5 best bets for Sunday night baseball


This article was contributed by DraftKings. For more information on sports betting, see DraftKings.com.

Sunday Night Baseball features an interleague game between the Mets and Angels. Both of these teams have had fantastic starts to the season, but both have had a tough time lately. The Mets have struggled through a tough trip to the West Coast, posting a 4-5 record in their first nine games. It’s not an unacceptable number, but it has helped the Braves and Phillies gain a lot of ground in the National League East.

Meanwhile, the Angels recently snapped a long losing streak, which leaves them outside of the current American League playoff picture. They have plenty of time to right the ship, but they’re going to have to start playing better.

Can the Angels take care of business at home – or will the Mets end their road trip at .500? Let’s take a look at some of my favorite Sunday Night Baseball bets on the DraftKings Sportsbook.

Los Angeles Angels ML (-115)

The Angels haven’t been playing particularly well lately. They have lost 15 of their last 17 years and recently decided to part ways with manager Joe Maddon. They went from 10 games above .500 to three games below and they now trail the Astros by eight games in the AL West.

However, the Angels have started to turn things around, winning two of their last three games. They will also have Patrick Sandoval, who has been brilliant this season, on the hill on Sunday. He threw a 2.81 ERA and 2.85 FIP, giving the Angels a solid pitching advantage. Sandoval also benefits from being left-handed. The Mets have been one of the Majors’ best offenses against right-handers this season, but they’ve been a bit mediocre against left-handers. They’re not terrible in this division, but their 106 wRC+ against lefties ranks 15th in baseball.

Meanwhile, the Angels should be able to do some serious damage against Taijuan Walker. He was one of the worst pitchers in baseball, ranking in the fifth percentile in strikeout rate. With that in mind, it’s essential for Walker to limit the damage on balls in play – but he hasn’t been particularly good at that either. He ranks in the 25th percentile or worse in average outbound speed and hard-hit rate and the Angels have plenty of bats that can take advantage of that.

Taijuan Walker under 4.5 strikeouts (-130)

Let’s keep going after Walker. That line seems way too high, with Walker averaging just 4.82 strikeouts per nine innings this season. He’s had four or fewer strikeouts in eight of nine outings, the only exception being a seven-inning start against the Rockies. The Angels are a generous game in terms of strikeouts — they have the third-highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers — but Walker just isn’t good enough to take advantage of that.

Walker’s departure could also be a bit shorter than usual. He’s given the Mets solid length this season, with four of his last six starts lasting at least 5 2/3 innings. However, most of those outings have come in strong matchups. The Angels are very tough, placing eighth in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. If he only lasts about five innings, he’s very unlikely to rack up five or more strikeouts.

Over 0.5 points in the first set (-120)

Betting over 0.5 runs in the first inning is one of my favorite bets to target in baseball. The first inning is almost always the high-scoring inning – and it’s the only inning in which both teams are guaranteed to have the top of their roster.

This game pits two of the best first inning offenses against each other. The Mets have scored in the first inning 37.7% of the time this season — the third-best scoring of the Majors — while the Angels are tied for sixth in that department.

Walker was also the most vulnerable early in games. He has a 4.00 ERA in the first inning and the top of the Angels roster is deadly. Sandoval was better in the first inning (2.00 ERA), but the Mets also have a chance to scratch on a run.

JD Davis records his first hit (+6000)

One of the newer props to consider on DraftKings Sportsbook is who will record the first shot. These accessories are obviously very dependent on queues. Players batting first for the away team will have the highest chance of registering the first hit, followed by players batting first for the home team. As you move up the line, the chances of getting the first hit in the game are slim.

That said, I’m ready to roll the dice with a long shot at Davis. He’s available at 60 to 1 and I would expect him to bat fifth for the Mets against a left-handed pitcher. That gives Davis a chance to hit in the top half of the first inning. The worst-case scenario would be an at-bat in the second inning and there may be no hits in the game at that time.

Davis will have the advantage against Sandoval and he’s always done well against southpaws. He has not been excellent in this segment this season, but he has a 113 wRC+ for his career. He’s also made exceptional contact this season, ranking in the 98th percentile for average exit speed and 100th percentile for hard-hit rate.

I’m happy to have a pinch on Davis to get the first hit at +6000 and the plus over 0.5 hits is extremely attractive at -140.

Brandon Marsh will record his first home run (+2000)

It’s another relatively new prop – and it’s one that favors hitters near the top of the range. Marsh struck first for the Angels on Saturday and could be ahead again on Sunday night. Marsh has displayed quite a bit of pop against right-handers this season, posting an ISO of 0.156 in this split. Overall, he hit five home runs in 128 at-bats. It’s not an elite number at all, but it’s not bad for a potential first hitter.

The Angels also seem much more likely to homer in this contest. Walker has been good at keeping the ball in the ballpark this season — he’s allowed 0.58 homers per nine innings — but his Statcast data suggests hitters can hit the ball if they do it in the air. On the other hand, Sandoval is yet to allow a single homer all season — and the Mets also rank only 22nd ISO against lefties.

Overall, Marsh offers the best combination of talent, matchup, roster spot, and odds. He is the obvious choice in this accessory.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may occasionally play on my personal account in the games I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view of the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the views of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment to create queues. I can also deploy different players and strategies than those I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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