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DFS Baseball 101: TradeSports Stream of Thought

Jerry Donabedian

Donabedian is an Assistant Football Editor at RotoWire. He writes and edits articles and covers breaking news. A Baltimore native, Donabedian roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.

Two weeks ago, we introduced Rotowire subscribers to new sports contests over at, a site that allows users to buy and sell shares in the outcomes of sporting events, with options based on both individual and team performance. Last week, I competed in a contest based on an Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. This week weíre going to shift over to baseball.

The contest Iím choosing is based on Tuesdayís game in the Bronx between the Aís and Yankees, with Scott Kazmir on the hill for the visitors, and Hiroki Kuroda starting for the Bombers. Itís a free, real-time, 25-person contest, but Iím going to play it as if there are payouts, shooting for a spot in the top five. Iíll be writing as I watch and trade, which explains my use of the present tense.

Some Pregame thoughts:

The Vegas over/under for the game is 8.5 runs, but the TradeSports option is Ďmore than 7.5 total runs scored in the gameí. As you might expect, the stock was trading at a price well above 50 before the game, and I was able to secure 85 shares at a price of 59. The wind is blowing out a bit, and the top six of the Aís lineup is pretty vicious. Hiroki Kuroda is a solid pitcher, but this is a tough matchup for him, facing a strong lineup in a hitter-friendly park.

On the other side, while Scott Kazmir faces a softer lineup, the Yankees will only have two right-handed batters. The southpawís splits are relatively favorable for lefties this season, but he had extreme splits last year, and opponents have caught on. Kazmir has faced more than four right-handed hitters for every left-handed batter in 2014, as most opposing mangers have opted to only leave their very best left-handed guys in the lineup. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury are occupying their normal spots for the Yanks, but everyone else is either right-handed or a switch-hitter.

Here are the stock choices for the game:

- Athletics to win
- Athletics to win by 2.5 runs
- Yankees to win by 2.5 runs
- More than 7.5 total runs scored in the game
- Scott Kazmir to give up more than 5.5 hits
- Athletics team to have more than 8.5 hits
- Hiroki Kuroda to have more than 4.5 Ks
- Yankees team to have more than 7.5 hits

Let the trading begin!

Well, I like the Aís to win in a fairly high-scoring game, so Iíll try to align myself with that position before the first pitch. I believe that my biggest mistake in the NBA contest last week was not being active enough, and I thus plan to be plenty active this time around. As mentioned before, the Aís lineup is excellent through the top six batters, then drops off pretty hard for 7-9. My hope is that I can get a bunch of the ĎAís to winí stock, which will hopefully be followed by a run or two in the top of the first. If things play out like I hope, Iím going to move a bunch of the stock at a higher price than I originally bought it for, then re-invest the funds in either Ďmore than 7.5 total runsí, ĎScott Kazmir to give up more than 5.5 hitsí, or ĎYankees team to have more than 7.5 hitsí. Stocks based on the Yankees vs. Kazmir likely wonít be impacted by whatever happens in the top of the first inning.

So, I get my hands on 300 shares of ĎAthletics to winí at an average price of 56. Iím pretty pleased with this, as the Aís have the much better lineup, while the pitchers are fairly even, despite what their respective ERAs say. I also secure 85 shares of Ďmore than 7.5 total runsí at an average price of 59. Again, I like where I stand, and may even want to get my hands on some more shares.

I round things out with 74 shares of ĎYankees to have more than 7.5 hitsí at an average price of 47. Lastly, I sell 150 shares of ĎHiroki Kuroda to have more than 4.5 Kísí at a price of 49 per share. Iím less bullish on the Kuroda one, as the Aís do strikeout quite a bit, despite having an excellent offense.

Iíve invested $33,088 of the $50,000 budget, leaving $16,992 to play with. Iíd like to have left a bit more to work with, but I really liked the ĎAís to winí stock and perhaps went just a bit overboard there.

Naturally, now that Iíve got all this figured out and am ready to playÖRain Delay! Iíll poke around for a bit while waiting it out, but Iím not overly eager to do any more trading before the game. I just want the game to start!

Update: The first pitch is now scheduled for 8:15 ET, an hour and 10 minutes after the originally scheduled time. I guess Iím in for a later night than expected, as I knew the weather was shaky but wasnít planning on a delay.

The game finally starts, and the Aís go down in order in the first, with Kuroda striking out one batter. Not a good start for any of my bets, but Iím not too discouraged, so Iíll hold tight.

The Yankees open the bottom of the first with a pair of singles sandwiched around a Derek Jeter strikeout. The price on ĎYankees over 7.5 hitsí doesnít go up much, so I quickly buy another 75 shares at a price of 50. Annnnnd, a blooper falls in, giving the Yanks three hits in the first four batters, plus a 1-0 lead. I quickly add another 75 shares, albeit at a price of 53 this time. I now have 224 shares of the ĎYankees over 7.5 hitsí at an average price of 50.

Kazmir strands a pair, but with three hits already in the bag, Iím feeling excellent about the stock, without taking too much damage to my ĎAís to winí stock.

Nothing in the top of the second for the Aís, as a weak Yoenis Cespedes single is erased by a Jed Lowrie double-play ball. Kazmir then strikes out the side, bringing his total to five Kís through two innings. Maybe I was wrong about this whole high-scoring game thing?

Still, the Yanks only need five more hits to go over 7.5, and the best price I can get to sell that stock is 52, indicating that itís basically still viewed as a 50/50 proposition. Iíll hold tight and see what happens here in the third.

I take that back. Someone is looking to buy 75 shares of ĎAthletics win by more than 2.5 runsí at a price of 49. I sell them those shares as Alberto Callaspo leads off the third with a groundout. The Aís are already down one and both pitchers look good. I have no idea why anybody would want to buy those shares at that price, so Iím more than happy to sell, even though I already have 300 shares invested in the Aís winning outright. Of course, with a one or two-run Aís victory, both stocks would pay off.

Note: Keep in mind that I never actually owned the shares that I sold. Selling just means that Iím taking the other side, with a potential profit of 49 per share should the Aís fail to win by more than 2.5. For a more detailed explanation of how the trades work, refer to our previous articles or TradeSportsí excellent support section.

Three up, three down for both sides in the third. My pregame predictions couldnít be going much worse, yet Iím actually in dcent shape, as I limited my investment in Ďover 7.5 total runsí due to the lofty price.

Ok, so the Aís go scoreless again in the fourth, and Kuroda has faced the minimum thanks to a pair of double plays. With one run through 3.5 innings, the Ďover 7.5 runsí isnít looking so hot, and I want some more funds to invest elsewhere. I sell 75 of my 85 shares at a price of 48. Iím taking a sizable hit, as I originally purchased the shares at either 58 or 60. Itís perhaps a bit frustrating, but still the right decision, as Iím getting close to 50/50 odds, despite how the game has gone thus far. I wouldnít pay more than 45 for those shares, so selling them at 48 is a relative win.

After a quiet bottom of the fourth for the Yankees, Brandon Moss leads off the top of the fifth with a solo blast for the Aís. On an unrelated note, I notice that someone wants 75 shares of ĎYankees more than 7.5í hits at a price of 56. They have three hits through four innings, all of which came in the first frame. I jump on it, selling for 56 the shares I previously bought at either 50 or 53. Again, this seems to be a case of someone napping, as I bought my shares during that productive first inning, and the Yanks have since been completely quiet.

After another hitless inning for the Yankees, I sell 75 more shares in the same stock, this time at a price of 53, rather than 56. They have three hits through five innings, and none since the first. I donít think theyíll muster five hits over the final three innings, as Kazmir is rolling and the Aís have a strong bullpen. In fact, Iím going to sell my final 74 shares at a price of 50. Itís less than I just got, but I simply donít think the Yankees are going over 7.5 hits. All in all, I no longer have any investment in the stock, and came away at +672. I now have $20,917 that isnít tied up, and Iím eyeballing a few different stocks.

As we seem to be headed for a close, low-scoring game, Iím going to sell shares of ĎAís over 8.5 hitsí. I find three different buyers, and sell a total of 300 shares at an average price of 49. Given that the Aís have two hits through six innings, this isnít exactly a genius play, so much as an obvious one. About two seconds after I complete the trade, Mark Teixeira hits a sixth-inning solo home run. Iím primarily invested in the Aís getting less than 8.5 hits and the Aís winning. Itís an interesting juxtaposition, but I think Iím gonna stick with it until the later innings.

Iím fairly quiet for the rest of the game, as Iím pretty heavily invested in both ĎAthletics to winí and ĎAthletics to have less than 8.5 hitsí. In order to meet my stated goal of a top-five finish, Iíll almost certainly need both to work out.

The Aís tie things up in the top of the eighth, putting me in much better position. The game goes to extra innings, and lo and behold, the Aís break out for three runs in the top of the 10th, while only pushing their hit total to seven. The Yankees canít muster anything in the bottom of the 10th, and I finish in third place out of 25, having gained $20,149 from my original budget of $50,000 for a total of $70,149. First place finishes way ahead of me, gaining $32,626, while second place is just a bit ahead at $21,554.

Looking back on my decisions, while far from flawless, I did a better job of being active, and was heavily invested in two outcomes by the late innings. A close, low-scoring game meant there werenít a ton of big fluctuations in stock prices. The third-place finish was solid, but I suspect there were some non-active competitiors in the contest, due to the lack of an entry fee. I still need work before stepping up to the more expensive games, but I think Iíll look for a $5 contest next time and see how the volume of trading changes.

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. Jerry Donabedian plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: jd0505, DraftKings: jd0505.