It's getaway day, so the MLB slate is a little thinner than usual with several early afternoon contests giving way to a light night schedule. But there is value on tap regardless.
Jacob deGrom is set to make his fourth start of the year and he's highlighting our favorite MLB player prop picks against a strikeout-prone Atlanta Braves lineup.
Beyond deGrom, we're targeting a pair of bats in favorable matchups looking to cash in their total bases props.
MLB props for August 18
Picks made on 8/18/2022 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Today’s best MLB prop bets
The odds widgets below represent the best odds currently available for each betting market at regulated sportsbooks.
New York Mets uber-ace Jacob deGrom has made three starts since being activated from the injured list. He is 2-0 with a 1.62 ERA (0.72 FIP), 0.42 WHIP, and 28 strikeouts in 16 2-3 innings. He has struck out exactly half of the batters he's faced.
The strikeout prop total for tonight is high at 9.5, but that's no reason to shy away. He's already hit double-digit strikeouts in two of three starts, including a 12-punchout performance against the Atlanta Braves, who he'll again face on Thursday. He's also averaging 98.6 mph on his fastball, which ranks in the ... uh ... 100th percentile among MLB arms. It sure looks like the injury is a thing of the past.
As I mentioned in yesterday's prop picks, the Braves go down on strikes at an absurd amount when facing right-handers. With a strikeout rate of 25.1%, only the Los Angeles Angels (26.8%) and Detroit Tigers (25.2%) fan more frequently vs. righties.
DeGrom has been efficient as he gets stretched out, topping out at 76 pitches in each of his last two outings. The Mets are understandably not taking any chances with him as the postseason approaches, but he's as dominant a pitcher as we've seen. He's also only issued one walk, which has allowed him to tally a ton of Ks without really overworking his pitch count.
He also reached the 10-strikeout plateau in seven of his 15 starts in 2021. If he had shown any sign of rust coming out of the gates — or if the Braves could hold off on striking out a billion times vs. lesser righties — then there would be more cause for concern. But there hasn't been, so let's grab a deGrom strikeout prop at plus money while it's available as the total at some books is at 8.5 for much shorter odds.
For whom Josh Bell tolls
Juan Soto, for good reason, was the San Diego Padres' prized acquisition at the trade deadline, but it's not exactly fair to paint first baseman Josh Bell as an afterthought.
The switch-hitting slugger handles himself well against righties and lefties and gets a really nice matchup against veteran right-hander Anibal Sanchez tonight at Petco Park.
While the start of his tenure with San Diego has been a rocky one at the dish, he's been exceptionally unlucky with a .179 BABIP. His 21% strikeout rate isn't astronomical and his overall mark on the season of 14.8% is more in line with what can generally be expected from him.
Sanchez, meanwhile, isn't likely to throw much past Bell as he has struck out just 16.3% of opponents while posting a 7.20 ERA and allowing more hits (34) than innings pitched (30). Sanchez has also allowed a whopping 10 home runs in that time and the veteran hurler is nothing more than a warm body expected to eat some innings for a bottom-feeding team mired in a rebuild.
And he's been afforded the time, too. Sanchez has thrown at least 90 pitches and pitched into the fifth in all six of his outings, giving offenses multiple times through the lineup to get their hacks in.
At plus money in an attractive matchup, I like Bell to have his Padres breakout tonight.
Benny and the bats
Since joining the New York Yankees, outfielder Andrew Benintendi has typically slotted in as the leadoff hitter when facing right-handed pitching. He draws a favorable matchup in Toronto Blue Jays starter Jose Berrios, who owns the worst ERA (5.61) among qualified pitchers in MLB this season.
Benny is batting .320 vs. righties on the season and while you can't count on the ultimate power stroke (just two homers in these matchups), he has 18 doubles against RHP. He also has 37 multi-hit games on the year.
And for a pitcher who has been frequently abominable, he's not issuing a ton of free passes as his 5.8% walk rate is tied for a career-low. Basically, he's striking out fewer batters while allowing a ton of hits (138 in 122 2-3 innings).
This plays into Benintendi's hands very well, as he has very little swing-and-miss in his game, striking out just 14.7% of the time and making consistent contact. Batting leadoff should afford him ample opportunity to build even more on his small sample vs. Berrios, where he owns a .429 batting average in 21 at-bats.
With Berrios also prone to serving up the gopher ball, Aaron Judge is also a tempting bet to add to his MLB home run lead at +230 to go deep. ButI like the Benintendi matchup just a touch more as long as his total bases prop can be found at plus money.
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