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MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks for Friday: 2 Strikeout Totals, Including Eduardo Rodriguez (July 2)

MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks for Friday: 2 Strikeout Totals, Including Eduardo Rodriguez (July 2) article feature image

David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Eduardo Rodriguez.

  • Near the halfway point of the MLB season, there's another full slate of games on Friday night.
  • Kevin Davis is focusing on the Cubs vs. Reds game and Red Sox vs. Athletics games for his pitching props tonight.
  • See whether he's buying or fading some of the games' starters' below.

With a full slate of baseball games, there are many props to choose from on Friday’s Major League Baseball card.

Unfortunately, the betting markets are more efficiently setting strikeout prop totals. Despite this, there are two strikeout props that I like, an over and an under.

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: 58-48, +2 Units, +1.9% ROI

MLB Player Props & Picks

Alec Mills (CHC) — 2.5 Strikeouts (-175/+130)

Cubs at Reds Reds (-160)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
Best Line BetMGM

Despite last year’s no-hitter, Alec Mills is a mediocre pitcher. Mills started the season in the Cubs bullpen. In a mix of relief and starting appearances this season over 37 innings, Mills has a 3-1 record with a 5.11 ERA and a 4.46 xFIP. Additionally, Mills has a strikeout rate of only 6.32 strikeouts per nine innings. This low strikeout rate is not a fluke as Mills had a strikeout rate of 6.64 in 2020.

Even though Mills is a weak pitcher who is bad at getting strikeouts, when someone is this bad there is opportunity. As a result of Mills’ ineptitude on the mound, BetMGM has set Mills’ strikeout total at only 2.5 strikeouts. All season I have been targeting overs on strikeout totals of only 2.5 strikeouts, so the question is should I continue to use this strategy on Friday night with Alec Mills?

In four starts this season, Mills is averaging only 4 1/3 innings per start. In a typical Mills start this year, he has 3.04 strikeouts. However, it is dangerous to rely on such a small sample size. Last season Mills averaged 5 2/3 innings per start. With last year’s workload, Mills would have 3.98 strikeouts in a typical start.

Whether Mills has three or more strikeouts depends solely on Mills. The opposing Cincinnati Reds lineups average 8.72 strikeouts per game which is only .01 fewer strikeouts per game than the median MLB lineup. Mills may not be a strong pitching talent, but having over 2.5 strikeouts in a game is a low bar to reach. The over is worth a bet, and I would bet it up to -190.

Pick: Alec Mills Over 2.5 Strikeouts -175 | Would play up to -190

  • Action Labs Score: 10 (Based on Over 3.5 Strikeouts +135)
  • Kevin Davis Score: 6

Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) — 6.5 Strikeouts (+100/-135)

Red Sox at Athletics Red Sox (-125)
Time 9:40 p.m. ET
Best Line BetMGM

Eduardo Rodriguez missed the 2020 season due to a heart condition related to COVID-19. In 2019, Rodriguez was dominant as he had a 19-6 record with a 3.81 ERA. This season Rodriguez has been unrecognizable.

In 2021, Rodriguez has a 6-4 record with a 5.83 ERA. While Rodriguez has a high career strikeout rate of 10.64 strikeouts per nine innings, his erratic play has caused the Red Sox to decrease his usage. In 2019, Rodriguez averaged nearly six innings per start. This season, Rodriguez is averaging less than 5 1/3 innings.

On a typical night this year, Rodriguez records 6.19 strikeouts. If Rodriguez were to pitch for six innings, he could be expected to have 7.09 strikeouts, which is only slightly above his strikeout total.

Unfortunately for Rodriguez, the opposing Oakland A’s lineup has been disciplined at the plate. While the median MLB team averages 8.73 strikeouts per game, the Athletics average 8.58 strikeouts per game, which is the 11th best in the league. When you adjust Rodriguez strikeout total for the A’s lineup, he should go under his strikeout total.

In my opinion it is not worth trying to thread a needle by assuming that Rodriguez either pitches for more innings than usual or has a much better strikeout rate. With Rodriguez’ potential health issues and his lack of strong play, I believe that he is unlikely to pitch for more than 5 1/3 innings. Against a disciplined Oakland lineup, the under is a smart bet, and I would bet it up to -155.

Pick: Eduardo Rodriguez Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-135) | Would play up to -155

  • Action Labs Score: 6
  • Kevin Davis Score: 6
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