Friday MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: How to Bet Strikeout Totals for Gerrit Cole & Shohei Ohtani (May 28)
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani.
Over the last week, I am 7-1 on my Major League Baseball strikeout prop picks. While I still have a losing record for the season, it appears that I might have turned a corner.
With a full slate of games on Friday’s slate, there are many props to choose from. Unsurprisingly, most of the pitcher props have been efficiently set for the card. Despite this, there are two strikeout plays that I like that are unders.
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: 36-31, -0.21 Units, -0.3% ROI (My action can be followed on the Action App at BoogieDownPicks).
MLB Player Props & Picks
Gerrit Cole (NYY) — Under 9.5 Strikeouts
|Yankees vs. Tigers||Yankees (-260)|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
It appears that this Christmas, I got a lump of Cole from Santa Claus. Cole is a great pitcher, but virtually every time he starts, I bet the under on his strikeout total. Occasionally, they do well, but watching Cole pitch and waiting for him to be taken out of the game is ulcer-inducing for sure.
Not only did I get a lump of Cole, but so did the Action Labs Player Prop tool. Typically, my model and the Action Network’s model independently agree on taking Cole’s unders. In nine of his 10 starts this season, the TAN model recommended an under in each start. If bettors had tailed the TAN model, they would have gone 6-2-1 for a healthy profit.
What makes this start a little different is that the Tigers have the worst lineup in the league, plus it’s the most strikeout prone. The standard team is averaging 4.35 runs per game, while Detroit is only averaging 3.54 runs and that’s the worst in the American League.
Additionally, the Tigers hitters are averaging 9.91 strikeouts per game, which is the last in the league. The danger to betting Cole’s strikeout total under is that he could pitch well enough for the Yankees to keep him in the game against a strikeout-prone lineup.
Cole is averaging 12.80 strikeouts per nine innings and a little more than 6 1/3 innings per start. In a typical outing, Cole would have 9.13 strikeouts. If you adjusted Cole’s strikeout total for Detroit’s lineup, Cole would have 10.2 strikeouts. However, that would be quite the needle to thread.
Cole should pitch fewer innings per start and have his strikeout rate decrease to 12 strikeouts per nine innings. With that likely to happen, Cole should have fewer than 9.5 strikeouts. Currently, Cole’s total is set at only 9.5 strikeouts, but if it increases to 10 or 10.5 I recommend the under even more depending on the odds.
Pick: Gerrit Cole — Under 9.5 Strikeouts (-103 — play up to -120)
- Action Labs Score: 9 (Based on 10 Strikeouts)
- Kevin Davis Score: 4
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) — Under 6.5 Strikeouts
|Angels vs. Athletics||Athletics (-150)|
|Time||9:40 p.m. ET|
Unless you have been living under a rock or you do not watch baseball, you would know Ohtani is not your typical pitcher. Ohtani splits time between being a regular designated hitter and a once-a-week starting pitcher. When Ohtani pitches, he typically goes for a low number of innings, but has a high strikeout rate. The question for this game is if he can get enough innings to go over his strikeout total of 6.5 strikeouts.
Currently, Ohtani has a strikeout rate of 13.35 strikeouts per nine innings. For Ohtani to have seven or more strikeouts and go over his total, he would only have to pitch for 4 2/3 innings. Ohtani is averaging around five innings per start, meaning on a typical game he should go over his total. The issue is if he can keep that up.
Going into the season, Ohtani’s strikeout rate was projected to only be 11.45 strikeouts per nine innings. Over a course of a five-inning start with his projected strikeout rate, Ohtani would have 6.36 strikeouts in a game.
When you combine this with Ohtani potentially having his innings limited due to the wear and tear that his body takes from playing every day, it’s unlikely Ohtani goes over his strikeout total.
Pick: Shohei Ohtani — Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-115 — play up to -130)
- Action Labs Score: N/A
- Kevin Davis Score: 5
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