3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on Thursday 8/5/21
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 on FanDuel. Here, we're going to focus on the former.
Please note that betting lines and our game projections may change throughout the day after this article is published. Also, the weather may be an issue in some locations.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. To Hit a Home Run (+210)
Sometimes the stars align and give us a home run matchup we can't pass up.
That is what we would have tonight with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. facing off against Triston McKenzie, a matchup that is primed for a home run. Not only is Vladdy in a great spot, but all of the Toronto Blue Jays' hitters can excel in this matchup. This is due to the fact McKenzie is allowing 2.76 homers per nine to righties along with a massive 56.2% fly-ball rate and 40.5% hard-contact rate in the split. To say those numbers are bad would be an understatement.
Guerrero is one of the best power hitters in the league and comes in with a .366 ISO, 198 wRC+, 39.4% fly-ball rate, and 44.9% hard-contact rate versus right-handed pitchers this season.
With the power upside Guerrero brings the plate, he is in an ideal matchup for a homer.
Framber Valdez Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-116)
With only a little bit of juice on the under, Framber Valdez's strikeout prop is worth considering.
Valdez is a solid pitcher -- there's no doubt about that with his 3.88 SIERA -- but he isn't an overpowering strikeout pitcher. Valdez made his MLB debut in 2018 and has pitched a total of 250 innings, giving us a solid sample size to look at. In that time, he has a career strikeout rate of 22.6%, which is very modest. He can certainly reach for higher strikeouts when the matchup allows, but we shouldn't be seeing that tonight.
Valdez will be going up against the Minnesota Twins, who come in with a 23.0% strikeout rate versus left-handed pitchers, which is 16th in the league. The Twins are a league-average team in terms of strikeouts and are not a matchup that presents a massive opportunity. Also, we have seen Valdez pitch five or fewer innings in three of his last five starts, which limits his chances to rack up those strikeouts.
Combine everything together, and we have multiple factors pointing toward the under.
Nestor Cortes Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+120)
Cortes comes in sporting a very solid 30.5% strikeout rate but has pitched just 32.2 innings this season, with only three of his 11 appearances being starts. Although it's a small sample size, he has a chance to maintain a high rate given this softer matchup. He is taking on the Seattle Mariners, who hold a 27.0.% strikeout rate versus left-handed pitchers, which is the second-highest in the league. This should put Cortes in a spot to cash in on the over.
Cortes was able to post five strikeouts in five innings last week against the Tampa Bay Rays, who also have a 27.0% strikeout rate versus left-handed pitchers. The matchup is the same for Cortes. It comes down to him getting a bit deeper into the game against the free-swinging M's.