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@FastMoneyLabs’ Best Bet - 4/12

Toronto Blue Jays (3-1) at New York Yankees (2-2)

If you’ve been following $FML since last summer, this pick won’t come as a surprise and might even make you laugh.

That’s because last season, I went on a very public mission to figure out a seemingly unpredictable pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi. It felt like trying to solve a Rubix cube.

At one point, I thought I figured it out…

… Only to learn that I was so right, I was actually wrong…

Then finally, after countless valiant attempts, I finally got it. And it was magical.

As you can tell from the above GIF, the key to solving Yusei Kikuchi lies in his home/road and day/night splits. Looking at them in isolation didn’t solve it, but pairing them together did, as shown below:


I can’t pinpoint why, but the trend has been consistent: Kikuchi struggles in Night games on the Road.

After 3 seasons in Seattle, tonight marks Kikuchi’s first start with his new team (Toronto). This adds some uncertainty to the mix, but I’m willing to bet the trend I found will hold in a tough matchup vs. the New York Yankees (NYY), a team he’s struggled against in the past.

Last year, he faced NYY twice.

  • In game 1 (July 7th, 2021), the Yanks knocked him around for 5 runs on 8 hits in just 5 innings. That game was played in Seattle (i.e., not a road/night game).
  • In game 2 (August 8th, 2021), Kikuchi got redemption, holding the Yankees to just 4 hits in 5 scoreless innings. That game was a road game for him, but importantly, it was played during the day — a situation Kikuchi does well in.

Fast forward to tonight and we get the perfect spot to fade Kikuchi in his worst possible split: a Road Night game.

Kikuchi has yet to pitch in an official game this season, but in 3 Spring Training tune ups, he struggled. He allowed 6 Earned Runs in only 8.33 innings of work and never made it into the 5th inning.

While betting his Earned Runs prop is tempting at the current line (o/u 2.5), I prefer to back the Yankees Team Total in the First 5 Innings. This ensures we could still cash if he gets pulled early, and buys us an opportunity to profit on runs scored with errors, which don’t count as earned runs.

If you’re comfortable double dipping, I also have a strong lean that Kikuchi will finish UNDER 4.5 strikeouts.

  • In 62 past plate appearances vs. the current NYY roster, Kikuchi has a measly 14.5% Strikeout Rate, far below his average.
  • To get 5+ Ks, he would likely need 5+ innings of work, which I see as low probability given his lack of innings in Spring Training.

I didn’t personally bet since Kikuchi’s strikeout numbers were decent in Spring Training, but it was very tempting.

In summary:

  • My bet bet recommendation is to back the Yankees Team Total over 2.5 in the First Five Innings, available at -110 on DraftKings Sportsbook. 
  • If your book doesn’t offer First 5 Team Totals, you could consider taking Yankees to win the First 5 Innings (+110 at Caesars Sportsbook) or Kikuchi Under 4.5 Strikeouts (+100 at Caesars Sportsbook)

$FML Pick

Official Pick: Yankees Team Total o2.5 (First 5 Innings) (-110 via DraftKings)