four hitters. He’s done that three times in eight total starts this season. Making matters worse for him, his opponent, the Nationals, do not strike out much at all as a team. Their team strikeout rate of 22.4% is the third-lowest in baseball.

In tonight’s game though, I don’t feel like Davies racking up four measly strikeouts is out of the question. Like I stated at the top, he has been on top of his game lately. If Davies can work deep into this game, he will have opportunities for strikeouts. Specifically, his mound opponent, Patrick Corbin, has struck out six times in 12 at-bats. If Davies can strike him out once or twice, that makes hitting the over that much easier. Honestly, I’m going with my gut on this one, which probably (definitely) isn’t smart. But slam the over!

Pick: Davies over 3.5 strikeouts (+108, DK)


Nathan Hursh Overall Record: (11-24-1)

Net Money (assuming all wagers are $100): –$1,327.17

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Nathan Hursh

Nathan Hursh has been a baseball fan for as long as he can remember. He grew up in Pittsburgh and loves the Pirates. Don't hold that against him though, he has suffered enough because of it. Find Nathan on Twitter and Instagram at Nathan_Hursh.

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