Freedman’s Favorite Strikeout Player Props for the 2019 MLB Season
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer
- The first full day of the 2019 MLB season starts on Thursday, March 28.
- Matthew Freedman breaks down his season-long player prop-betting strategy and highlights some of his favorite strikeout props.
Each day, I publish at least one quick-n’-dirty piece highlighting a favorite prop of mine. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.
The 2019 MLB season begins in earnest this week, and in this piece I’m going to highlight some of my favorite player props for strikeouts.
For daily player props, follow me in The Action Network app. And be sure to check out my other season-long MLB prop pieces.
2019 Year-to-Date Record
372-296-13, +54.31 Units
- NFL: 21-13-0, +11.72 Units
- NBA: 211-157-4, +33.96 Units
- NHL: 66-80-7, -7.57 Units
- Golf: 4-7-1, -2.35 Units
- NASCAR: 5-8-0, -1.70 Units
- NCAAB: 42-28-1, +8.61 Units
- NCAAF: 0-1-0, -1.00 Units
- Exotic: 23-2-0, +12.64 Units
Freedman’s Strikeout Player Prop Strategy for the 2019 MLB Season
Mark Gallant has noted that last year almost 70% of season-long MLB player props hit the under. That number is high, but I don’t think it’s an anomaly due to a variety of factors, primarily injury, inflated lines and selection bias.
As a result, I’m heavily investing in unders this year. Here’s my process.
- Shop around to find the highest lines for each prop.
- Bet the under for each prop.
- Win money in six months.
If I knew a lot about baseball, this bet-the-board strategy would almost certainly have a negative expected value relative to a more nuanced approach.
As it is, I think this strategy will still be profitable.
Freedman’s Strikeout Player Props for the 2019 MLB Season
Here are five strikeout player props I particularly like.
Max Scherzer Under 273.5 (-115)
I have mad respect for Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer. Over the past seven years he’s been one of the best starters in baseball, and in each of the past three years he’s led the National League in strikeouts, averaging 284 per season.
But over the past 10 years, just nine times has a pitcher thrown at least 274 strikeouts in a season. Scherzer has done it three times, so he’s more than capable of hitting the over, but in each season he’s had 274 Ks he’s also had at least 33 starts.
If Scherzer suffers even a minor injury this year and misses a couple of starts, he will struggle to hit the over.
Jacob deGrom Under 250.5 (-115)
New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom was maybe the most dominant pitcher in baseball last year thanks to his MLB-leading 1.70 ERA, 1.99 FIP and 0.4 home runs per nine innings. He more than earned the NL Cy Young Award.
He also hit career-high marks with 169 strikeouts, 217.0 innings and 32 starts.
I’m betting on regression.
Last year was deGrom’s first with more than 240 strikeouts. As good as he is, getting more than 250 two years in a row is a difficult feat.
Gerrit Cole Under 245.5 (-125)
Pitcher Gerrit Cole had the best campaign of his career last year in his first season with the Houston Astros. He finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting, led the entire league with 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings and threw a career-high 276 strikeouts.
But before 2018, Cole had never thrown more than 202 strikeouts in a season.
If Cole regresses or misses time to an injury, he should easily hit the under.
Note: This line is also available at 200.5 in the market. If you want to try to hit that juicy 45-strikeout middle, go for it. You can bet over 200.5 at -115 odds.
Trevor Bauer Under 219.5 (-115)
Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer has been a steady member of the starting rotation since 2014, and last year he had his breakout campaign, hitting career-best marks with his 2.21 ERA, 2.44 FIP and 221 strikeouts.
I doubt he’ll approach those numbers again: In his first four years as a regular starter, Bauer averaged a 4.30 ERA and 4.06 FIP as well as 169.3 strikeouts.
It’s more than reasonable to expect regression.
Luis Severino Under 212.5 (-130)
This is what free money looks like.
New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino has inflammation in his right rotator cuff and is expected to be out till May.
Over the past couple of seasons — his only two full years as a starter — Severino has averaged 225 strikeouts per year on 192.1 innings in 31.5 games.
It’s possible that 20% of the season could be over by the time Severino throws his first pitch.