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.
Mitch Haniger To Hit a Home Run (+310)
Even though Mitch Haniger has two home runs in the first three games, that's not why we're going to him tonight. Frankly, a hot start for a hitter doesn't impact my decision-making when it comes to home run props, and neither does a cold start.
We want to rely on what the hitter has done over a larger sample size, and Haniger has shown to be very consistent. Last season, he had a .206 ISO, 39.1% fly-ball rate, and 35.5 % hard-contact rate versus right-handed pitchers. In total, 23 of his 39 home runs were off of right-handed pitchers last season.
He has a strong matchup against Dylan Bundy to keep that going this season. Bundy allowed 2.22 HR/9 with a 4.52 xFIP, 39.0% fly-ball rate, and 36.1% hard-contact rate versus right-handed hitters last year.
Alek Manoah Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-122)
Manoah is one of the Blue Jays' top pitchers, and after a strong rookie season last year, he's looking to build on that this season. He ended last year with a 27.7% strikeout rate, which would've put him in the league's top 15, but he didn't have enough innings to qualify. Nonetheless, Manoah is a strong pitcher and showed that in the final few starts of last season, racking up 10, 8, 7, and 10 strikeouts to close out the year.
Manoah is up against the New York Yankees, who held a 22.3% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitchers last season, which was slightly better than the league average. It's not an overwhelmingly easy matchup, but Manoah got it done against the Yankees last season with 11 strikeouts in 11.2 innings pitched.
Brandon Lowe 2+ Total Bases (-105)
The simple way to put it is that Blackburn is not a great pitcher. Last season, he allowed a 4.59 xFIP and 1.69 HR/9 to lefties, along with a low 16.9% strikeout rate and a 21.4% HR/FB ratio. He really isn't that good -- there's no other way around it. The Rays have a high 4.98 implied team total, so they're certainly expected to put up some runs tonight.
We turn to Brandon Lowe, who is batting leadoff for the Rays tonight and finished last season with a 161 wRC+, .311 ISO, 43.7% fly-ball rate, and 38.5% hard-contact rate versus right-handed pitchers. He has phenomenal splits against righties, and batting leadoff for an offense expected to put up runs is always a great spot to be.