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MLB Player Prop Bets for Rays vs. Tigers: 2 Picks for Thursday’s Game, Including Tyler Alexander & Nelson Cruz (September 16)

MLB Player Prop Bets for Rays vs. Tigers: 2 Picks for Thursday’s Game, Including Tyler Alexander & Nelson Cruz (September 16) article feature image

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images. Pictured: Nelson Cruz

  • The Rays and Tigers meet on Thursday night in Tampa.
  • Tyler Alexander takes the mound and will be staring down Nelson Cruz & Co.
  • Continue reading for two player prop picks from Thursday night's matchup.

After easily cashing two props in Wednesday’s Cubs-Phillies game, The Action Network’s player props team is eyeing two props in tonight’s Tigers-Rays game.

Using the Action Labs Player Props tool, we’ve found value on the Tigers’ starting pitcher and the Rays’ designated hitter.

The Action Labs Player Props tool grades each play on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include the grade below my explanation.

MLB Player Props & Picks

Tyler Alexander Over 3.5 Strikeouts (-125)

Tigers vs. Rays Tigers (+175)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
Best Line DraftKings

The Rays are a really good baseball team. That goes without saying. However, they’re also prone to the strikeout.

The Rays strike out 25.1% of the time, which is the fifth-highest mark in baseball. However, against southpaws, that number jumps to 25.7%, which is the third-highest mark.

Tyler Alexander hasn’t had the most outstanding season, but he’s been serviceable. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that he’s upped his strikeout numbers down the stretch.

Alexander has made five starts in seven appearances since August 7, and he’s hit over 3.5 strikeouts in all five of them. That includes a start against these Rays, where he notched four Ks through 4 1/3 innings of work, allowing only one run in the process.

Our Action Labs Player Props tool has him projected for 4.2 strikeouts today, so I see some value on the over 3.5 DraftKings is offering us.

Action Labs Grade: 6/10

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Nelson Cruz Over 1.5 Total Bases (-105)

Rays vs. Tigers Rays (-210)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
Best Line DraftKings

I don’t usually do this, but I think there’s a good opportunity to cash both Alexander’s strikeouts and Cruz’s bases total.

Cruz loves playing Detroit. In 15 games vs. the Tigers this season, Cruz has cashed over 1.5 bases in eight of them (53% hit rate). That includes four of the last five meetings and in all three games when they played last week.

Plus, he’s got a good matchup against Alexander today. Cruz has hit 31 home runs on the season, and a whopping 22 of them have come off southpaws. At the Trop and vs. LHPs this season, Cruz is batting .333 with a .959 OPS.

Against Alexander in particular, Cruz is 4-for-9 with two doubles. While that adds up to a .667 SLG, his 98.5 mph average exit velocity has produced a .778 xSLG, meaning Cruz is due for some positive regression in future ABs vs. Alexander.

I think part of that is due to Cruz’s improved hitting against cutters. Alexander throws a cutter more than any other pitch (37.1% of the time), and after a down year last season, Cruz is back to crushing that pitch again:

So while Alexander is piling up strikeouts, look for Cruz to square up one of Alexander’s cutters for extra bases. I’ll happily play this prop at close to even money.

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