Monkey Knife Fight: MLB Predictions
Monkey Knife Fight: MLB Predictions

This article is part of our DFS MLB series.

Monkey Knife Fight is a prop- and parlay-based daily fantasy sports site that offers participants a unique way of "sweating" their favorite sporting events. Unlike conventional DFS sites, there is no salary cap to be concerned with and no other participants to compete against. Monkey Knife Fight contestants do not select a lineup of players, as is typically the case in traditional DFS contests.

Rather, each Monkey Knife Fight contest is based on real-world athletes from a given slate of games exceeding certain, predetermined statistical benchmarks. In certain contests, the athlete's performance in a certain category must exceed that of another pre-selected athlete in that same game. In others, the athlete is simply competing against a predetermined figure in a certain category (i.e., a specific number of points in an NBA game, a specific number of touchdowns in an NFL game, etc.).

As such, the success of each Monkey Knife Fight contest participant is fully dependent on the accuracy of their predictions, as opposed to their performance against other fellow players. Monkey Knife Fight offers a wide variety of contests for each of the sports it covers (currently NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Soccer, and Golf). Among the most popular are Over/Under and Rapid Fire, which we will cover regularly in this column.

In Over/Under contests, participants win when they correctly predict if a certain number of pre-selected athletes will surpass a specified statistical milestone in that day's game. In Rapid Fire, participants attempt to predict the winner of site-determined head-to-head matchups between athletes in a certain statistical category for that day's game. In Rapid Fire contests, certain athletes that are considered the "underdog" in the statistical matchup may be afforded an extra built-in value boost. That is denoted by a "+" symbol and the specific additional amount – both displayed in green – that the athlete will be awarded above the total they actually accrue in that category during their game.

One additional aspect of contest logistics that's particular to Monkey Knife Fight is payout structure. For each contest, participants select from a wide variety of buy-in amounts, which are revealed once they make their athlete selections for that particular contest. If a participant wins their contest, their payout is based on that buy-in amount and the preset multiplier the contest featured. The latter figure varies depending on the contest difficulty. For example, a Rapid Fire contest requiring only two correct predictions carries a 2.36x multiplier on the buy-in, while one requiring five correct predictions features a 17x multiplier.

MLB Thursday, June 27 - Over/Under and Rapid Fire Predictions 

Over/Under (Goal: Pick two of two correctly to cash 2.65x your buy-in)

Buy-in Amounts: $2-$500

Walker Buehler, Dodgers
- Over/Under 6.5 strikeouts
- The Pick: Over

Buehler induced a swing-fest from the road-challenged Rockies offense his last time out, racking up a career-high 16 whiffs in a memorable complete-game effort last Friday. Still, back-to-back outings against the same team can be tricky for a pitcher, and the challenge only increases when the second matchup occurs in Coors Field. Such is the case for Buehler, when he takes on Nolan Arenado and company in a park in which the home team has racked up an MLB-high .304 average and .371 wOBA against right-handed pitching.

Given the potency of the Rockies' lineup in its home park, I don't see another complete game from Buehler on Thursday. However, I'm not shying away from the 6.5-strikeout prop. Even excluding his outlier performance against Colorado in his last start, Buehler boasts a career-high 11.9 percent swinging strike rate and a 26.9 strikeout rate overall on the road. What's more, he's recorded 47 strikeouts overall in 152 career encounters with current Rockies hitters.

Buehler has been particularly adept at making the most powerful bat in Colorado's lineup look inept, having punched out Arenado eight times over 20 plate appearances. And Buehler has missed his fair share of bats at Coors in his previous five appearances there, totaling 18 strikeouts there over 21 frames. Finally, the Dodgers' ace has at least seven strikeouts in six of his last nine starts, so there's a lot to like about his chances of eclipsing the 6.5 threshold.

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
- Over/Under 1.5 total bases
- The Pick: Over

Having just lauded Buehler, I see Blackmon, as proficient a hitter as there is in the majors, as capable of getting on at least a couple of times Thursday. The veteran outfielder has a solid .292 career average versus Buehler over 27 career plate appearances. That sample includes five singles, two home runs and three walks. Blackmon also owns a .344 average and .437 wOBA against right-handed pitching overall, but he's produced even more eye-popping numbers when facing pitchers who throw with that hand at Coors Field.

Blackmon boasts a .460 average and .618 wOBA against righties in his home park. He also sports an elevated 9.9 percent walk rate versus right-handed pitching there, and an absurd .521 on-base percentage. He will run into a very tough matchup in Buehler, who's mostly stymied left-handed hitters overall; but it's worth noting the Buehler does sport a 2.05 BB/9 against lefty bats on the road, his highest figure in that category against either hand in his home/road splits.

Given Blackmon's video-game-like home numbers against right-handed pitching and solid track record versus Buehler, he should manage to exceed the 1.5 total bases threshold.

Rapid Fire (Pick 2 of 2 correctly to get 2.33x your buy-in)

Buy-in Amounts: $2-$100

Total Bases

Mike Trout vs. Shohei Ohtani (+0.5)
- The Pick: Ohtani (+0.5)

On Thursday night the Athletics will roll out Tanner Anderson, a right-handed rookie who has impressively held his own thus far at the big-league level but has nevertheless had some struggles against left-handed bats. Anderson has allowed a .300 average and .377 wOBA to lefty bats over a 33-hitter sample, including three extra-base hits (one double, two home runs). In turn, Anderson has been much more effective versus right-handed hitters, limiting them to a .138 average and .139 wOBA thus far (30-batter sample).

Despite Trout's vast talent, I therefore lean toward Ohtani in this matchup, especially given the latter also carries a built-in 0.5 advantage. Ohtani owns a .357 average and .435 wOBA against right-handed pitching at home, along with an 8.3 percent walk rate. The slugger has six extra-base hits (out of 15 overall) against righty arms – two doubles and four home runs.

Finally, when Anderson exits, Ohtani also remains in a good matchup on paper. The Athletics' bullpen has yielded a .342 on-base percentage on the road over the last month, including a .340 figure to left-handed hitters.

Runs + RBI

Khris Davis vs. Matt Chapman (+0.5)
- The Pick: Chapman (+0.5)

The head-to-head matchup between A's sluggers is an intriguing one, but Chapman's built-in 0.5 advantage tilts things in his favor. Chapman has several statistical edges over his contact-challenged teammate, even without the extra half-point already in his favor. The third baseman has Davis beat in batting average (.269 to .251), on-base percentage (.353 to .311), walk rate (10.6 percent to 7.3 percent), contact rate (78.7 percent to 70.9 percent) and strikeout rate (18.7 percent to 26.7 percent) overall. And, with Davis having missed some time due to injury this season, Chapman is also outpacing him in home runs (19 to 16), runs (53 to 35) and RBI (44 to 43).

Additionally, Chapman has a better track record against right-handed pitchers, and the Athletics will face one Thursday in the form of Griffin Canning. Chapman sports a .283 average, .364 on-base percentage and .372 wOBA versus righty arms. That includes 29 extra-base hits (15 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs). In turn, Davis owns a .238 average, .299 OBP and middling .301 wOBA against right-handed pitching, along with a bloated 27.4 percent strikeout rate that bumps up to 31.8 percent when facing that handedness on the road.

Both hitters have a nice matchup against Canning, who has yielded a .288 average and .348 wOBA to the 56 right-handed bats he's faced at home, but Chapman's markedly better track record versus right-handed pitching implies he's in better position to take advantage.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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