Best MLB prop bets for today 5/5: Braves and Padres bats score early

NL East Braves look to continue success
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Javan Shouey


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A lifelong sports fan from Northwestern Pennsylvania. Die-hard supporter of the Steelers, Pirates and Cavaliers. Insane passion for writing about sports and helping others improve. Incredibly thankful for the platform Pickswise is giving me. For Javan Shouey media enquiries, please email
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With a loaded Cinco de Mayo slate featuring all 30 MLB teams in action, this Sunday should be an entertaining one in the world of baseball. We have Cy Young contending aces taking the mound, as well as struggling arms attempting to make it back to the big leagues.

I have found 2 plays that stand out to me as value at plus money prices this morning and have explained why I like them below. Let’s dive in!

Atlanta Braves first 5 innings team total over 2.5 (+105)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -125 odds. Risking 1u.

I mentioned on Wednesday how May is a good month for locating pitchers who are clear regression candidates, and James Paxton is someone who stands out to me. His 3.51 ERA through his first 25.2 innings of the season are shadowed by some extremely worrisome underlying metrics. The southpaw ranks 2nd percentile in walk rate this season with his opponents drawing free passes a remarkable 19.3% of the time. That walk rate is higher than 19 different qualified starting pitcher’s strikeout rates this season. Paxton’s own K% is a paltry 13.2%, the 5th lowest mark among pitchers with 20 or more innings of work. He is generating chases on pitches outside the zone at just a 7th percentile mark, and when in the zone opponents are making him pay as well. Paxton sits just 12th percentile with opponents generating a 46.8% hard-hit rate against him through his first 77 batted balls. His 9.1%-barrel rate is another worrisome aspect to his game, especially when facing tougher lineups with power like the Atlanta Braves.

Paxton has walked 5, 1, 8, 3 and 5 batters in his 5 starts, and his 58.1% strike rate is the 4th lowest mark among qualified pitchers. With how many baserunners he has been allowing he is extremely fortunate to have an ERA in the mid-3’s. His current 82.1% LOB% is 7.2% higher than last season and his highest mark since a 4-start sample as a rookie. Opponents just haven’t been able to capitalize on their golden opportunities, but Paxton’s 6.16 xERA, 5.57 FIP, 6.23 xFIP, 6.83 SIERA, and -6.3% K-BB% are all pointing to an ensuing blowup.

The Braves have hit left-handed pitching well this season, ranking 7th in wOBA, 2nd in hard-hit rate, and producing a 121 wRC+. When on the road against southpaws they rank 5th in wOBA with a 119 wRC+. They have seen only 10 left-handed starting pitchers so far but have scored 3 or more within the first 5 innings in 6 of those games, including tougher matchups against guys like Ranger Suarez and Jesus Luzardo. Paxton has his outs recorded prop set at 14.5 with just -145 juice towards the over. His earned runs allowed prop sits at 3.5, yet the Atlanta F5 team total is a plus-money 2.5. With the Dodgers ability to extend innings with shaky infield defense, I will gladly take the chance at an unearned run while also getting a discounted number.

San Diego Padres first 5 innings team total over 2.5 (+105)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -125 odds. Risking 1u.

The San Diego Padres made headlines by acquiring Luis Arraez from the Miami Marlins 2 days ago, and the 2-time batting champion joined the lineup last night with a 4-hit effort. He scored 2 of the team’s 13 runs, but today I just want 3 from them within the first 5 innings of play. There are easy jokes to be made about the team’s defensive plans after seemingly acquiring strictly middle infielders, but adding a bat like Arraez to the lineup makes them one of the deeper units in the sport. We saw the Padres drop He-Seong Kim to the 9-hole in last night’s game and he responded well with a 3-run homer. They were already a low strikeout rate unit offensively, and adding one of the premier contact bats in the sport will only help lower that rate. The Padres were also already productive against right-handed pitching before this acquisition. On the year against right-handers they sit 3rd in wOBA with a 122 wRC+ and the league’s highest batting average.

San Diego has scored 3 or more runs within the first 5 innings against 6 of the last 8 right-handed starting pitchers they have seen, and today they get an opportune matchup against a familiar opponent. Ryne Nelson will start for Arizona, making his return from the 15-day IL with an elbow issue. He has not made a rehab outing, just strictly bullpen work, and this is a spot I would likely have bet against him even if on traditional 4 or 5 days of rest. Nelson faced the Padres 3 times last season, allowing 3, 5 and 6 earned runs while failing to pitch past the 5th inning in any of those outings. He is already a low K% arm to begin with, and in this matchup I expect a ton of balls to be put in play. His struggles have come against either handedness of batter, allowing hard contact regardless, and I expect a string performance early from this Padres lineup.

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