Best MLB Opening Day Player Props: Glasnow brings the heat to Miami

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow (20) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins during spring training at Charlotte Sports Park.

After a two-year wait, we finally get another normal Opening Day! With a solid 13-game slate, we’ll see many narratives in play – will the Dodgers repeat? How will the revamped Padres and their new ace Yu Darvish start the season? Is this finally the year Mike Trout and the Angels get back to the playoffs? There is no shortage of intrigue as we begin the first full season post-COVID, and make sure to check out our picks on the side and total for all those matchups.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the best player props for today’s games.

Tyler Glasnow Over 6.5 Strikeouts (-130)

Glasnow burst onto the MLB scene as a bonafide ace in 2020, posting ridiculous velocity numbers (average fastball velocity: 96.9) accompanied by equally electric strikeout rates – his K% of 38.2 ranked third among all starters with at least 50 innings pitched. Since debuting in 2016, Glasnow has steadily improved and is ready to step into not just the undisputed number one starter role for the Rays, but the Cy Young award race as well. In his final Spring Training start, Glasnow struck out half the Minnesota Twins batters he faced, with 10 Ks in five IP (79 pitches).

While Spring Training is a difficult indicator for regular season success, the important takeaway is that Glasnow doesn’t require a high number of innings or pitches to record his share of strikeouts. In his first start of 2020, he struck out 9 with just 72 pitches. Facing a Marlins team that ranked bottom-10 in K% against RHP last season, if he gets around 80 pitches he should be well-positioned to dominate early and set the tone for the Rays’ season, hitting this line as well.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Tampa Bay Rays vs Miami Marlins.

Fernando Tatis Jr. Over 2.5 Hits, Runs, and RBIs (-110)

Manny Machado Over 2.5 Hits, Runs, and RBIs (-110)

Perhaps the new face of baseball, no player has seen a more meteoric rise in the last year than Tatis. After an injury-plagued rookie year where he flashed talent but also a high strikeout rate, a propensity to miss time, and an inability to play shortstop, Tatis flipped the league on its head with his outstanding sophomore campaign, where he appeared to be the top candidate for MVP for the first half of the season. Although he didn’t end up winning that award, Tatis set the stage for prominence in 2021, and slugged several deep home runs in Spring Training that increased the hype. Like Tatis, Machado has seen a rejuvenation in his career, increasing his SLG from .462 in 2019 to .580 in 2020.

The dynamic duo gets perhaps the easiest Opening Day matchup in all of baseball, facing a former ace in Madison Bumgarner whose decreased velocity and pitch effectiveness is bad news against a power bat like Tatis. Bumgarner’s velocity has declined year over year from 92.7 MPH in 2015 to as low as 85.7 MPH in 2020; Spring Training readings indicate continued velocity drops in 2021. Bumgarner was hit hard in both his appearances against the Padres last season, particularly in his second outing, where his final statline read: 2 IP / 5 H / 6 ER. In that outing, both Tatis and Machado hit massive home runs, producing 5 and 6 hits/runs/RBI’s, respectively. With a plus matchup again today, they should be set up to produce similar results.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Diego Padres.

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