Welcome to Opening Day 2020! Today’s abbreviated 2-game slate features three of the best pitchers in baseball in Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw. The action starts at 7:08 p.m. ET.



Three pitchers on today’s slate are priced above the $10,000 mark on FanDuel:

  • Gerrit Cole (R) $11,400, NYY @ WSH
  • Max Scherzer (R) $10,700, WSH vs. NYY
  • Clayton Kershaw (L) $10,300, LAD vs. SF

Gerrit Cole brings the highest ceiling of the bunch and is priced accordingly. In 2019, Cole averaged 13.46 K/9 and had double-digit strikeouts in each of his last 10 starts. The projected Nationals lineup only struck out 22% of the time in 2019, but Cole brings an elite repertoire of pitches and typically exceeds league-average in his starts. His 8.24 K prediction is the highest on the slate.

The Yankees’ ace only threw 87 pitches in his final preseason start, so he should be a safe bet for 100 pitches on Opening Day. Even at his elevated salary, he has the highest expect points/salary (4.0) amongst all four starting pitching options and warrants consideration in both cash games and guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).

On the other side of that game, Max Scherzer finds himself in a better spot against a New York Yankees team that struck out 29.9% of the time last season. Scherzer led the NL in 2019 with 12.69 K/9, so the strikeouts should come early and often.

Mad Max did get knocked around a bit in his final spring start, allowing two three-run home runs (seven total runs) in five innings, so there is some risk against a powerful Yankees lineup. Given the Yankees’ propensity to the strikeout, I do think there is upside for him to outperform his 7.26 K prediction.

Clayton Kershaw figures to be the safest play of the bunch, taking on a projected San Francisco Giants lineup that posted a paltry .249 wOBA in 2019. Their 23.8% strikeout rate was relatively low, but Kershaw’s 10.5 K/9 from last season was well above average and should mitigate against that a bit.

His 5.8 K prediction is third lowest of the four starters, but with the Giants projected to score just 3 runs, a quality start and win are very much on the table. Vegas is also expecting a win as the Dodgers are currently sitting as a -284 favorite.


Johnny Cueto registers as the only value of the four starters tonight, but he gets the unenviable task of taking on a high-powered Dodgers offense. Cueto missed the majority of the last two seasons and has found little success when he did step on the mound.

During his four starts last season, he pitched to a 5.71 FIP and gave up 1.69 HR/9 in just 16 innings pitched. He also allowed a 40% hard hit rate, amongst the worst in the majors. Until we see marked improvement on those numbers, he should be avoided from a DFS perspective, even at his bargain price.

Notable Stacks

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. Today’s top five-man on DraftKings (per the Bales Model) belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers:

1. Mookie Betts (R)
2. Max Muncy (L)
3. Justin Turner (R)
4. Cody Bellinger (L)
5. Corey Seager (L)

Total Salary: $23,100

Today’s top four-man stack on FanDuel (per the Bales Model) also features the Los Angeles Dodgers:

1. Mookie Betts (R)
2. Max Muncy (L)
3. Justin Turner (R)
4. Cody Bellinger (L)

Total Salary: $15,700

The Dodgers will be chalky given the starting pitching that the other three teams will have to face. They’re currently implied for 5.2 runs, highest on the slate, and face off against the worst starting pitcher on the card. Despite the high ownership, it would be wise to have some exposure here.

Mookie Betts is the top-rated player in the Bales Model and for good reason. He’s projected to lead off for the Dodgers and had strong numbers against right-handers last season, posting a .397 wOBA and .275 ISO. Justin Turner (.367 wOBA, .278 ISO) and Cody Bellinger (.374 wOBA, .240 ISO) also enter tonight with good 2019 numbers against righties.

Joc Pederson stands out as an elite value if you’re looking to differentiate your Dodgers stack. He’s priced at just $2,800 on FanDuel and was tough on righties last year, posting a .376 wOBA and .294 ISO in 401 at-bats against them.

Other Batters

Aaron Judge stands out as a strong option on DraftKings, where his 94% bargain rating is second amongst all hitters. Scherzer is no easy feat – and we’ll also likely see a few strikeouts from Judge here – but 19 of Judge’s 27 home runs last season came off of right-handed pitching. The Yankees also have the second-highest implied total on the slate (4.1 runs) and he’ll retain his place in the heart of that potent Yankees lineup.

Death, taxes and Wilmer Flores vs. a lefty. Flores brings his elite splits against left-handers to San Francisco, where he’ll put them to the test against ace Clayton Kershaw. In 2019, Flores had a whopping .481 wOBA and .353 ISO against southpaws. He’s also projected to bat second for the Giants and holds just a $2,100 price tag on FanDuel, giving him a 94% bargain rating.