Welcome to the second edition of Exploring Pro Trends. Yesterday we dove into the Fantasy Labs top Pro Trend, DraftKings Pitchers that are Priced Above $12,000. Today we’ll keep our attention focused on DraftKings pitchers, but dig in on the No. 2 Pro Trend, which involves starting pitchers whose team is -150 or better to win according to Vegas moneylines.
Let’s first begin by taking a quick look around the league to establish the DraftKings average:
Now adjusted for starters that take the hill for a heavy favorite:
My immediate impression is that DraftKings must adjust for pitchers with a high win probability. This means that as an isolated trend, the increased likelihood of the starter winning the game results in a 2.26 point increase in expected points.
But then I think back to The Inside Guide to DraftKings Scoring and a few contradictions are raised:
- Starting pitchers only get a win in 35% of ballgames.
- Wins are only worth four points on DraftKings.
- Wins account for less than 6% of overall DraftKings pitching points.
Of course this trend accounts for favorites that are -150 or better to win, but let’s just focus on the minimum for a second. A -150 line essentially implies a 60% chance to win the game. Let’s assume the moneyline does its job and teams that are -150 favorites win 60% of the time. As a result, the win probability for starters would increase from 35% to 42% – a mere 7% more likely to receive 4 additional points. By itself, this doesn’t warrant the substantial raise that we see in a pitchers expected point total (14.74 to 17.00).
There must be other factors at play here that build a strong correlation between heavy favorites and top DraftKings performances.
The first and most revealing factor is that 85% of -150 or better moneyline favorites appear at home. Home pitchers ordinarily outscore visitors by an average of 1.57, but when starting at home as a -150 or better favorite, they jump to +4.43 points above the league average.
This chart displays the projected run totals that oppose heavy favorites. What it doesn’t show is that when a team has reached -150, 75% of their opponents have been projected for 3.5 runs or less compared to just 28% of the total games across the year of MLB action.
Another very relevant statistic: These heavy favorites have been opposed by sub-.500 clubs in 80% of their games. Our trends indicate that heavy underdog lineups score an average of 0.7 points below the league average.
With all this in mind, let’s have a look at the new trend under the ideal parameters:
Here are the pitchers who have at least 15 appearances as a favorite of -150 or better. This list gives us fantastic insight as to why heavy favorites are so successful – the pitchers listed have accounted for 35% of the games that make up the enhanced trend. If nothing else, this helps us understand why heavily favored pitchers warrant a hefty price tag on DraftKings.