The Major League Baseball season trudges through the dog days of August as several postseason races simmer. Several divisions appear settled, but the American and National League wild-card battles are racing into full gear. Here we look at MLB props and HR bets for the weekend’s slate of games.
There are 10 teams — six in the AL, four in the NL — vying for one of each league’s three wild-card spots. The action on the diamond over the remaining weeks of the season will make for quality betting opportunities as well.
Wagering on MLB props requires a bit of extra work from a bettor’s perspective. However, those willing to shop around for the best odds and select the best matchups will find more success over the long run.
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Featured Series: Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays host the Baltimore Orioles for the final three regular-season games they play against one another in 2022. The AL East crown is most likely out of reach for the Rays and O’s, but both are jockeying for the league’s third and final wild-card spot.
FanDuel Sportsbook has the Rays at +100 to qualify for the postseason, with the Orioles priced at +390 to advance. Both draw longer playoff odds than the Minnesota Twins (-125) and Chicago White Sox (-115).
The winner of this weekend’s Rays-Orioles series earns an early leg up in the quest for October baseball. The Rays own the starting pitching advantage, at least on paper, with All-Star Shane McClanahan sandwiched between veterans Corey Kluber and Drew Rasmussen.
Tampa Bay is struggling on the injury front, missing the likes of shortstop Wander Franco and centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier. Neither one is producing particularly well at the dish, but they still provide value that isn’t easily replaced. Baltimore’s rookie catcher Adley Rutschman, meanwhile, is finding his big-league footing, batting .319/.468/.486 across his last 72 at-bats.
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MLB Home Run Props
Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez vs. Oakland Athletics
Alvarez’s August skid has seen his batting average drop below .300 for the first time since June 8. He connected on his 31st homer on Wednesday, however, so he hasn’t lost his stroke, and the Oakland Athletics present an opportunity for him to completely break out of his slump.
It’s counterintuitive to highlight Alvarez’s matchup with left-hander Cole Irvin, but he owns a .917 OPS against lefties. Further, he’s dominated Irvin specifically, connecting on two homers in 14 at-bats.
Texas Rangers’ Nathaniel Lowe vs. Seattle Mariners
Lowe is swinging a hot bat for the Rangers, producing a .346/.393/.558 line with a pair of homers over his last 52 at-bats. Marco Gonzales (1.45 HR/9), George Kirby (1.36), and Logan Gilbert (1.16) — the Mariners’ projected starters — aren’t shy about serving up the occasional meatball platter. Lowe has produced better numbers against left-handers this season, but bettors should consider his career production against Gonzales before submitting a Saturday wager. He’s 2-for-17 with six whiffs against the Mariners’ southpaw.
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MLB Strikeout Props
Minnesota Twins’ Tyler Mahle vs. Los Angeles Angels
Mahle, a former Red, owns a 10.4 strikeouts-per-nine since 2020. He hasn’t been particularly dominant in the strikeout department of late — he’s induced 22 whiffs over his last 23 innings. However, there are a few factors working in Mahle’s favor. Chief among them is the Angels’ propensity to swing and miss — they strike out more frequently than any team in baseball.
We like Mahle on his own accord as well. He’s pitching well on the road (.189 opponent batting average) and has logged at least six innings in nine of his last 10 starts.
Miami Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara vs. Atlanta Braves
Alcantara owns the shortest Cy Young odds on FanDuel by a substantial margin. He’s not the most prolific strikeout pitcher in spite of being among the most dominant arms in MLB. We like him to miss a lot of bats against the Braves nonetheless. Not only do the Braves have the second most strikeouts in the game, but Alcantara tore through them in a pair of early season starts (21 K, 0.53 ERA, 17 IP).
Atlanta is playing much better baseball than they were in May, but Alcantara’s tendency to pitch deep into games will provide him the opportunity to compile plenty of punchouts.
MLB Prop Bets: General Considerations
- Hitter-friendly environments: Yankees @ Red Sox, Tigers @ White Sox, Athletics @ Astros, Diamondbacks @ Rockies
- Pitcher-friendly environments: Phillies @ Mets, Braves @ Marlins, Orioles @ Rays, Pirates @ Giants
Alternate lines are odds offered by bookmakers at adjusted numbers. Alternate run lines are examples in MLB betting. For instance, while the standard run line may have Mets +1.5 runs (-175) vs. Astros -1.5 runs (+150), the following lines may also be available:
Mets -4.5 runs (+650)
Astros +4.5 runs (-1050)
Mets -2.5 runs (+295)
Astros +2.5 (-390)
The “No Run First Inning” (NRFI) and “Yes Run First Inning” (YRFI) prop bets have become popular because bettors don’t need to wait long before finding out if they won or lost.
The actual wager is as simple as the name suggests. A ‘YRFI’ play means the bettor believes at least one run will be scored in the first inning. Conversely, a ‘NRFI’ bet wins if the first inning is completed without a run being scored.
Bettors can wager on a number of different pitching-related props, including strikeouts, outs recorded, hits and walks allowed, and to record a win. Certain books may offer different bets or different prices, underscoring the importance of shopping for the most favorable odds.