Best MLB player prop bets for today 5/22: Dodgers offense rolls early

Los Angeles Dodgers player Shohei Ohtani reacts against the San Diego Padres during a MLB regular season Seoul Series game at Gocheok Sky Dome.
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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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Wednesday’s MLB slate includes a full 15-game slate of regularly scheduled action, plus the second half of the Orioles and Cardinals game from yesterday that was suspended due to rain. With so many games on there are several angles worth approaching in the betting markets. Two plays are standing out to me this morning in the prop market that I have locked in already. Let’s break down the best MLB player prop bets to target today, while you can also find out our experts’ MLB picks for the matchups on Wednesday, May 22.

Los Angeles Dodgers first 5 innings team total over 2.5 (-125)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -135 odds. Risking 1u. 

Ryne Nelson is a pitcher I often look to bet against, especially when he draws tough matchups against potent lineups. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ right-hander is in his 2nd full season with the club after what was a shaky rookie season in 2023. All of Nelson’s run prevention indicators were above 5, including a 5.31 ERA, and his quality of contact metrics allowed were rather concerning. Nelson ranked in just the 4th percentile with his 11.6% barrel rate, a mark that led to 24 home runs surrendered. His barrel rate has dropped to 7.4% so far this season through his first 29.1 innings of work, but his xBA and xSLG are both in the 9th percentile or worse.

Nelson is not a pitcher that generates many whiffs, and with opponents generating a 43.6% hard-hit rate that is a concern against this Dodgers lineup. Los Angeles hasn’t been at their absolute best as of late but is still the 7th-best offense against right-handed pitching within the last 30 days in terms of wOBA. When zooming out and looking at how they have performed against right-handed pitching within the first 5 innings in their home games this season, the results are extremely encouraging. Los Angeles ranks 2nd in wOBA behind the Yankees in that sample while 10th in hard-hit rate, 2nd in BB% and 1st in FB%. Their 146 wRC+ in that 428 PA sample gives me confidence that they will perform well in this spot.

Nelson has his earned runs prop sitting at 3.5 for this matchup after allowing 3, 4, and 8 earned runs in his last 3 starts, all within the first 5 innings. Nelson has allowed 29 hits already this month in only 13.2 innings of work, and while his BABIP will surely drop some, this isn’t the spot where I expect positive regression. If you don’t have access to this market, I would take a look at the Dodgers’ full game team total or another derivative market, but I do prefer isolating Nelson within the first 5 innings.

Read our full Arizona Diamondbacks vs Los Angeles Dodgers predictions

Brayan Bello (BOS) over 4.5 strikeouts recorded (-113)

Odds available at Caesars Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -130 odds. Risking 1u.

Targeting the Tampa Bay Rays in the strikeout department has been a profitable endeavor for several seasons, but this has been particularly true against right-handed pitching this season. On the year, the Rays boast the 7th-highest K% at 24.1%, yet opposing starters seem to be offered with reasonable lines to back day after day. This has resulted in 16 of the last 22 right-handed starters clearing their individual strikeout prop, and 20 of the last 25 clearing this 4.5 mark offered to Bello today. I targeted Tampa Bay with Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford in the strikeout market last week and have been looking forward to another spot where I see value.

While Brayan Bello is not a heavy strikeout arm, he does generate enough whiffs with his secondary offerings to make this an enticing spot in my eyes. Both his changeup and slider have whiff rates over 30% this year, and those 2 offerings combine for 60.7% of his pitch usage. Bello is someone I often bet on in the outs-recorded market last season due to his high ground-ball rate and long leash offered by his manager. Bello averaged 93.5 pitches per start last season, often pitching into the 6th inning. He has seen 5 or fewer innings completed in 4 of his 7 starts this year with 6 complete innings in only 1 outing. Still, Bello reached the 100-pitch plateau in his last outing for the first time since April 14, and despite getting roughed up he was just 1 strikeout short against a tougher opponent. He should soon regain his workhorse status with 90-100 pitches regularly.

Before hitting the IL with lat tightness in mid-April, Bello had notched 6, 8 and 7 strikeouts in 3 of his most recent 4 starts. Upon returning from the IL, he was limited to just 68 pitches against a strikeout-averse Nationals lineup before that 100-pitch outing in his last start. Now fully stretched out, pure volume in this matchup should allow him to clear 4.5 strikeouts. I must mention that Bello has struggled against Tampa Bay in recent seasons, allowing 3 or more earned runs in each of their 5 matchups. Still, he has completed 6 full frames in each of the last 3 and has 5 or more punchouts in 3 of those matchups as well. Tampa will likely roll with 5 right-handed batters which plays into Bello’s preferred-handedness split, and the bottom-of-the-order bats can be very strikeout-prone for the Rays. Adam Hamari typically tends to have a pitcher-friendly zone behind the plate as well.

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