Parlay Day turned out not to be my friend, as the Blue Jays’ offense never got going and the Braves couldn’t stop San Diego’s bats from coming to life. However, a couple rational plays did come out of the wreckage of Thursday in the Marlins and Tigers, and I’m going to use the lessons from those outings to try to make a winning bet here. Here are my top plays for April 15.
TARIK SKUBAL U4.5 STRIKEOUTS, -145
I played Casey Mize’s strikeouts under 3.5 yesterday for a cash, and while Tigers fans were melting down about his performance, there was a lesson in there: Kansas City is doing an excellent job at putting balls in play. The Royals are hitting just .206, so they’re also doing a good job of making outs via contact, and that’s a good thing with an under strikeout bet. Skubal will likely have about 15 outs to work with, and Kansas City hasn’t struck out more than four times against anyone yet this year. If the Royals can hit him enough that he only goes five innings or less, this bet should cash.
MITCH KELLER O4.5 STRIKEOUTS, +135
On the other side of the ledger, Mitch Keller should be ready to record some punchouts. He fanned four against St. Louis, which is one of the best teams in baseball at putting balls in play. Washington, on the other hand, has more strikeouts than anyone in baseball. As long as Keller doesn’t get knocked out of the game early, he stands a very reasonable chance of hitting this number. A play I really like here: Keller to get to five K’s and Pittsburgh to win at +270.
GIANTS-GUARDIANS U4 F5, -125
I’m not buying the idea that Cleveland’s offense has come to life just because the Guardians mashed the Royals and Reds’ bullpens. Carlos Rodon pitched well against Cleveland when he was with the White Sox, and I think that continues here. Zach Plesac also turned in a great start in his first appearance of the year, so I’m expecting a low-scoring first half of this game.
BRAVES TTU 3.5, +110
After the first week of the season, a few writers were claiming the Braves didn’t miss Freddie Freeman because they’d scored 34 runs in their first seven games. Turned out that was fool’s gold, as Atlanta bunched 16 of those runs into one game against Washington and averaged a mere three runs a game in their other six — and that’s with one of those six being a seven-run outburst against the Reds. Until Ronald Acuna Jr. returns, yeah, the Braves are going to miss Freeman and will struggle to put more than three runs on the board most nights.
HAWKS O17.5 FREE THROWS MADE, -120
Cleveland is fouling a ton right now, averaging 25 opposing free throw attempts in its past three games. In a win-or-go home situation, fouls are likely to increase over the typical game, and Atlanta tends to cash in pretty nicely from the free throw line. The Hawks shoot 81.2 percent from the stripe, so anything over 22 free throw attempts would be expected to result in a cash. I think Atlanta gets there.