MLB Props Odds & Picks: 7 Bets For Dinger Tuesday, Including Yankees’ Aaron Judge (August 16)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Judge (Yankees)
Each Tuesday, FanDuel runs a popular promotion that allows each user to bet $25 on one player in every MLB game played that day to hit a home run. Regardless of whether or not the player you bet on homered, you receive $5 in free bets back for each home run hit in the game, with a max return of $25.
Given the average number of home runs in an MLB game in 2021 was 2.44, you will receive an average of $12.20 in free bets back for each $25 home run bet you make, without accounting for the loss in expected value on the vig of the home run yes prop.
Even though home runs have been down in the 2022 season thus far, the promotion remains +EV, and there are signs that homers are trending up in the warmer months again.
If you want to learn more on how Dinger Tuesday works, here’s an explainer.
Here are my favorite selections for this Tuesday’s slate.
Phillies at Reds, 6:40 p.m. ET
Pick: J.T. Realmuto +400
Cincinnati’s ballpark is notoriously friendly to balls flying out to right field, so naturally, you’d want to pick a lefty here. But in this case, I like the matchup for Realmuto, who is a line drive hitter that likes to use the entire field. I’m biased toward Realmuto because he’s hit twice for me lately, but he’s also posted elite power numbers in recent weeks.
Realmuto has a 15.9% barrel rate since July began and he’s exactly the kind of hitter that has been penalized more for a reduction in opposite field homers because of the change in the baseballs. With the friendly environment for homers at Great American Ball Park and two average (Gibson) to well below average (Zeuch) pitchers, it’s a total high enough at 9.5 that you have to play this game.
Note: Realmuto is out of the lineup. Rhys Hoskins +280 is the updated pick.
Cubs at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET
Pick: Nelson Velasquez +450
Patrick Corbin is the worst starting pitcher in all of baseball amongst qualified starters. He’s failed to get out of the first inning in two of his last three starts against the Phillies and the Dodgers. The Cubs may not be as good as those two lineups, but they are more than capable of hitting some homers off of Corbin. I’d normally look to Nationals slugger Luke Voit against a left-handed pitcher, but Justin Steele has been excellent at avoiding barrels.
Cubs rookie Nelson Velasquez has shown plenty of swing and miss thus far in his time in the big leagues with a 29% strikeout rate, but he’s shown plenty of pop too. His 111.2 max exit velocity indicates solid raw power and his 14.5% barrel rate suggests he should be able to hit plenty of homers in the big leagues. His six homers in 102 plate appearances would scale to 30 homer power for a full season. We get him at +450 in a positive split against a terrible lefty.
Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET
Pick: Aaron Judge +280
Both Nestor Cortes and Jeffrey Springs are due for some negative home run regression and Yankee Stadium continues to be a positive environment for home run hitting. I expected Judge to be closer to +235-250 against a lefty starter and even though it’s the squarest play on the board, I’m willing to back Judge in his chase to break home run records.
He sports a league-best 26.5% barrel rate and a 118 max exit velocity. Springs has a 1.1 HR/9 rate allowed at this point in the year, but most of the projection systems don’t expect him to continue that. He’s sitting between 1.2-1.3 per 9 amongst those projections.
Mets at Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET
Pick: Daniel Vogelbach +560
Vogelbach is an excellent long shot, with the added risk that he could be substituted out of the game in a platoon DH split with Darin Ruf. He smashes right-handed pitching (15 HRs and .910 OPS in 2022) and gets a matchup with Charlie Morton on Tuesday. Morton’s stuff looks as good as ever, but he’s getting barreled more than ever this year. Since June 1, Morton is in the bottom 5 for highest barrel rate allowed amongst qualified starters.
After Pete Alonso, Vogelbach is the best in this Mets lineup. We’re taking a bit of a gamble because he may only get three at-bats before a pinch-hit spot, but Vogelbach has 4 barrels in his last 29 batted balls too. His improving barrel rate as he sees only exclusively righties makes him a good bet against a righty on Tuesday.
Royals at Twins, 7:40 p.m. ET
Pick: Vinnie Pasquantino +500
I’ve written about Pasquantino almost every week in this column, and last week, the Royals first baseman hit home runs in both games of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the White Sox. Since then, Pasquantino has homered three more times. It was only a matter of time for Pasquantino, who has an excellent 12% barrel rate for someone who strikes out less than 15% of his at-bats.
His excellent plate discipline, raw power, and overall quality of contact give him huge MLB hitting upside. I was surprised his line was this high once again, and I will bet him until the books adjust him downward. Similar to Julio Rodriguez early in the year, the books have been slow to adjust to the Italian Breakfast’s breakout.
Rockies at Cardinals, 7:45 p.m. ET
Pick: Nolan Arenado +360
Arenado is third best in baseball in barrels in August and gets a very favorable matchup with lefty Kyle Freeland. Even though Arenado didn’t cash for us last Tuesday, he did homer on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The Cardinals slugger has elite contact skills but his power really shows vs. southpaws. Arenado has a 1.086 OPS against lefties this year and a .688 SLG with nine homers in 86 plate appearances.
Nolan Gorman is showcasing elite contact quality as a rookie, but he’s getting platooned too much and may not start facing a lefty.
Dodgers at Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET
Pick: Max Muncy +400
Who’s the best power hitter in baseball in August? Not Aaron Judge, but Dodgers infielder Max Muncy. He’s had a terrible season by his standards, but there are signs that he’s finally heating up and found his power stroke with his recent barrel numbers. He has 28 batted balls in August and nine have been barrels. That 32.3% barrel rate is too small of a sample to draw anything meaningful from, but this could finally be the positive regression that Muncy has been due for coming to fruition.
People have speculated whether it was injury that affected Muncy. His plate discipline and max power remained elite, but he failed to consistently find power. If this is truly the late season Muncy breakout, I want to be there for it. Even if Muncy is facing a difficult matchup with Brandon Woodruff, he’s the best option on the board for this game.
I’m tempted by Joey Gallo, but too much pinch-hit and out of the lineup risk for the former Yankee.
Other picks: Marcus Semien +370 (TEX), Bo Bichette +430 (TOR), Mitch Haniger +330 (SEA)
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