* NBC Sports Washington editor Prince J. Grimes picks his favorite prop bet from today's action.
Prince’s Prop: Under 0.5 for the 1st Inning Total (-110)
Bonus: Jeff McNeil to get a hit (-320) for a parlay at +141
The last week-plus of the Major League Baseball season may have been tough for some Nationals fans, accustomed to seeing a team playing competitive, meaningful games for most of the last decade. The writing was on the wall, however, for a team destined to sell at the July 30 trade deadline, and in the 10 games since, the Nats are just 3-7.
But on the bright side, it could always be worse, and the New York Mets are a nearby example of that. They held first place in the NL East at the deadline, a spot they occupied for nearly three months, seemingly the favorites to win the division. But they’ve gone 2-8 since then, falling to third place in the division, 2.5 games out of first.
A major reason for their swift fall from No. 1 is a dramatic decline in offensive production, for a team that already struggled in that department. Their below-average 96 wRC+ from the start of the season through July 29 ranked 16th in all of baseball. That number is just a 67 in the 10 games since, fifth-worst in MLB. Pre-deadline, they had a batting average of .237 (17th) and OPS of .703 (21st). Since then, they’re hitting a league-worst .188 with a .587 OPS, third-worst in the majors.
To be fair, New York’s pitching hasn’t been all that great either, but it’s the terrible offensive production combined with Washington’s recent struggles that makes this a tough matchup to pinpoint individual success. The Nationals are in the midst of a 1-6 stretch where they’re averaging just over four runs. The Mets are in a 1-7 stretch where they’re averaging a paltry 2.5 runs.
My favorite prop bet from this game plays on the assumption those offensive struggles continue for both teams, at least to start the game, as the pitching matchup features two guys neither side has seen much of in Paolo Espino and Carlos Carrasco. PointsBet Sportsbook has -110 odds for the first inning total score to fall under 0.5 runs. Over the last week, these teams have combined for just one run scored in the first inning. You have to go back nearly two weeks for the last time the Mets scored a first-inning run.
Espino has struggled as of late, like much of the Nationals pitching staff, so a breakthrough for the Mets is possible, especially as they return home from a seven-game road trip. But maybe that doesn’t happen the first time through the order -- if at all. Espino threw five shoutout innings against New York on June 28.
To improve the value of this pick, Jeff McNeil coming through with a hit at -320 odds makes for a nice parlay at +141. McNeil is hitting .333 at home against right-handed pitchers this season, and that number is .419 since the start of July. He has a .440 BABIP in 31 at-bats in that span. The NBC Sports Edge projection tool has him with a game-high 1.05 hits projection and a 69% success rate.
Odds provided by our partner, PointsBet