One of the areas of baseball I’ve been able to find some success with beyond daily fantasy is betting on five-inning lines. Betting on a five-inning line works the same as betting on a full game, except, well, the game ends after five frames.
Basically, a bettor “knows” more about a five-inning game, because far less is left up to bullpens and managerial decisions. While there are obvious exceptions and other elements to consider, a five-inning line is largely a bet on starting pitching. Because we “know” more, the lines generally tend to vary less, but they can be instructive for the purposes of daily fantasy by narrowing in more closely to a starting pitcher’s set-up than a full-game line.
Those lines don’t replace a full-game line or a run-line in terms of value, but they’re worth a comparison.
Here’s a look at how the five-inning lines vary from the game-lines today:
In most cases, the line is simply expanding, suggesting that over a larger sample of innings, the favorite is more likely to win out. In the odd case, however, things work the opposite way, like with HOU-LAA, where narrowing in on the Colin McHugh-Garret Richards match-up actually makes the Angels heavier favorites. These differences are slight but every piece of information helps (and it’s tough to find a new angle in here every day).
The Daily Five
Danny Duffy – $13,723
The Indians are no push-overs but they’re far more dangerous against righties than lefties. I don’t love Duffy by any means, but Sunday’s slate is painfully thin on pitcher values ($20K for Jesse Hahn? Okay, guys). The over-under is just 7.5, suggesting a decent pitching environment and, well, he’s the only name under $14K I’m at all comfortable with, and you can’t blow 60 percent of your budget on arms.
Hiroki Kuroda – $14,688
The Twins are decent against righties and have hit well at home, but we’re talking about HIROK here, at a discount thanks to a ho-hum stretch of starts. Here’s betting on the talent, ground ball profile, peripherals and Target’s home run suppression.
Important Note: Jeff Samardzija is listed as starting against Washington. It may be best to avoid starting him, because I’m unclear on how DraftStreet will handle him since he’s now playing for Oakland and starting against Toronto. Tread carefully, or find something in the rules I couldn’t.
Scott Van Slyke – $7,087
Yes, two days in a row for the Dodgers. They put up 7 on Saturday without a home run, making it a somewhat emptier fantasy day, but we’re going to bet hard on Yohan Flande not being able to slow them, ground ball rate through 10 innings be damned. SVS hits everything in the air and has mashed lefties, so he gets the nod here alone instead of a stack recommendation because the rest of the team is very expensive.
Mariners stack – No, they’re not a particularly dangerous offense, but Hector Noesi isn’t a dangerous arm, surrendering more fly balls than most and struggling against righties and lefties alike. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager are obvious calls if you can afford them, but here are the value plays:
Logan Morrison – $6,557
Michael Saunders – $6,554
Brad Miller – $5,103
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