3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 5/1/19
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.
Rhys Hoskins WILL Hit a Home Run (+650)
At home battling the Detroit Tigers, the Philadelphia Phillies sport an implied total of 4.70 runs, positioning them fourth on tonight's main slate of games. They are going up against lefty Daniel Norris, who has an OK 3.93 ERA but a more exploitable 4.60 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) on the season.
Rightly slugger Rhys Hoskins is performing well with the addition of Bryce Harper this offseason, improving his weighted on-base average (wOBA) to .420 and his isolated power (ISO) to .308 through 28 games. That's translated to eight home runs, with three of those in his last eight games. During this hot streak, he's put together a monster .488 wOBA and .481 ISO, hitting the ball hard at a rate of 44.4% and producing a fly-ball rate of 72.2%.
Oddly enough, Hoskins' power numbers have been up and down against left-handed pitching. The good came in 2017, when he turned a 48.4% hard-hit rate and 48.4% fly-ball rate into .439 ISO and six home runs in a short season in the bigs. But since then, he hasn't hit for a ton of power with the platoon advantage. In 2018, he managed just three home runs with a .117 ISO despite a 51.1% fly-ball rate. This year's been more of the same, with Hoskins tallying one home run on a 40.0% hard-hit rate and 33.3% fly-ball rate against southpaws.
Norris should help him out in that department, having allowed a high hard-hit rate (43.1%) to righties this year and a 42.4% rate last year en route to 1.53 home runs per 9 innings (HR/9). He's also given up a 90.4 mile-per-hour exit velocity and an 11.9% barrel rate, per Baseball Savant.
Tonight, Norris is projected to give up the most home runs (0.95) of any one starting pitcher, giving Hoskins a projection of 0.32 -- third of all hitters. His odds are quite long on FanDuel Sportsbook, while the value stems from him ranking seventh in the game in home run odds. A return of $650 for every $100 is more than 60% greater than that of Trevor Story (+390), another hitter we're high on tonight.
Franmil Reyes WILL Hit a Home Run (+700)
Franmil Reyes' power has been few and far between this year. He has eight dingers through 30 games, but four of those have come in the matter of two games, including last night's double-dong against these Atlanta Braves.
While Reyes' batting average is down to .232, it's quite obvious that the home run potential is there. He's striking out less and making contact more than he did a year ago, and a spectacular batted-ball profile has yielded results. On the back of a 57.8% hard-hit rate and 46.9% fly-ball rate, the 23-year-old has a .329 ISO -- a number that ranks 17th among hitters with 50-plus plate appearances.
On Wednesday, Reyes matches up against lefty Max Fried, who has just a 2.30 ERA, but his 3.90 SIERA speaks more accurately to his level of pitching through five starts (seven total appearances). He is good at keeping the ball in the park, giving up 0.86 HR/9, yet righties have all three long-balls against him. They have a strikeout rate more than 10% below that of lefties, and they've produced a 34.4% hard-hit rate and a 20.0% home-run-to-fly-ball rate (HR/FB). Last year, they had a 44.3% hard-hit rate in the split against Fried.
In his career, Reyes has mashed 18 of his 24 homers off right-handed pitchers, but he still has a .223 ISO versus southpaws. And while the results -- in counting stats -- have been different, his hard-hit rate (47.0%) and fly-ball rate (33.3%) are right in line with his stats against righties. And when he's not hitting in the notorious pitcher's park that is Petco Park, Reyes owns a .292 ISO with four home runs and a 50.0% hard-hit rate against left-handed pitching.
We have Reyes down for 0.33 home runs, leading the main slate and checking in second on the entire day. For a guy with his potential, the long odds are a great spot to exploit.
Max Scherzer UNDER 9.5 Strikeouts (-112)
On the surface, Max Scherzer isn't having the typical Scherzer-type season we've come to expect. Through six starts, he is 1-3 with a 4.12 ERA and an opponent batting average of .257. However, advanced metrics show that he's still been very good. His SIERA sits at 2.56, which if it stands, would be the best mark of his career. He's striking out 34.0% of batters and averaging 12.36 strikeouts per 9 innings.
To date, the Washington Nationals ace has two double-digit strikeout games with 9.0 per start, but this total is far too high given the opponent.
The St. Louis Cardinals, on the year, are 6th in weighted runs created plus (wRC+) and 24th in strikeout rate (22.1%). Against righties alone, they strike out at only a 21.9% rate, and that's with stud lefty Matt Carpenter struggling to a career-worst 24.8% strikeout rate.
While Carpenter has continued to drag the team's numbers down, the Cardinals have improved of late. In the last 14 days, they are 10-2 as a team and rank 29th in strikeout rate (17.5%). They are also 29th against righties, at a measly 16.5% clip, while hitting to the league's third-best wRC+ with a top-10 walk rate (10.2%) in that span.
Our models project Scherzer for 8.66 strikeouts, the highest on the slate, but it's unlikely he tallies 10 or more Ks against this Cardinals offense. Take the under at the same odds as the over, returning $89.29 for every $100 laid.