3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/1/19
Player props can be useful in a variety of ways, from taking advantage of them straight up (to the tune of cold hard cash) to measuring a player's potential to produce in daily fantasy baseball. High odds for a hitter bombing a home run or a pitcher tallying several strikeouts is something worth considering in building your FanDuel lineups. And that's a two-way street.
While you can use those odds in fantasy, you can also utilize our fantasy projections and a variety of other tools to help make money on betting everyday player props.
For the purposes of this article, we are using the odds provided at FanDuel Sportsbook to pinpoint three spots where value can be had on those players likely to go yard and over- or under-perform their expected strikeout total.
Please note that betting lines and our game projections may change throughout the day after this article is published.
J.D. Martinez WILL Hit a Home Run (+250)
By now, you should know that J.D. Martinez can mash baseballs. After all, going back to 2017, the Boston Red Sox slugger is third with 90 home runs, and his .430 wOBA in that span is second to only Mike Trout. Through four games this season, he has a .518 wOBA and two home runs on a 46.7% hard-hit rate and 46.7% fly-ball rate, according to FanGraphs.
Tonight's mound opponent, Oakland righty Aaron Brooks, will be charged with a tall task. Last season, Martinez hit up righties to the tune of .434 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and .315 isolated slugging (ISO), with the ultimate result of 35 home runs in 504 plate appearances.
As for the 28-year-old Brooks, he pitched only 2.2 major league innings last year, and against the 151 right-handed batters he's faced in his career, he's been hit up for a .443 wOBA and 1.47 home runs per 9 (HR/9). Because of that, Martinez and his Red Sox own a nice 4.45-run implied total, ranking fifth of all teams in action today.
Despite hitting in a ballpark that ranked 25th in home run factor for right-handed hitters a year ago, Martinez's implied odds (28.57%) of homering are quite juicy. By our math, he's third among players most likely to go long today, sporting a projection of 0.32 homers -- the highest of today's FanDuel main slate.
David Price UNDER 6.5 Strikeouts (-112)
Back in the day, the over would've been a no-brainer for prime David Price. But at his age and with a number of injuries now in the rearview mirror, Price isn't the same strikeout pitcher he once was, which shows in his strikeout odds for today's game against the A's as he possesses the same odds (a 52.83% probability) to tally seven-plus punchouts as he does to get six or fewer strikeouts.
Price got back to a full workload last year, but as I alluded to, he wasn't as big of a swing-and-miss guy, fanning seven or more batters in just 12 of his 30 appearances while he saw his swinging-strike rate dip from 11.7% in 2017 to 9.6% in 2018. His strikeout rate remained at 24.5%, so he is due for some negative regression in that department.
Also in favor of the under is Price's matchup. Oakland struck out six times in the veteran's lone start against the A's last year, and their active roster is in the middle of the pack in strikeout rate (21.7%) from a year ago. Through a small sample of six games this season, the A's are 19th in swinging-strike rate (10.3%) and 27th in strikeout rate (17.7%), including an 18.4% strikeout rate versus left-handed pitching (in 76 plate appearances).
Price is a favorite to win this one on the road, and he should have a relatively good night. But his strikeout ability is overrated by the oddsmakers. Our models have him projected at 5.54 punchouts, nearly 1.5 shy of a winning total.
Kiké Hernandez WILL Hit a Home Run (+550)
Kiké Hernandez is nowhere near the level of a J.D. Martinez, and the utility player's implied probability (15.38%) is a sizable step down from most other go-to home run candidates tonight. But there are a few factors playing into the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers' slugger, including a head-to-head matchup with lefty Drew Pomeranz.
Last year with the Red Sox, the 30-year-old was a far cry from the pitcher he was in 2016 and 2017. His skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) ballooned to 5.10 as he allowed a 35.2% hard-hit rate and 38.9% fly-ball rate. Even worse, his 52.8% fly-ball rate allowed to righties would've been worst in the league had he qualified based on innings pitched.
Hernandez has become well-known for wreaking havoc against left-handed pitching. For his career, he carries a .360 wOBA and .226 ISO in the split, and those numbers -- .359 wOBA and .237 ISO -- don't change much when limiting our scope to the last two calendar years. Hernandez has hit 19 home runs in 406 plate appearances against lefties in that span, 12 of which have come at Dodger Stadium.
Hernandez is back at home this evening, where he hit 14 of his 21 homers a year ago, with six coming against southpaws. At home versus southpaws in 2018 (110 plate appearances), he produced a .385 wOBA and .232 ISO on a 44.7% fly-ball rate and 40.7% hard-hit rate.
With his Dodgers projected for 4.35 runs, it's safe to assume Hernandez will be a part of the action. He's ninth in projected home runs (0.26), according to our models.