With a full 15-game slate plus a doubleheader between the Guardians and Tigers in Cleveland, we’re not hurting for MLB action on Friday — not to mention options for those looking to profitable player props. With such a loaded menu to choose from, we’re here to help you narrow it down with three of our favorite plays of the evening (all odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook).
MLB player prop bets: Friday, August 18
Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, each over 1.5 total bases (+285)
The St. Louis Cardinals sluggers each get a very, very juicy matchup on Friday night, so let’s combine them into a single parlay to tilt the odds in our favor.
The New York Mets are calling up veteran lefty Joey Lucchesi to make this start, and while he’s put up solid-enough numbers down at Triple-A this season (3.99 ERA, 1.27 WHIP), he’s been overmatched in the bigs: Lucchesi hasn’t appeared in a Major League game since May, when he put up a 7.20 ERA over 10 innings across three starts. With a fastball that doesn’t even crack 90 mph and a microscopic 16.1% whiff rate (some eight points lower than the MLB average), Lucchesi simply doesn’t have the goods to get through a lineup multiple times without pinpoint command and a heap of batted-ball luck.
He’s particularly struggled against righties this season, with a .278/.342/.514 slash line allowed, so you’d be in good shape riding with any of St. Louis’ several right-handed bats on Friday. Goldschmidt and Arenado, though, have absolutely owned Lucchesi in their careers, each slugging over .900 against the southpaw in their careers — with eight extra-base hits in just 38 at-bats. Considering those numbers, and how shaky the underbelly of this Mets bullpen is if Lucchesi only goes three or fours innings, these two All-Stars should be in for very big nights.
Jameson Taillon, under 4.5 strikeouts (+135)
This is admittedly a pretty low number, and on first glance, Taillon’s matchup with the Kansas City Royals on Friday would seem to be a favorable one. But if you haven’t paid attention to Bobby Witt Jr. and Co. of late, you might be surprised to learn that this Royals offense has been absolute nails against righty pitching — with the league’s third-highest team OPS and lowest strikeout rate since the start of August. Taillon isn’t much of a strikeout pitcher to begin with, with a paltry 11% whiff rate and five or more Ks in just three of his last seven starts. Given K.C.’s recent form and Taillon’s pretty pedestrian stuff, you’d be wise to take the juice here.
Andrew Heaney, under 5.5 strikeouts (+110)
Speaking of offensive trends that may surprise you: For much of the first half, the Milwaukee Brewers were literally the worst lineup in baseball against left-handed pitching. Since then, though, the team has turned it around in a major way, with a league-average OPS and a 18.3% strikeout rate that ranks as the seventh-lowest in baseball since the start of August.
There are also several other trendlines working against Heaney in this spot. First is the lefty’s inherent volatility, as he struck out 11 batters against the White Sox at the start of the month but has otherwise come in under this number in each of his six other starts since July 1. As if that weren’t reason enough, Heaney also was forced to leave his last outing after recording only four outs due to illness. He’s reportedly feeling well enough to go on Friday, but we have no idea how much of a leash he’ll have to go deep into this game and rack up enough strikeouts to hit this over.