Freedman’s Favorite HR Player Props for the 2019 MLB Season
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New York Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27)
- The first full day of the 2019 MLB season starts on Thursday, March 28.
- Matthew Freedman breaks down his season-long player prop-betting strategy and highlights some of his favorite home run props.
Each day, I publish at least one quick-n’-dirty piece highlighting a favorite prop of mine. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.
The 2019 MLB season begins in earnest this week, and in this piece I’m going to highlight some of my favorite player props for home runs.
For daily player props, follow me in The Action Network app.
2019 Year-to-Date Record
370-293-13, +55.74 Units
- NFL: 21-13-0, +11.72 Units
- NBA: 209-154-4, +35.40 Units
- NHL: 66-80-7, -7.57 Units
- Golf: 4-7-1, -2.35 Units
- NASCAR: 5-8-0, -1.70 Units
- NCAAB: 42-28-1, +8.61 Units
- NCAAF: 0-1-0, -1.00 Units
- Exotic: 23-2-0, +12.64 Units
Freedman’s Home Run Player Prop Strategy for the 2019 MLB Season
As I outlined in my piece on player props for runs batted in, I’m heavily investing in unders for season-long MLB player props.
Mark Gallant has noted that last year almost 70% of season-long MLB player props hit the under. That number is high, but I don’t think it’s an anomaly due to a variety of factors, primarily injury, inflated lines and selection bias.
So my investment process for season-long MLB props is simple.
- Shop around a few sportsbooks to find the highest lines for each prop.
- Bet the under for each prop.
- Wait six months.
If I knew a lot about baseball, this bet-the-board strategy would almost certainly have a negative expected value relative to a more nuanced approach.
As it is, I think this strategy will still prove profitable.
Freedman’s Home Run Player Props for the 2019 MLB Season
Of all the home run player props on the market, here are five I think offer value.
Giancarlo Stanton Under 43.5 (-115)
Just two years ago, then-Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton had an MLB-high 59 home runs on his way to the NL MVP. But last year with the New York Yankees, he regressed to a more modest 38 home runs despite having more at-bats (617 vs. 597).
Only twice in his career has Stanton played more than 145 games, and he has hit more than 38 home runs just once.
Stanton could have a great season and still not hit the over.
Mike Trout Under 38.5 (-115)
Over the past seven years, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout has been the best player in baseball. Since 2012, he’s never finished lower than fourth in AL MVP voting — but he’s averaged just 33.6 home runs per year across that time.
Even if his seven-year per-game home run rate were extrapolated over a 162-game campaign, that would still give him only 37.1 home runs — and Trout has never played 160-plus games in a season.
He’s hit the under in five of the past seven seasons.
Plus, with his new 12-year, $428.17 million contract, Trout might lack the motivation he’s previously had.
Bryce Harper Under 35.5 (-115)
Like Trout, Bryce Harper got paid this offseason, signing a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies after seven strong seasons with the Washington Nationals.
Although the outfielder won the 2015 NL MVP and is one of the league’s most potential-laden players, only once has he hit more than 35 home runs, and just twice has he played at least 150 games.
Plus, last year he had an MLB-high 130 walks. There’s nothing wrong with bases on balls — but it’s hard to hit home runs when you don’t swing.
Over his career, Harper has averaged just 26.3 home runs on 132.4 games per year.
Matt Olson Under 32.5 (-105)
If you don’t bet this, you must hate money. This one is a gimme.
Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson played the first two games of the season in Japan. He didn’t homer in either game, and since then he’s undergone surgery on his right wrist and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
After bombing 24 home runs in just 59 games in his 2017 rookie campaign, he hit only 29 dingers last year in a 162-game season.
Given Olson’s injury and a .245 career batting average, the under seems like a nail looking for a hammer. Pound it.
Jesús Aguilar Under 30.5 (-125)
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Jesús Aguilar clubbed 35 homers last year in 149 games, but before that he had just 16 home runs in 372 plate appearances spread across four seasons.
Aguilar looks a prime candidate for regression, and Gallant is also on the under. If this bet doesn’t cash, blame Marky Money.