Friday’s slate features 14 games with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. ET.


A pretty obvious place to start for tonight is with Jacob deGrom. We all know that he checks all of the boxes, including hitting some to help himself out.

He is the Bales Model’s favorite play on DraftKings and second favorite play on FanDuel.

The New York Mets are currently -311 Vegas favorites over the Washington Nationals. The Nationals are actually top-10 in the league at avoiding strikeouts, but that does not bring me any caution with locking in deGrom.

deGrom’s strikeout prediction for tonight is still 8.81, which is more than one full strikeout higher than the second most on the slate.

The Mets are facing Erick Fedde, so if there was ever a time to provide an ounce of run support for deGrom, it would be tonight.

On FanDuel, the best play of the night per the Bales Model is Alex Wood.

Wood is an interesting pivot off of the top names. He is making just his second start of the season and it will be his second time facing the Miami Marlins.

This past Sunday, Wood went five innings of no-run baseball against these Marlins, with four strikeouts. The biggest issue that I would have with this play is that he only threw 61 pitches. Routinely, you hear that teams do not like to add more than 15 pitches to each outing as they stretch a guy out – that means probably a max of 80 pitches tonight. It limits Wood’s upside.

The Marlins are in the bottom-third of the league in terms of strikeout percentage and the San Francisco Giants are one of the early surprise teams of the season.

I would definitely avoid Wood in cash games and give him a thought in GPPs.

Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish both rate out pretty well.

These San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers games already feel like the best rivalry in baseball now and are appointment television.

This one feels like a real barn burner, with one of the lowest totals of the evening. The Dodgers have an implied run total of 3.8, while the Padres have an implied run total of 3.3.

Darvish is projected for almost an entire extra strikeout over Kershaw, but I think I would prefer Kershaw to Darvish tonight.

That more has to do with the “safety” of avoiding the Dodgers’ lineup. Like I said, it is probably a low scoring game, but if there were to be a team to put up a big crooked number, I would think it’s the Dodgers rather than the Padres.

The Padres won 3-2 Thursday night, but their offense still has not really found their first gear yet.

Kershaw hits for seven ProTrends tonight, too.

I was a little bit surprised as to how far down Tyler Glasnow‘s name was within the model. Glasnow has become the true ace of the Tampa Bay Rays and has the potential to hit for double-digit strikeouts on any night.

My guess is that the Bales Model has some respect for the Toronto Blue Jays bats. They have not gotten off to the greatest start offensively, as they still await the return of George Springer, but there are some very formidable bats within their lineup.

With the level that Glasnow is playing right now, it has juiced up his salary to the point where it becomes hard to select him here in this match-up. I would not expect the Blue Jays to torch him, but they may not let him have the easiest outing he has had so far.

Trying to find a value play on this slate outside of Wood is easier said than done. The next best option is probably J.A. Happ.

Happ is a known commodity at this point, meaning that it is kind of easy to envision his starts before they ever begin. He is not a high strikeout guy and tends to not last long in games.

Playing him tonight would be much more about the match-up than anything. The Pittsburgh Pirates have played well to start the season, but I would not think that their offense really scares anyone around the league. If they get solid pitching, they can win a game.

Happ as a lefty, forces Bryan Reynolds to his weaker-hitting side, somewhat neutralizes Colin Moran in his worse career split, and may move Adam Frazier to the bottom of the lineup.

It is more of a punt play than anything, maybe he goes five innings, four strikeouts or so, giving up one run and picks up the win?


Notable Stack

The highest projected scoring stack returns to Coors Field:

  • 2. Ryan McMahon (L)
  • 3. Trevor Story (R)
  • 4. Charlie Blackmon (L)
  • 1. Raimel Tapia (L)

This group is projected for 51.0 FanDuel by the Bales Model on $15,300. They face Vince Velazquez in the friendly confines of Coors Field. They have an implied run total of 5.4, which is the highest on the slate. Velazquez is not the greatest starting pitcher to begin with, so they may see the middle relief of the Phillies’ bullpen as well. Blackmon is 6-for-18 off Velazquez lifetime and Story is 4-for-15 with two home runs.

Other Hitters

The Lineup Optimizer likes Gleyber Torres for tonight. He turned in his first strong performance of 2021 last night, with a three-hit, one run, one RBI game. Perhaps that is a sign of better things to come. He faces Logan Allen tonight, who the New York Yankees have never seen before.

Xander Bogaerts is not a bad option for tonight. He faces Yusei Kikuchi, who has pitched better than expected this year, but was generally a train-wreck in 2020. The Boston Red Sox have shown themselves to be a formidable lineup, as only the Cincinnati Reds have scored more runs in the MLB. He is 1-for-3 lifetime off of Kikuchi with a home run.

I really like Matt Olson tonight. He just swatted two bombs in Oakland and gets to head to Camden Yards and face Jorge Lopez with a wind blowing out to right field. Lopez has already given up five home runs this year. It’s a real-plus match-up for him tonight.

Pictured above: Jacob deGrom
Credit: Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images