From DFS to DraftKings Sportsbook in New Jersey: Friday, August 24th

The DraftKings Sportsbook is now a very real and completely legal entity in New Jersey. As originally laid out in the intial article, the purpose of this piece is to decipher which daily fantasy skills translate well to sports betting. This journey will also be about acquiring additional skills necessary to success in a sports betting endeavor.

Please note that I do not profess to be good at this. Follow along at your own peril.

Today’s Plays (Favorites to win per unit – i.e. 1.5 units to win 1 if -150, dogs risking per unit)

Check back later once lineups start to roll out for updates.

Orioles F5 +135 1 unit to win 1.35
D’Backs 4.5 Over (-107) 1.06 units to win 2.06
Rays +123 1 unit to win 2.23
Cardinals -108 1.08 units to win 2.08
Pirates +118 1 unit to win 1.18
Angels +130 1 unit to win 2.3

7:30 ET Update

Final update. A quick not to mention the Cardinals have spiked to -129. Glad I got it in when I did. One west coast play. Mike Trout is back tonight. George Springer is still out. The Astros still have the better lineup and the far better bullpen, but starting pitching might be close to a wash. While I do believe Houston should be the favorite here, the price seems maybe a bit too high.

Angels +130 1 unit to win 2.3

6:45 ET Update

I’ve been wrestling with this one for a while now. Wade Miley has been a fine contact manager this year, but doesn’t miss any bats against a team that doesn’t really strike out. Joe Musgrove is the superior pitcher by a decent margin by any advanced metric you choose. Both bullpens have been sub-standard recently.

One more update. Looking at one or two west coast games.

Pirates +118 1 unit to win 1.18

5:45 ET Update

It’s basically a bullpen game for both the Red Sox and Rays. Pitching seems to be a wash. The Red Sox hold a significant lineup advantage, but really only the top half and the Rays can control matchups. They’ve been hot and are playing at home. The betting seems to favor Boston, but the line has decreased since open.

The Cardinals boast the far better pitcher here and maybe even the better lineup. Antonio Senzatela is displaying a small reverse split, which actually may work against him against a predominantly right-handed lineup. Bullpens have a similar FIP just above four over the last month, though the Rockies have double the K-BB% the St Louis pen has. Regardless, I’m not sure that closes the gap enough.

Rays +123 1 unit to win 2.23
Cardinals -108 1.08 units to win 2.08

May have two more updates with or without additional plays. One before early lock and one for the late games.

4.45 ET Update

Erasmo Ramirez has allowed a 91.3 mph aEV and 13.6% Barrels/BBE in his four starts (19.2 IP) at the big league level this year. The Seattle bullpen has the third worst FIP in the majors (5.03 with just a 9.2 K-BB%) over the last month. The Diamondbacks have a strong top half of the lineup and should score some runs tonight.

D’Backs 4.5 Over (-107) 1.06 units to win 2.06

4:15 ET Update

See that ramble below about avoiding first five inning bets? Let’s scratch that for now because I think I’ve found my spot. C.C. Sabathia is fresh off the DL with a knee issue. If he goes down early, it won’t be one of the Yankees’ three remaining closers replacing him. Alex Cobb has been pitching much better of late and this Yankees’ lineup has Neil Walker batting fifth. He kept the bullpen entirely sidelined last time out, but I don’t expect him to do so again. I want absolutely no part of a Orioles vs Yankees bullpen battle, but I’ll sacrifice the $30 and take Baltimore +135 with a possible push in the case of a tie.

Orioles F5 +135 1 unit to win 1.35

Yesterday’s recap:

Phillies +143 1 unit to win 2.43 W +1.43
Giants/Mets 6.5 Under (-105) 1.04 units to win 2.04 W +1
Tigers -136 1.35 units to win 2.35 W+ 1

Marlins +165 1 unit to win 2.65 L -1
Reds +180 1 unit to win 2.8 L -1

Day Total 3-2 +1.43
Grand Total 16-19-1 -1.31 units
Sides 7-9 +1.71 units
Totals 10-10-1 -1.66 units
Parlays 1-2 -1.39 units

Ironically, the only dog to win on the night slate was the only game where the favorite’s line increased from open. We had to big losers, but had already locked in a profit for the day with a 3-0 scoop of the early slate.

I’ve been wondering if the “cash out” option was ever a plus EV decision and believe I’ve even mentioned that thought here already. A weather situation that causes a delay or an injury are possibilities that easily come to mind, but the one I’ve already found myself in a few times is when a starter exits earlier than expected and a bad bullpen has to use it’s weaker parts.

In particular this has been a factor for me in a couple of Jacob deGrom starts. On Thursday, I had Under 6.5 runs, fully expecting deGrom to pitch at least seven innings because that’s what he does. He ran up his pitch count and exited after six and with the Mets trailing, it was the unproven rookie arms Mickey Callaway trotted out instead of Lugo or Gsellman and I was left wondering if it was time to cash out.

While a cash out would have immediately booked a profit, but one smaller than winning the original bet, another option exists in live betting where I could attempt to catch a middle. Because there were only two runs in the game at that point, the Total was then 4.5 and I believe the line cost was an even 100 on that. Being the greedy SOB that I am, why should I book the small profit when I could win twice as much if it landed on five or six runs, while risking virtually nothing?

In the end, I decided to just let it go because I’d already won my first play and was looking good on my second of three for the afternoon. Unrelated results are not the right reason to make that decision, but there were still four runs to play with and it eventually worked out (3-1 final).

When does the cash out option have a positive expectation? Hardly ever or the sites wouldn’t offer it, right? But maybe whenever an event occurs that drastically changes the matchup, which include all of the things mentioned earlier (weather, injury, earlier than expected pitcher exit) and maybe a few others yet undiscovered.

Alternatively, some people like to play the first five innings to avoid the bullpen altogether. There are two reasons I find the whole game superior. First, the payouts are better for full game than first five and a buyout or hedge is always an option if it seems like the bullpen is going to negatively affect a game with a lead. Second, it gives you longer to come behind if losing. Maybe there are instances where not even having to consider bullpens is optimal (when a terrible bullpen with a good starter is facing a top pen) but considering what you’re sacrificing in price, I’d usually rather play the whole game and then go from there.

About the Author

  • Matt Trollo (MTro86)

  • Matt has written for ReupSports in the past where he developed his unique pitching charts. He probably watches and reads more about baseball than any normal human being would find enjoyable, accumulating an incredible wealth of mostly useless knowledge, while he patiently waits for his jedi powers to manifest. In addition to writing the Advanced Pitching Charts column for RotoGrinders, MTro86 also heads up the premium MLB News Alerts during baseball season.


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