It's a fun weekend of divisional matchups throughout the MLB schedule, and even though not all divisional contests are created equal, there are still nuggets of value to be found in each and every game.
Take today: The Blue Jays-Rays matchup has massive playoff implications for both teams, while the Padres are fighting for their postseason lives when they visit the Rockies (who have long been out of the playoff race).
And then, well, there's the Cubs-Pirates matchup that means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things... but hey those guys are trying their best, so props to them.
Three divisional matchups. Three levels of overall importance. And, for my purposes, the source of three free MLB player prop picks for Saturday, September 24.
MLB props for September 24
Picks made on 9/24/2022 at 12:16 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Today’s best MLB prop bets
The odds widgets below represent the best odds currently available for each betting market at regulated sportsbooks.
Alek Manoah has been the undisputed ace of the Toronto Blue Jays rotation but as we hit the stretch run of the season, with Manoah throwing more and more innings than he ever has and every start adding more pressure in a playoff race, we're seeing the second-year star be not quite as sharp as he has been all season.
Now, Manoah is still getting the job done: his 1.29 ERA this month is his best of the season and he's given up one earned run or fewer in five of his last six starts, but his control has been just a touch less precise from earlier in the year.
Through his first 20 starts, the 24-year-old righty was throwing 67% of his pitches for strikes with just six outings issuing multiple walks — but since August 1, he's given up 2+ free passes six times (in nine starts) with his 8.9% walk rate the 16th-highest among all AL starters with at least 30 innings pitched.
Today he faces a Tampa Bay Rays team that has the seventh-highest walk rate against righties since August 1 and has drawn 25 walks in its last five games, including 11 in the first two games of this series against Toronto.
Also helping us is that Manoah will likely be counted on to deliver at least six innings: The Blue Jays bullpen will likely not have Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, and Yimi Garcia available, meaning Manoah should get pushed to get a few extra outs even after showing signs of fatigue — and the Rays planning to work the count as much as possible.
Let's not get any misconceptions here: Wade Miley is by no means an ace, a rising prospect, or even a guy that's overly fun to watch pitch.
He's a crafty veteran... but he's been solid since returning in September from a shoulder injury that sidelined him since mid-June: The 35-year-old southpaw gave up three earned runs with 11 strikeouts in his first two starts back (nine total innings).
Miley gave up seven total runs in his last outing, but four of them were unearned as he threw 74 pitches across three frames, which is right around his limit per start.
What has me looking at the lefty today, however, is a very juicy matchup against a terrible Pittsburgh Pirates lineup and a very reasonable strikeout total.
Pittsburgh has the second-highest strikeout rate (27.5%) in the majors this month, with that number skyrocketing to an MLB-worst 31.6% against lefties. The Pirates have faced four southpaw starters in September, striking out 24 times in 22 innings, with each starter logging at least four punchouts.
Four Ks would cash the Over on Miley's total today (set at 3.5) and while his chase rate is in line with his career total, his 25.8% whiff rate is more than 3.5 percentage points higher than his career mark.
He's getting swings and misses and faces the most strikeout-happy lineup in baseball today. This gives me a reason to watch this ga — just kidding, I'm not going to watch this... but at least I'll check the boxscore now.
Juan Soto's start to his San Diego Padres career was about as bad as it could have possibly gone, with the superstar hitting .202 with just seven extra-base hits (three home runs) in his first 35 games.
Thankfully for the sweet-swinging Soto, professional sports is a "What have you done for me lately" kind of business — and the 23-year-old slugger has finally started to show signs of life.
Soto is hitting .385 with two dingers and three doubles over his last seven games, including four multi-hit games. He's in the hitters' haven that is Coors Field this weekend (where he went 2-for-5 last night with a 440-foot bomb), and tonight he gets to lock in against struggling righty Chad Kuhl.
After a decent first half that saw him post a 3.49 ERA and .244 opponent batting average from April-June, Kuhl has fallen off a cliff since July 1, posting an 8.53 ERA and .325 OBA.
He's given up at least one home run in 11 straight starts and has surrendered 25 hits in 20 September innings, plus Soto is significantly better against righties (.258/0.51 total bases per AB) than lefties (.216/0.37 TB/AB), so it's a good matchup to bet on this plus-money prop.
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