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Monday MLB Player Props: The Bets to Make on Gerrit Cole & Yusei Kikuchi (May 17)

Monday MLB Player Props: The Bets to Make on Gerrit Cole & Yusei Kikuchi (May 17) article feature image

Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Yusei Kikuchi.

  • There's a limited number of games on today's MLB slate, but Kevin Davis has found two pitcher props he likes.
  • Davis has found player props on Gerrit Cole and Yusei Kikuchi, and he is fading both of them in their starts.
  • Check out each breakdown followed by a pick and prediction below.

With a slate of only nine games, there are not that many props to choose from today. But there are still two strikeout props that I like, and they’re both unders.

For this article, I will evaluate my favorite MLB player props based on what my model likes and what the Action Labs Player Prop tool likes. The Action Labs Player Prop tool grades each bet on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade. I will be adding my own personal grades as well.

Below, I have laid out two prop bets that I am playing, the case for each bet, and the best books to find odds on those player props.

2021 MLB Pitcher Prop Record: 27-28, -5.12 Units, -9.3% ROI (My action can be followed on the Action App at BoogieDownPicks).

MLB Player Props & Picks

Gerrit Cole (NYY) Under 9.5 Strikeouts (+125)

Yankees vs. Rangers Yankees -300
Time  8:08 p.m. ET
Best Book BetMGM

From a betting perspective, Monday night’s game between the Yankees and Rangers looks like a snooze fest.

The Yankees are one of the best teams in the league, and the Rangers are one of the worst. New York will rely on its best starting pitcher in Gerrit Cole, while the Rangers are relying on a mediocre Jordan Lyles as their starting pitcher.

Despite the lopsided nature of Monday’s game, the pitcher props look intriguing.

Oddsmakers have set Gerrit Cole’s strikeout total at 9.5 strikeouts, and at some sites, his total is at 10.5 strikeouts. Cole is the betting favorite to win the AL Cy Young at +120 odds on DraftKings. He has a 1.37 ERA, and a strikeout rate of 13.33 strikeouts per nine innings.

Additionally, he’s averaging almost 6 2/3 innings per start. With a high strikeout rate and high usage rate, it’s not inconceivable that Cole goes over his strikeout total.

However, Cole needs to pitch better than usual to have 10 or more strikeouts. On a typical 6 2/3 inning start, Cole has 9.88 strikeouts. Even though Cole is pitching well this season, he should regress and have a strikeout total of 12.38 strikeouts per nine innings while averaging only six innings per start.

With a 12.38 K/9 mark and in six innings of action, Cole would have 8.25 strikeouts. Even against a strikeout-prone Rangers lineup, Cole should go under his high strikeout total. At +125 odds, the under is too good to pass up.

Pick: Gerrit Cole (NYY) Under 9.5 Strikeouts (+125 | Play to +100)

  • Action Labs Score: 10
  • Kevin Davis Score: 8

Yusei Kikuchi (SEA) Under 7.5 Strikeouts (-148)

Tigers vs. Mariners Mariners -180
Time  10:10 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

After his first two MLB seasons were mediocre, Mariners starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi is finally starting to put it all together.

Kikuchi has a 4.30 ERA and averages 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Most importantly for strikeout props, Kikuchi is averaging 6 1/3 innings per start. The question for Monday night’s game against the lowly Tigers is whether or not Kikuchi can climb over 7.5 strikeouts.

Since 2020, Kikuchi has pitched in 16 starts, and his strikeout total has never been set this high. In fact, his second-highest strikeout total over the last two years was 5.5 strikeouts in his last start against the LA Dodgers. In that game, Kikuchi posted 11 strikeouts, and he appears poised to possibly go over his total again.

However, Kikuchi should go under his strikeout total.

Even though the opposing Detroit lineup averages 9.91 strikeouts per game — the worst mark in the league — Kikuchi will have a difficult time going over his strikeout total.

In a typical start Kikuchi should pitch for 6 1/3 innings and have 6.47 strikeouts. Even when you adjust his total for the Tigers’ lineup, Kikuchi should still go under his strikeout total, and that is why I am taking the under.

Pick: Yusei Kikuchi (SEA) Under 7.5 Strikeouts (-148 | Play to -170)

  • Action Labs Score: 10 (Based on 6.5 Strikeouts)
  • Kevin Davis Score: 7
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