Thursday’s Top Prop Pick
MLB Pick: Tommy Edman to Get a Hit (-165) at BetMGM
All three of our MLB player props for Thursday are members of the St. Louis Cardinals, who are about to feast on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- Tommy Edman to Get a Hit (-165) at BetMGM
- Nolan Gorman to Get a Hit (-130) at BetMGM
- Alec Burleson to Get a Hit (-230) at BetMGM
Thursday, April 13, 2023 – 07:45 PM EDT at Busch Stadium
If you were a big-league hitter, which team would you most want to play against? Kids dream about facing the New York Yankees, or maybe the Los Angeles Dodgers – but adults know better. They know their chances of success will be much greater against, say, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It just so happens that the three tastiest props on the MLB odds board at press time are all for Thursday’s game between the Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals. We have three different Cardinals hoping to get at least one hit; here they are, including their payouts on the early lines:
- RF Alec Burleson (-230)
- SS Tommy Edman (-165)
- 3B Nolan Gorman (-130)
All three of these MLB props deserve a decent bet size, but the Edman and Gorman props offer the most betting value – enough to be worth investing two units of your bankroll, in our humble opinion.
Who’s Pitching for the Pirates?
Before we consider our three hitters, let’s introduce the man they’ll face this Thursday: Vince Velasquez, a 30-year-old northpaw with a career 4.36 xFIP since making his MLB debut in 2015 with the Houston Astros.
Velasquez was shipped off to the Philadelphia Phillies the following year in the Ken Giles trade and showed some promise before the injury bug bit him. The Pirates are already his fifth team in the bigs; Velasquez is their No. 5 starter, and he got rocked in his first two appearances, coughing up eight earned runs in 7.1 innings of work.
If Velasquez gets another early hook in Start No. 3, our trio of Cardinals may have already done the required damage. If not, they’ll be met by the best bullpen in baseball – at least according to the WAR charts (Wins Above Replacement) at FanGraphs, where the Pirates are the first to reach 1.0 WAR this year.
Pirates Are Getting the Booty
That’s what a 4-0 record and six saves in 12 games can do for you. It’s why the Pirates are 7-5 (plus-3.65 betting units) to start the 2023 campaign, ahead of the 5-7 Cardinals (minus-3.08 units) in the National League Central standings.
They didn’t win either of Velasquez’ two starts, though. The California native allowed a combined 11 hits to the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox, including a pair of home runs, and Velasquez walked five while striking out just four. He’s a strong candidate to get lit up again this Thursday at Busch Stadium.
What’s Wrong With the Cardinals?
Starting the year 5-7 isn’t ideal, but don’t blame the hitters: St. Louis ranks fourth overall in batting at 2.3 WAR as we go to press, and sixth in total hits at 109.
Those hits are coming from all across the diamond. 3B Nolan Arenado and 1B Paul Goldschmidt are the usual suspects, tied for the team lead at 16 hits, but they’re getting ample support from our target players:
- Edman: 11-for-38 (.289 BA)
- Gorman: 10-for-32 (.313)
- Burleson: 9-for-30 (.300)
Gorman has been especially productive, with four home runs and a team-high 1.186 OPS, but you don’t get bonus points for slugging with these baseball props. All we need are base hits.
As it turns out, only one of these three batters has ever dealt with Velasquez at the big-league level, and he’s our primary MLB pick for Thursday. Edman, the fifth-year utility guy, is 3-for-6 lifetime off Velasquez with a double and a 1.167 OPS.
The current St. Louis roster as a whole has a .920 lifetime OPS against Velasquez, so again, he’s a strong candidate for more of the same this Thursday. FantasyData projects 1.10 hits for Burleson, and 0.88 each for Edman and Gorman.
It’s always a good idea to check the weather reports before making your MLB picks. Thursday’s reports call for mostly cloudy skies and game-time temperatures around 60 degrees with light winds blowing from first to third base, so nothing much there to help or hinder our three Cardinals at the plate.
One more wrinkle of note: The Pirates might be a bit tired after facing Houston at home on Wednesday, where they ended up using three relievers for three combined innings in a 7-0 loss.
MLB Pick: Nolan Gorman to Get a Hit (-130) at BetMGM
MLB Pick: Alec Burleson to Get a Hit (-230) at BetMGM