Thursday MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: Top Selections to Target, Including Anthony Rizzo & Brandon Woodruff (August 19)

Thursday MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: Top Selections to Target, Including Anthony Rizzo & Brandon Woodruff (August 19) article feature image
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Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Woodruff

  • With one player prop behind us, we've got two more that provide value on the Thursday card.
  • Those props include Anthony Rizzo against the Twins and Brandon Woodruff against the Cardinals.
  • Read below for Tanner McGrath's favorite player props for the Major League Baseball card.

After taking a good, hard look at Thursday’s matchups using the Action Labs Player props tool, I’ve found two strikeout totals on the card that provide value.

Plus, there’s an additional position player prop in the Yankees game that provides value while adding an extra sweat.

Our Action Labs tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, so I’ll be sure to include the grade below my explanation.

MLB Player Props & Picks

Zack Wheeler — Over 6.5 Strikeouts (-135)

Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Phillies (-195)
Time 3:40 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

Wheeler’s a NL Cy Young frontrunner because he’s not just good at his job — he’s good at his job and he pitches a lot of innings.

He leads the NL in innings pitched this season, at 162, which adds up to more than 6 2/3 innings per start. Combine that with his 30.2% strikeout rate, and it’s easy to see how he’s hit over 6.5 strikeouts in 15 of his 24 starts this season.

He’s only hit this number in five of his last 10 starts and four of his nine road starts, but he gets a gift today in the Diamondbacks’ offense.

Against RHPs this season, the Diamondbacks are striking out at the eighth-highest rate in MLB (24.7%). And, against RHPs over the past 30 days, the D’backs are striking out at MLB’s third-highest rate (26.4%). The Diamondbacks have posted the sixth-highest strikeout rate in MLB over the past month (24.3%).

Our Action Labs Player Props tool has Wheeler projected at 7.9 strikeouts today, providing plenty of value on over 6.5 at -140 or better.

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

Anthony Rizzo — Over 1.5 Total Bases (+100)

Yankees vs. Twins Yankees (-155)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
Best Book PointsBet

Every time I get a chance to fade John Gant, I’ll take it.

And, today’s best bet in that category will be on Anthony Rizzo. He just got re-inserted in the lineup after missing 10 days due to COVID protocols, but he’s got a .914 OPS overall since being traded to the Bronx.

Against the hapless Gant, Rizzo is 6-for-12 lifetime with two doubles and a homer. He’s also posted just one strikeout in those ABs while whiffing an impossibly low 7.7% of the time.

Rizzo not only makes a lot of contact against Gant, he smacks the ball when he does. HIs 94 mph average exit velocity has produced a .547 xBA and a .879 xSLG — good for a .615 xwOBA, compared to his .604 wOBA.

So, with Gant’s season-long 5.52 xERA matching up against Rizzo’s season-long .362 xwOBA, I know which side I’m on. I like his bases at even money and would play it down to -110 odds.

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Brandon Woodruff — Over 6.5 Strikeouts (+110)

Brewers vs. Cardinals Brewers (-210)
Time 7:45 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

In yesterday’s column, I decided to fade the Cardinals’ lineup based on Freddy Peralta’s ability. Unfortunately, Peralta got hurt and was pulled after 40 pitches.

Lucky for us, Brandon Woodruff is another immensely talented Brewers starter, and I’m aiming to make back the Peralta losses with Woodruff today.

On the season, Woodruff has hit over 6.5 strikeouts in 13 of 23 starts. That’s a 57% hit rate for a prop that we can bet at plus-money. That includes a start against these Cardinals earlier this season, where Woodruff punched out 10 over 7 2/3 innings.

The Cardinals are striking out at just league-average rates over the past month, but Woodruff strikes out batters at a rate way above league average. He’s striking out 31% of batters faced and upwards of 10 batters per nine innings.

As such, our Action Labs Player Props tool has him projected at 7.3 strikeouts tonight, providing plenty of value on the current number.

Action Labs Grade: 9/10

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