Listen, I’m a cynic, okay? I tend to be skeptical about a lot of things, and, right now, I’m convinced that home run prop betting is not a good idea. In fact, let’s go a step further; I’ll call it a scam.
Even the best guys in MLB homer only once every three games on average. There are cold stretches and hot stretches, but picking the correct games for batters to homer, now that’s the real challenge.
So, let’s conduct an experiment. Allow me, an aimless, self-appointed baseball aficionado to lay my integrity on the line.
MLB Home Run Betting Record: This is Possible?
|Record||Average Odds||Unit Profit|
Huh. Perhaps this endeavor isn't as much of a scam as I thought. One bad day, however, can torpedo a once-healthy bankroll.
MLB Home Run Betting Picks
|Date||Player||Odds To Hit A Home Run||Value||Reason For Pick|
|May 31||George Springer (TOR)||+550||-1 (L)||Fading a poor pitcher (Julio Teheran), backing a hot hitter|
|May 31||Pete Alonso (NYM)||+370||-1 (L)||MLB HR King facing Aaron Nola, whom he hits well|
|May 31||JD Martinez (LAD)||+340||-1 (L)||On a homer streak and facing Patrick Corbin|
|June 1||Kris Bryant (COL)||+600||-1 (L)||Excellent track record vs Zach Davies|
|June 1||Kyle Schwarber (PHI)||+230||-1 (L)||A notorious power hitter with a good slash vs Max Scherzer|
|June 1||Josh Naylor (CLE)||+450||-1 (L)||Famous for wild HR streaks + he's been hot lately|
|June 2||Mookie Betts (LAD)||+445||4.45 (W)||High SLG + lots of HRs lately|
|June 2||Anthony Rizzo (NYY)||+500||-1 (L)||Despite L vs L matchup, Rizzo has good power splits vs Clayton Kershaw|
|June 2||Fernando Tatis Jr. (SDP)||+350||-1 (L)||Swinging a hot bat with high SLG|
|June 5||Nolan Arenado (STL)||+265||-1 (L)||Enormous power splits vs LHPs, faces Martin Perez|
|June 5||Yordan Alvarez (HOU)||+295||2.95 (W)||Innate power hitter; Alek Manoah has struggled with HRs this year|
|June 5||Bo Bichette (TOR)||+650||-1 (L)||Good value facing pitcher (Brandon Bielak) who allows 1.7 HR/9|
|June 6||Matt Olson (ATL)||+275||-1 (L)||Better vs RHPs, excellent splits vs Carlos Carrasco|
|June 6||Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)||+320||-1 (L)||1.232 OPS since return from injury + one career homer vs Lucas Giolito|
|June 6||Shohei Ohtani (LAA)||+280||2.80 (W)||Ohtani slugging .880 over last six games + homer-happy pitcher|
|June 7||Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL)||+255||-1 (L)||Slugging .600 over his last five + has two career HRs off Max Scherzer|
|June 7||Jorge Soler (MIA)||+330||-1 (L)||Innate HR hitter + facing homer-happy pitcher Jordan Lyles|
|June 7||Yordan Alvarez (HOU)||+300||3.00 (W)||Hot lately + three HRs in 14 PAs vs Chris Bassitt|
|June 8||Anthony Rizzo (NYY) (Game 1 of DH)||+380||-1 (L)||Fading bad pitcher Lance Lynn, against whom Rizzo slugs .622|
|June 8||Nick Castellanos (PHI)||+450||-1 (L)||Hot lately + facing inexperienced LHP|
|June 8||Mookie Betts (LAD)||+350||n/a (didn't play)||Hot lately + facing Graham Ashcraft, who's been awful + homer-prone lately|
On Thursday, I'm rolling with a trio of Anthony Rizzo, Nick Castellanos and Mookie Betts. I'm taking Rizzo because of his excellent power numbers vs Lance Lynn, while the Castellanos and Betts picks have more to do with them facing crappy pitchers than anything else.
Since June 6, I've gone 2-4 (+1.8 units), so let's keep the train moving.
My methods for home run betting
Here's my simple approach to home run prop betting.
Pitcher vs Hitter Splits
Whether it's a juicy pitch a hitter likes or simply a good read on a release point, certain batters tee off against rival pitchers. That's good for home run betting. When I'm considering my homer prop picks, I'll check out which hitters have the most at-bats vs today's pitcher and how high each hitter's slugging percentage is. Remember, we're chasing homers, so power is what matters.
Fading Poor/Homer-Happy Pitchers
This one is self-explanatory. If a pitcher generally sucks (think Patrick Corbin last season) or is very cold, I'll take a flier. If they're especially prone to home runs, that helps, too.
Backing Red-Hot Hitters
The best hitters in baseball heat up and become unstoppable at the dish. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Aaron Judge have each gone through scorching stretches at the plate, racking up extra-base hits and cashing OVERs. Isolating these guys is key for profits.
I'll usually enter FanGraphs' leaderboards and sort by the players with the highest slugging percentage (or weighted on-base average) over the last seven days. If one of those hot hitters matches any of our other two criteria, then I'll be even more likely to make a bet.