3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/18/19
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.
Aaron Judge WILL Hit a Home Run (+250)
Even after yesterday's disappointment (an 0-for-4, two-strikeout performance), we're going to trust Aaron Judge once again, and at the same odds. But getting him at the same odds is quite a steal considering the opposition. As the New York Yankees remain home, the Kansas City Royals will send a very exploitable Homer Bailey to the bump.
At first glance, it looks like the veteran pitcher has made some improvements, posting a 3.53 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and a 30.4% strikeout rate through three starts with his new team. However, his ERA -- though in a small sample -- is above 5.00 for the fifth straight year, and it isn't without merit. Not only does his 11.5% swinging-strike rate suggest some negative regression with his strikeout rate, but he's been hit hard 42.9% of the time and carries a fly-ball rate (39.0%) six percentage-points higher than last year's number.
As a result of his poor pitching, Bailey is allowing 1.59 home runs per nine innings (HR/9) and has surrendered at least 1.00 per nine going back to 2017. For his career, the 32-year-old has been hit up for 1.12 HR/9 against hitters coming at him from the right side.
An elite right-handed slugger like Judge can certainly take advantage of those metrics. Judge is off to somewhat of a slow start, with just four home runs through 17 games, but going back to 2017, he has an isolated slugging (ISO) of .297 overall -- and that's up to .309 against right-handed pitching. That's come on a 46.1% hard-hit rate and 37.9% fly-ball rate.
At 0.45 projected home runs, per our projections, Judge leads today's hitters -- by a margin of 0.13. Mike Trout is second and actually has shorter dinger odds (+240) at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Gleybor Torres WILL Hit a Home Run (+410)
Our models have high expectations for Judge and company, but they have just as low -- or maybe high -- expectations for Bailey. His 1.27 projected homers against are the most on the slate and make up a large chunk of the Yanks' projected total of 1.46 jacks, per our numbers.
The oddsmakers expect Bailey to struggle through this one, too. The Bronx Bombers draw a 5.20-run implied total, third on the slate behind the two teams hitting in the thin air of Coors Field.
In other words, it should be a loud game, and the righty-righty matchup bodes well for Gleyber Torres. The young second baseman has flashed a .242 ISO this season with all four of his dingers against right-handed pitching. Broadening the in-split sample to include last season, he has 17 homers and a .185 ISO on a 37.8% hard-hit rate and 39.7% fly-ball rate. He'll be hitting today at Yankee Stadium, where he's knocked out nine long-balls with a 41.8% hard-hit rate against right-handed hurlers.
We have Torres down for 0.28 home runs versus Bailey, compared to 0.27 for teammate Luke Voit, who is at +410 odds. His odds are also longer than six guys hitting in Coors Field, speaking to the value in pivoting from the obvious home run spots for Colorado and Philadelphia.
Homer Bailey UNDER 4.5 Strikeouts (-118)
As we already discussed, Bailey's strikeout numbers are up early on in 2019. In his three starts, he has six, eight, seven and six strikeouts, but of the three teams he's faced, the Minnesota Twins are the only one with a strikeout rate lower than 25.2%. The Cleveland Indians are second in strikeout rate and the Seattle Mariners are eighth. And even the Twins' swinging-strike rate (11.4%) is in the top half of the Majors.
In comparison, the Yankees are 16th in both swinging-strike rate (11.2%) and strikeout rate (23.6%).
Against righties, the rate at which the Yankees strike out out has dropped from 22.5% in 2018 to 21.3% -- 22nd -- in 2019. Giancarlo Stanton -- and his home-run-or-strikeout approach -- has been on the injured list, which has certainly helped the team avoid the same high strikeout totals. The last two weeks have seen the Yankees strike out just 20.9% against all pitchers and at a 19.8% clip -- 25th -- when matched up with right-handing pitching.
For Bailey, tonight's strikeout total is based off his small-sample success rather than his track record of being a poor, low-strikeout pitcher. And given the Yankees' ever-falling strikeout rate, this number is too high not to bet the under on tonight. Our models have Bailey projected for 3.72 strikeouts.