Best MLB prop bets for today, 10/28: Texas leans on Montgomery and Seager

Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager (5) looks on during the game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
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Game 1 of the 2023 World Series surpassed expectations with an 11-inning thriller ending in an Adolis Garcia walk-off home run. With Texas leading the series 1-0 the Rangers will look to continue their home-field advantage before heading to Arizona.

Jordan Montgomery and Corey Seager have been two of the team’s best and most consistent players this season, and this article highlights plus-money leans on each of them You can also read our full World Series Game 2 predictions but now let’s dive in!

Jordan Montgomery over 16.5 outs recorded (+102) (lean)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing. Would need over 15.5 -125 or better for a 0.5u wager.

Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi have served as the co-aces of the Texas Rangers pitching staff this season. With Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer on the payroll that was far from the expectation, but both of these veteran have performed as top-of-rotation arms in 2023. Eovaldi wasn’t his sharpest in yesterday’s contest, lasting a postseason low 4.2 innings while surrendering a postseason-high 5 earned runs. His offense bailed him out with a late comeback win to snag Game 1 at home, but Texas is hoping for a stronger outing from Montgomery tonight.

Texas used 5 relievers after Eovaldi’s 5th-inning exit, and while they are available to pitch again with a day off tomorrow, the Rangers’ rotational depth drops off after their top 2 arms. Dane Dunning, Cody Bradford and Will Smith entered the game while Jon Gray and Jose Leclerc tossed 26 pitches to 6 batters apiece. In a best-of-7 series it would be in the team’s best interest to keep familiarity low and attempt to avoid repeat matchups when unnecessary. Bruce Bochy would love to see his big left-hander throw into the 6th inning, something Montgomery has done in 3 of his 4 postseason starts, and 13 of his 15 starts with the team. Montgomery was acquired from the Cardinals at the trade deadline but closed his regular season with a 2.79 ERA and 3.27 FIP in 11 starts with Texas.

Part of my concern with this bet is that Montgomery has been thrown off his normal routine, appearing out of the bullpen to face 10 batters on 2 days of rest in Game 7 against Houston. Still, the left-hander has had 4 days of rest, and in his 14 regular-season starts on 4 days of rest he posted a solid 3.42 ERA. Montgomery uses 4 pitches at least 10.5% of the time against right-handed batters, making him able to work deep into games with different approaches each time through the order if he desires. His sinker leads the way in terms of usage, and it helps him generate an above-average ground-ball rate. He controls the strike zone well with his 6.2% regular-season BB% ranking in the 82nd percentile, and in the playoffs, he has walked just 4 batters in 25 IP. Arizona has been worse against left-handed pitching this season, and against Montgomery’s particular pitch mix they rank in the bottom 10 across the board since the All-Star break. This prop was set at 15.5 earlier in the day and I regrettably missed the best price, but I do still believe Montgomery can clear this line.

Corey Seager (TEX) over 0.5 walks (+125) (lean)

Odds available at BetMGM Sportsbook at time of publishing. Would need +140 or better for a 0.5u wager.

Now that Yordan Alvarez and Bryce Harper have been eliminated from the playoffs, more attention should begin to shift to the most productive offensive shortstop in the sport, Corey Seager. The left-handed batter signed a massive contract with Texas prior to last season, and in his debut campaign with the team he clubbed 33 home runs. He matched that total this season despite 116 fewer at-bats, and with the absence of the defensive shift his average spiked from .245 to .327. Seager set a career-highs with 96 RBI and a 1.013 OPS as the Rangers offense was one of the better groups in baseball during the regular season.

The 6’4″ shortstop has continued his hot hitting in the postseason, posting an even higher 1.158 OPS. He has 9 extra-base hits and last night he hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie the game at 5-5. Outside of Houston, who walked him only once in their 7-game series, Seager’s opponents have been hesitant to throw him pitches with runners on base. Overall, he has 14 walks in 63 playoff PA this year while walking at least once in all 7 non-Houston games. That includes a 5-walk game against Baltimore in Game 2 and 2 walks in Game 1 of this series with Arizona. The Diamondbacks were hesitant to throw pitches in the zone to Harper in their series with the Phillies, walking the lefty slugger 6 times in their series.

Even if the plan isn’t to pitch around Seager, Merrill Kelly is more than capable of losing control against a left-handed batter. His 8.4% walk rate against right-handed batters spiked to 10.9% against lefties in the regular season, and overall, his 9.4% BB% sat just 34th percentile. The right-hander has been a consistent arm for Arizona this season, but his struggles have mainly come on the road. Seager flashed more patience against right-handed pitching this season and with all things considered I expect Seager to walk in more games than he doesn’t this series, especially considering the Arizona starters are all right-handed.

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