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.
Will Smith To Hit a Home Run (+480)
It's not a matter of if the Los Angeles Dodgers will hit home runs tonight. It's a matter of how many home runs will they hit?
The Dodgers have an elite matchup versus Tyler Alexander, who will be on the mound for the Detroit Tigers tonight. Last season, Alexander allowed a 4.85 xFIP, 1.53 HR/9, 44.5% fly-ball rate, and 39.5% hard-contact rate versus right-handed hitters. These are among the worst numbers on the slate, hence why we see the Dodgers coming in with a strong 4.75 implied run total.
We turn to Will Smith, who has plenty of power to slap a ball over the fence and cash in on his home run prop. If we look back to last year, Smith finished with a .182 ISO, .307 wOBA, and 42.7% fly-ball rate. He's got solid power, and given the overall strength of the Dodgers lineup, there's no way to pitch around him -- or anyone in that lineup.
Adam Wainwright Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-116)
With a great matchup, the over on Adam Wainwright's strikeout prop is the spot to look.
Wainwright has never been a massive strikeout pitcher, but to start this season, he has a 24.2% strikeout rate, which is the highest of his career.
While I expect that number to regress a bit as the season goes on, Wainwright has a great matchup to keep it going for a bit longer. He's up against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who come in with a 26.5% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitchers, which is second-worst in the league.
Wainwright has racked up six strikeouts or more in three of his four starts this season, and with his prop sitting at only 4.5 and the soft matchup, this is the spot to attack tonight.
Xander Bogaerts 2+ Hits (+175)
Xander Bogaerts is one of the most consistent hitters in the league, and we're looking to his prop tonight.
The Boston Red Sox come in with a 4.50 implied run total tonight, which is the sixth-highest on the slate, putting their offense in a good spot. The Baltimore Orioles are expected to have Kyle Bradish on the mound, their number nine prospect set to make his MLB debut.
Bradish has posted strong numbers in the minors to start this season, including a 29.8% strikeout rate, which was in line with his 27.8% strikeout rate from last year. This is a common situation in the MLB, as a good pitching prospect is making his debut against strong and proven hitters.
Time and time again, I will side with the strong hitters over the young and unproven pitcher. Bogaerts ended last year with elite numbers versus right-handed pitchers, posting a 135 wRC+, .220 ISO, 38.9% fly-ball rate, and 37.5% hard-contact rate. He's an elite hitter and can get it done in any matchup, especially once the Orioles' bullpen gets involved in the game.