MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/12/19
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 (+230)
On most nights, you don't need any more incentive to bet on a J.D. Martinez homer. The Boston Red Sox slugger has three dingers through 12 games this season, bringing his total to 91 going back to the beginning of 2017. That's second to only Khris Davis and Giancarlo Stanton, but his .331 isolated slugging (ISO) is tops among all hitters in that span of time.
Tonight, Martinez and company take on Baltimore right-hander David Hess, who is starting just his first full season in the Majors after appearing in 21 games a year ago. The 25-year-old struggled in his time at the big league level, pitching to a 5.08 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and allowing 1.92 home runs per 9 innings (HR/9). Righties managed a .347 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and .462 slugging percentage on an OK 29.8% hard-hit rate but a very concerning 47.8% fly-ball rate.
That won't play well against a guy like Martinez, who has had no problem facing pitchers stepping off either side of the rubber. In 2018, he hit 35 of his 43 long-balls off of right-handed hurlers, doing so on a .315 ISO, 45.2% hard-hit rate and 33.3% fly-ball rate. At Fenway, his ISO jumped to .350 in that split.
At 0.44 projected homers, Martinez owns by far the highest probability on the slate. He does have the shortest odds of leaving the yard, but his projection is well ahead of Aaron Judge, who isn't far behind at +250 at FanDuel Sportsbook. If there's such a thing as getting value on a J.D. bomb, this is a prime spot for it.
Andrew Benintendi WILL Hit a Home Run (+480)
On a night like tonight, why go elsewhere? After all, the Bo Sox' offense draws a slate-high 6.00 implied total at home, and we have Hess projected to give up the most home runs (1.09) of any pitcher on the slate. And there's no telling what the Orioles' bullpen could give up if and when he's bounced from the game.
We've already touches on Hess' poor overall numbers and those against right-handed hitters, but lefties have caused the youngster even more problems early in his career. Collectively, they have 15 home runs with a .493 slugging percentage and 2.38 HR/9, but the batted-ball stats are even more encouraging for opposing bats. Hess has allowed a 33.5% hard-hit rate and 46.2% fly-ball rate, which have amounted to a 17.6% home-run-to-fly-ball rate (HR/FB) -- 2.8% higher than his strikeout rate in the split.
Andrew Benintendi is off to a slow start and has yet to go yard this year, but he has proven himself a dangerous hitter, particularly against right-handed pitching. For his rather young career, 33 of his 38 home runs have come off righties, while his .183 ISO is nearly double the mark he's put up against lefties (.093). Benintendi turned in a 33.4% hard-hit rate and a 38.3% fly-ball rate that has played -- and should play -- well versus Hess.
In a very limited sample, Benintendi has had Hess' number, going 2-for-5 with two homers and a walk in five at-bats against him. Given that history, the matchup and the venue, Benintendi is a great bet at his odds. We have him projected for 0.22 homers on the night.
Lucas Giolito Under 4.5 Strikeouts (+100)
The New York Yankees have become known as a strikeout-or-hit-it-out type of offense, behind the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. Last year, they finished in a tie for the 11th-highest strikeout rate (22.7%) as a team, and they've seen that rise to 23.8% through a dozen games in 2019. However, they are just 15th in the league in that category, while they stand 23rd with a 21.0% rate against right-handed pitching.
That doesn't do much for Lucas Giolito and his already fleeting hopes of reaching the five-strikeout threshold tonight. The 24-year-old righty has not had much success since being a highly touted prospect in the Washington Nationals' system a few years back. He hasn't posted a SIERA lower than 4.49 in any of his three previous seasons, and his 3.89 mark has come in just two starts (11 innings).
Giolito's 11.7% swinging-strike rate and 26.7% strikeout would both be career highs if the season were to end today, but 8 of his 12 strikeouts came in his first start against the Kansas City Royals. Against a much better offense team, the Seattle Mariners, he struck out just four. Going back to last year, he has struck out five-plus in only 13 of his 34 starts (38.2%) with a 17.1% strikeout rate and 6.9 Ks per 9.
Giolito is among the lowest in projected strikeouts tonight at 3.48. Needing five to hit the over at -125 odds, that gives you a comfortable amount of room to reap the rewards that come with ignoring small-sample noise and returning $100 for every $100 laid on the under.