3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/29/19
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.
Trevor Story WILL Hit a Home Run (+390)
After a poor sophomore season in 2017, Trevor Story has become a really good, power-heavy hitter for the Colorado Rockies. In 2018, he bounced back with a career-high 37 dingers accompanied by a .384 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and .276 isolated slugging (ISO). He posted a 44.5% hard-hit rate and 43.1%, both of which he's improved upon early on this season. Through 28 games, he's turned a 49.4% hard-hit rate and 44.3% fly-ball rate into a .255 ISO and seven home runs.
Unconventionally, Story has mashed righties nearly as well as lefties. For his career, the 26-year-old owns a .235 ISO and 40.3% hard-hit rate in the split, and just last year he turned in a .244 ISO, 42.8% hard-hit rate and 23 home runs against same-sided arms.
With righty Zach Davies taking the mound tonight for the Milwaukee Brewers, Story is in a great spot to send out his eighth home run of 2019. While Davies has a sparkling 1.65 ERA on the surface, his 5.08 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) screams regression in the form of more runs. He has 10 walks to 19 strikeouts, and his groundball rate is down to 43.2% from 47.5% a year ago. That's led to more fly balls, but he's avoided home runs at an unsustainable 7.7% rate. Last year, it was nearly double that (13.1%).
In 2018, Davies allowed 1.46 home runs per 9 (HR/9) to those hitting from the right side. He was hit hard at a 40.0% clip, and he had a home-run-to-fly-ball rate (HR/FB) of 20.0%.
Hitting in the top-five homer park that is Miller Park, Story sees only a slight downgrade from the thin air of Coors. For that reason, our models have him projected for 0.29 jacks -- the highest mark on the slate, yet he's just fourth on the team and ninth in the game in odds to go deep. This could prove a very profitable prop bet tonight.
Josh Donaldson WILL Hit a Home Run (+500)
Atlanta's Josh Donaldson is further down our projections at 0.15 home runs, but all the numbers point to a big night for the veteran slugger. For starters, his Braves carry a 4.99 implied total that tops the slate and by a margin of 0.20 runs. We project them, as a team, to rack up 1.14 home runs against young left-hander Nick Margevicius.
For the sixth time this season, the San Diego Padres will send the 22-year-old to the bump, and to this point, the results haven't been terrible. En route to a 2-2 record, he sports a 3.60 ERA, 4.19 SIERA and 22.8% strikeout rate. But he has a very low .258 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) while giving up a 34.8% hard-hit rate and 36.8% fly-ball rate. That profile's amounted to three home runs, all coming from the right side.
Versus righties, Margevicius has just a 28.9% hard-hit rate but for 1.45 HR/9 and a 21.4% HR/FB rate. It's hard to tell which figures are small-sample noise right now, but either way we'll side with the more experienced Donaldson in this matchup.
This year has been an up-and-down one for Donaldson. After starting slow, he now has a .383 wOBA and .242 ISO along with five homers, but he's had limited damage against lefties. With the platoon, he's hitting just .167 with zero home runs on a lowly 18.2% fly-ball rate and a 36.4% hard-hit rate.
The hard-hit rate isn't all that bad, but I think we can look past those 26 plate appearances. After all, Donaldson has a career .292 ISO on a 37.5% hard-hit rate and 44.1% fly-ball rate in the split, so positive regression could be in order starting Monday against the Padres.
Zack Wheeler OVER 5.5 Strikeouts (-144)
Unlike the two aforementioned pitchers, Zack Wheeler's pitching even better than the numbers would first suggest. In his fourth full season for the New York Mets, he's put together a 4.85 ERA, but his 4.22 SIERA is considerably lower, and his 26.0% strikeout rate would be a career-best if the season were to end today.
Based on his strikeout rate, Wheeler's averaged 10.01 Ks per 9 and 6.6 per start. Through five starts, he has at least six strikeouts in three of them and five in one of the other two. That's part of what makes the over a considerable favorite to the under (+114) here, but Wheeler's should help him to keep things going this evening.
The Cincinnati Reds head into Citi Field with the Majors' fourth-worst offense by wOBA (.282) and the worst offense in terms of isolated slugging (.209). Despite all the changes, they've dropped off and are no strangers to striking out.
Overall, they are 11th with an 11.6% swinging-strike rate, leading to a 24.8% strikeout rate that ranks 12th. But against righties, they are ninth with a 24.4% strikeout rate and possess a bottom-10 walk-to-strikeout ratio (0.32). That not only speaks to their susceptibility against strikeout pitchers, but it adds to Wheeler's potential to keep his pitch count low and go deep into the game.
Our models see those numbers translating to the field, as we project the Mets starter to tally 6.69 strikeouts over 6.18 innings of work. That should give you enough confidence to reap the rewards of a bet that will net $69.44 for every $100 laid.