4 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 5/22/19
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.
Gerrit Cole OVER 8.5 Strikeouts (-158)
Tonight, Gerrit Cole gets his crack at the south-siders. And he has been even nastier than Verlander in 2019.
Through his first 10 starts, Cole's strikeout rate is a whopping 38.3%, almost six percentage points higher than where Verlander sits after last night's outing. Cole has hit the over on 8.5 strikeouts with regularity this year, striking out double-digit hitters in half his starts and at least nine in seven of 10 outings. You can add a favorable matchup to Cole's docket, as well.
The White Sox's active roster enters tonight with a 25.5% strikeout rate against righties, the second-highest mark for an opponent Cole has faced this year. Even with juice on the over, Cole's still a good bet to hit at least nine strikeouts in this spot.
Max Fried OVER 5.5 Strikeouts (-108)
Speaking of plus matchups, Max Fried gets to tango with the San Francisco Giants tonight. Their active roster ranks 29th in wRC+ against lefties, besting only the Miami Marlins. It could allow Fried to showcase some recent alterations to his pitch mix.
When Fried first broke on the scene, he was a two-pitch pitcher, throwing either his fastball or his curve on 90.8% of his offerings. The curve is nasty, but adding a third pitch into the mix can help keep hitters off balance.
Fried has done that recently, throwing his slider 14.4% of the time over his past five starts. It has given him a bit extra upside in the strikeout department.
In this five-start sample, Fried has a 2.95 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), 27.7% strikeout rate, and 4.0% walk rate. He has had seven or more strikeouts in three of those starts, which definitely puts the over in play here. But in one of the starts where he fell short -- last time out against the Milwaukee Brewers -- he was well on his way to getting at least six. Instead, the Atlanta Braves went up 12-0 in the sixth inning, and Fried exited with the game well in hand. He actually hit for himself twice in that sixth inning, meaning he would have come back out for the seventh had the score not been so lopsided.
Fried's a pitcher who is trending up, he gets a plus matchup, and there's a bit more juice on the under (-118) than the over (-108). We should bet on Fried's recent run continuing here.
Gleyber Torres To Hit a Home Run (+410)
Even with sportsbooks knowing how rough Straily has been, Gleyber Torres still seems to be a solid bet to go deep.
Torres is one of just two active Yankees who has both a 40% hard-hit rate and 40% fly-ball rate against righties this year (the other is Gary Sanchez, who is +280 to go deep). Torres has used that to go deep 10 times this year, all of which have come without the platoon advantage.
In a small sample, Straily has an 8.1% strikeout rate against righties while allowing a 50.8% fly-ball rate. That positions Torres to continue what has been a truly impressive sophomore campaign.
Michael Brantley To Hit a Home Run (+600)
Michael Brantley isn't the Houston Astros' most powerful hitter, so there's a reason that he's +600 in this spot. But that's actually tied for just fifth-highest among Astros hitters, which seems a bit longer than it should be.
The reason we're turning to the Astros is that they're facing Ivan Nova. Nova allows a ton of balls in play with just a 14.6% strikeout rate and 7.3% walk rate, and his ground-ball rate has dipped to 42.3% in 2019. With Nova's 37.5% hard-hit rate allowed to lefties, both Brantley and Josh Reddick should pop as being intriguing.
It also doesn't hurt that Brantley has a bit more long-ball potential than you may think. His fly-ball rate against righties has jumped to a career-high 36.0%, up from 31.6% during his rebirth last year. Brantley's hard-hit rate against righties is also a career-high at 42.5%, and that's all coupled with a 6.8% strikeout rate, meaning he's putting the ball in play almost all the time and often doing so with authority. With the odds being as long as they are, it's hard not to buy into Brantley in this spot.