Wednesday’s MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: Corbin Burnes & Lance McCullers Won’t Go Deep Enough for Strikeout Total (April 14)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Lance McCullers
- Corbin Burnes has a high strikeout rate, and the Detroit Tigers love to swing and miss.
- Despite these facts, neither Burnes nor Lance McCullers are likely to pitch deep into their games.
- Kevin Davis likes both pitchers to go under their strikeout totals.
With a full slate of games, there are tons of props to choose from. And I am targeting two unders on two of the slate’s best pitchers.
For this article I will be evaluating 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: 13-8, +3.17 Units, +15.1% ROI (My action can be followed on the Action App at BoogieDownPicks).
MLB Player Props & Picks
Corbin Burnes (MIL) 8.5 Strikeouts (+110/-141)
|Cubs vs. Brewers||Brewers -175|
|Time||1:40 p.m. ET|
Corbin Burnes is one of the most vexing pitchers in the Milwaukee Brewers rotation. Last year Burnes averaged 13.27 strikeouts per nine innings and this season after two starts, Burnes is averaging 14.59 strikeouts per nine innings. Based on Burnes’ strikeout rate, if Burnes pitches for 5 2/3 innings he should go over his strikeout total of 8.5 strikeouts.
However, that is a tough needle to thread as Burnes must strikeout batters at his exceptionally high strikeout rate and pitch for more innings than usual. That is why I like his under for today.
In the past Burnes has been a cross between a long reliever and a short starter. Last season Burnes averaged fewer than 5 1/3 innings per start. This season Burnes has pitched for six innings in both of his starts.
There are two reasons why I do not think that Burnes will keep pitching for around six innings per start. The first reason is because in twelve innings he has only given up two hits and one earned run. Over the course of a longer season, he should give up more hits and runs which will cause the Brewers to take him out of games earlier.
The other reason is because in both of his starts this season, Burnes threw only 86-87 pitches, which is incredibly low for six innings. Once Burnes starts throwing more pitches per inning, his innings per start will fall.
His strikeout rate is also artificially high at 14.59 K/9 thanks to a small sample size. For the season, FanGraphs projects Burnes to average 11.52 strikeouts per nine innings. This would mean that Burnes would have to pitch for seven innings on a typical night to have nine or more strikeouts. If you’re betting the over, you’re buying very high on both his usage and strikeout rate — so I’m playing the under.
Pick: Corbin Burnes Under 8.5 Strikeouts (-141). Would play up to -150 (DraftKings)
- Action Labs Score: 10
- Kevin Davis Score: 8
Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU) 7.5 Strikeouts (+120/-155)
|Tigers vs. Astros||Astros -250|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
Out of all 30 MLB teams, the Tigers have the highest strikeout rate this season at 9.91 per game. As the Detroit lineup is currently constructed for tonight’s game, my model projects them to average 9.79 strikeouts against neutral pitching.
Despite Detroit’s strikeout-prone lineup, Lance McCullers’ strikeout total has been set too high on McCullers.
The best reason to bet on McCullers having under 7.5 strikeouts is because of his lack of usage. In 2020, McCullers averaged only five innings per start. In two starts this season, McCullers is also averaging only five innings per start. With a career strikeout rate of 10.03 strikeouts per nine innings, McCullers must pitch much better than I expect in order to have eight or more strikeouts.
My model is conservative on McCullers’ usage projections, as I expect McCullers to pitch for almost 5 2/3 innings yet have only 6.1 strikeouts. At such a steep price, I would still recommend McCullers under due to his lack of usage.
Pick: Lance McCullers Under 7.5 Strikeouts (-155). Would play up to -165 (DraftKings)
- Action Labs Score: 9
- Kevin Davis Score: 7