Tuesday’s MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: 3 Pitchers to Fade, Including Lucas Giolito (April 6)
Ron Vesely/Getty Images. Pictured: Lucas Giolito #27 of the Chicago White Sox.
- Kevin Davis is looking at three of the top pitchers on Tuesday night's MLB slate and fading each one of their strikeout totals.
- Read his full analysis for each matchup below.
After finishing 3-0 on my three player props yesterday, I am back with three more MLB player props for today’s slate. With a full slate of games, there are many props to choose among. For today’s slate, I am targeting unders on strong 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. Additionally, I will be adding my own personal grades as well.
Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I am playing, the case for each bet, and the best books to find odds on those player props.
MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks
2021 MLB Pitcher Prop Record: 7-2, +4.26 Units, +47.3% ROI (My action can be followed on the Action App at BoogieDownPicks)
Max Scherzer Under 9.5 Strikeouts (-148)
|Braves vs. Nationals||Nationals -121|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
After a long wait, the Nationals season finally starts today. Unsurprisingly the Nats are relying on their best arm Max Scherzer against the Braves. Scherzer should have a big game for Washington, but his strikeout total is inflated to either 8.5 at BetMGM or 9.5 at DraftKings. The under on both are good bets, but I am taking the extra strikeout.
Skilled pitchers can frequently notch 10 or more strikeouts in a game. Scherzer is one of those pitchers who will occasionally throw for a 10 or more strikeouts, but most of the time he will not. Last season in 12 starts, Scherzer threw for 10 or more strikeouts in five of those starts.
Most importantly Scherzer had a strikeout rate of 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings. For this season, PECOTA projects Scherzer to throw for a strikeout rate of 11.28 per nine innings.
With Scherzer likely to have a drop off in strikeouts this season, I like his strikeout total under today even though it will be a sweat. The Nationals should limit Scherzer’s usage to only six innings today meaning Scherzer would have to strikeout most of the batters he faces to go over his total.
Pick: Scherzer Under 9.5 (-148 up to -165) or Under 8.5 (-115 up to -125)
Action Labs Score: 6 (Based on 8.5)
Kevin Davis Score: 8 (Based on 9.5), 4 (Based on 8.5)
Yu Darvish Under 8.5 Strikeouts (+105)
|Giants vs. Padres||Padres -200|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
As part of an active offseason, the Padres acquired many players including Yu Darvish. After having a choice among several talented starting pitchers, San Diego chose to make Darvish the ace of their rotation. On Opening Day, Darvish pitched for only 4 2/3 innings allowing eight hits, four earned runs, and notching only six strikeouts.
The single most important criteria for how many strikeouts a pitcher will have is over how many innings they pitch. If Darvish pitches for less than five innings again, he goes under his strikeout total of 8.5 strikeouts. If Darvish pitches for his usual six innings per game, he probably goes under as well. That is why I am taking the under at +105 on Darvish going under his total.
Last season Darvish averaged 6 1/3 innings per start which was much higher than the average starter who pitched for fewer than five innings. This season Darvish is projected by FanGraphs ZIPS projections to average less than six innings per start.
With Darvish likely to pitch for fewer innings this season, I am looking for situations like today to take the under on his strikeout total. Additionally, last season even with his increased usage, Darvish only threw for nine or more strikeouts in 41.7% of his starts.
Last season Darvish averaged 11.01 strikeouts per nine innings. This season he should average around the same amount. However, to throw for nine strikeouts are more in six innings, Darvish needs to have a strikeout rate that is 36% higher than his typical strikeout rate to go over his total with his projected usage. Darvish simply will not get enough innings to go over his strikeout total in today’s game.
Pick: Darvish Under 8.5 Strikeouts (+105) would play up to -120
Action Labs Score: 10
Kevin Davis Score: 8
Lucas Giolito Under 8.5 Strikeouts (+100)
|White Sox vs. Mariners||White Sox -145|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
Like my other two pitcher prop picks today, Lucas Giolito is a talented pitcher whose strikeout total is inflated too high. Last season Giolito averaged 11.9 strikeouts per game, and around six innings per start. It should not be a surprise that Giolito has a high strikeout total.
However, For Giolito to go over his total for today’s game, he either must pitch for more innings or strikeout more batters than usual. Even against a weak team like the Mariners, I believe that Giolito should go under his total for tonight’s game.
Assuming Giolito has a typical strikeout rate for tonight’s game, Giolito must throw for about seven innings to notch the nine strikeouts he needs to go over his total. While Giolito did have nine or more strikeouts in half of his games last season, he only threw for seven or more innings in a quarter of his starts.
The most likely result for today’s game is that Giolito throws for six innings and has only has seven or eight strikeouts. At better than even money odds this is a good bet to place.
Pick: Giolito Under 8.5 Strikeouts (+100) would play up to -125
Action Labs Score: 10
Kevin Davis Score: 6