3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/30/19
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.
Joey Gallo WILL Hit a Home Run (+330)
Tonight in Texas, it's set to be around 80 degrees as the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates square off at Globe Life Park. There will be thunderstorms that require monitoring for DFS players, but if this one plays, it figures to be a high-scoring affair. The 10.5-run over/under is the day's highest, and the Rangers are getting a slate-best 5.36 implied total against righty Jordan Lyles.
Lyles has had a good season to date, going 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA and 3.94 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) through four starts. However, he could find his way into some trouble against the Rangers' lefty-heavy order. In a small sample of 43 batters faced, the 28-year-old has allowed two home runs (1.69 per 9 innings) on a 57.1% fly-ball rate and 35.7% hard-hit rate. Last year, his numbers weren't all that bad, but he was hit up for a 42.0% fly-ball rate and 36.8% hard-hit rate by those swinging from the left side of the box.
In their projected lineup, Texas boasts four left-handed bats and a switch-hitter in Danny Santana. Joey Gallo figures to hit in the middle of the order, and he shouldn't be slept on in this spot. Early in 2019, he's tops in average exit velocity (98.7 miles per hour) and checks in fifth with an expected slugging percentage of .715, according to Baseball Savant.
Against righties, Gallo has turned a 74.4% -- yes, 74.4% -- hard-hit rate and 33.3% fly-ball rate into seven home runs and a .422 isolated slugging (ISO). And if we include last year's numbers, the slugger is second in the Majors with a 52.0% hard-hit rate against right-handed hurlers, which has resulted in a 28.1% home-run-to-fly-ball (HR/FB) rate with the platoon advantage.
Our models project Gallo for 0.26 home runs on the night, putting him among the top eight hitters on the slate. And while that usually wouldn't present good value, Gallo's betting odds for a homer are down, and they're considerably longer than those of J.D. Martinez (+230), who is projected for 0.24 dingers. A $330 return for a $100 bet? Sign me up.
Brandon Lowe WILL Hit a Home Run (+550)
Though he lacks the notoriety of a Joey Gallo, Brandon Lowe is another strong left-handed bat, and he too draws a plus matchup on Tuesday night. On the road against the Kansas City Royals, he and the Tampa Bay Rays battle righty Jake Junis, who has been just OK for his two-plus years in the big leagues.
Through 56 appearances and 52 starts, Junis possesses a 4.48 ERA and 4.15 SIERA while giving up a 39.2% hard-hit rate. His fly-ball rate is down this year, but it was at 40.1% and 37.1% in his first two years in KC. He has never been great at keeping the ball in the park, and his career 1.52 homers per 9 (HR/9) support that tendency. Even more encouraging for a guy like Lowe, Junis has surrendered 2.51 HR/9 to lefties this season after allowing 1.37 last year and 1.29 in the split in 2017. Lefties have a 40.0% hard-hit rate and a .621 slugging percentage against him to this point.
Last year, Kauffman Stadium was a park downgrade from Tropicana Field as far as left-handed home runs go, but Lowe's power numbers are better on the road in his young career. The 24-year-old sports a .293 ISO on the road, compared to .205 at the Trop, and the former jumps to .324 in 80 plate appearances against right-handed arms.
With Lowe's production against righties, we have him down for 0.26 dingers -- the same as Gallo and Francisco Lindor (+270). Compared to Lindor, though, you are getting more than double the potential return in the form of $550 for every $100. The reward outweighs any risk associated with the ballpark in Kansas City.
Blake Snell UNDER 7.5 Strikeouts (+100)
In the bottom half of innings in the KC-Rays game, Blake Snell will be doing the pitching for Tampa Bay, making his second start since landing on the Injured List with a fractured right toe. Unfortunately for him, it's another tough matchup -- a second straight one against the Royals.
Six days ago, Snell faced Kansas City at home at the Trop, going only 3 1/3 innings and tossing 65 pitches. He allowed two earned runs on three hits and two walks as he tied a season-low with three strikeouts. His 15.4% swinging-strike rate fell off by 6.6 percentage points from his previous three starts, which could have something to do with his pitch usage. Snell threw his changeup at a season-low rate (9.2%) with a chunk of that shifting to his fastball, which he tossed more than 50% of the time for the first time this season.
Snell could go back to his usual mix of pitches, but he was obviously rusty in his return from the IL. There's also a chance he is dealing with the after-effects of the injury. Either way, this isn't a great spot to go with the over.
Not only will the Royals have Snell's approach fresh in their minds, but they have great confidence going into this one. The numbers don't bode well for Snell, either, as the Royals rank 20th in swinging-strike rate (10.6%) overall, and their 25.5% strikeout rate versus lefties is 13th. Their walk-to-strikeout rate is also in the middle of the pack, which should only boost Snell's pitch count and potentially limit him to five or fewer innings.
In 39 plate appearances against the Royals' active roster, Snell has just a 23.1% strikeout rate with an expected wOBA (xwOBA) of .368. That's among the four worst marks on the slate.
While his overall totals usually favor the favored over (-120) here, his recent performance says to take the under at underdog odds. We have Snell projected for 6.30 strikeouts on the night.