MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: Two Strikeout Plays Highlight Top Betting Options (Thursday, May 6)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrew Heaney.
With 10 games on the Major League Baseball schedule, I took a deep look for the best angles with value on Thursday’s card. There are two strikeout props I like, which include an over and an under as part of my top plays.
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: 23-20, -0.48 Units, -1.1% ROI (My action can be followed on the Action App at BoogieDownPicks).
MLB Player Props & Picks
Mike Fiers (OAK) — Over 3.5 Strikeouts
|Blue Jays vs. Athletics||Blue Jays -124|
|Time||3:37 p.m. ET|
Mike Fiers is a terrible starting pitcher, which has me surprised that he still has a job in the league. Typically, Fiers has an ERA near five and an xFIP of five. Additionally, he has one of the lowest strikeout rates in the league.
However, over the years Fiers has proven to be a workhorse, typically pitching six innings per start. The question for this game is if he will get enough innings against the Blue Jays to go over his low strikeout total of only 3.5 strikeouts.
In his first start since coming off the IL, Fiers pitched six innings. Many teams will ease an injured starting pitcher back into the rotation by giving them less work than usual, but not the Oakland Athletics.
Last season, Fiers averaged only 5 1/3 innings per start. However, last season was a weird year due to the shortened season. In 2019, Fiers averaged 5 2/3 innings per start. There are three things guaranteed in life — death, taxes, and Fiers pitching for many innings.
The only point of concern for Fiers is that he had a strikeout rate of 5.64 strikeouts per nine innings last season, and this year FanGraphs is projecting a 6.55 rate. Last year, Fiers would have throw for 6 1/3 innings to have four or more strikeouts on a typical night. However, if he strikeouts batters using his projected strikeout rate, he should have 4.3 strikeouts on average.
It will be a sweat, but Fiers should go over his this number.
Pick: Over 3.5 Strikeouts (-110) | Play up to -115
- Action Labs Score: 8
- Kevin Davis Score: 3
Andrew Heaney (LAA) — Under 7.5 Strikeouts
|Rays vs. Angels||Angels -134|
|Time||9:38 p.m. ET|
Andrew Heaney has been a fascinating pitcher for the Angels this season.
On some nights, Heaney is one of the most dominant starting pitchers, going about six innings and allowing two earned runs or less. On other nights, he’s an unmitigated disaster, lasting for fewer than four innings and giving up four or more earned runs.
What makes betting on Heaney’s strikeout props puzzling besides his usage is that he has a high strikeout rate. The million-dollar question for Heaney is if he can pitch enough innings to have eight or more strikeouts in this game.
The Tampa Bay Rays’ lineup averages 9.29 strikeouts per game. which is the eighth-highest total in the league. Heaney has a strikeout rate of 12.75 strikeouts per nine innings this season. If Heaney pitches for six innings, he should have eight or more strikeouts. However, that appears to be too small of a needle to thread.
For his career, Heaney averages around 5 2/3 innings per start. On a good night, Heaney will fall just short of his high strikeout total. If he has a bad night, which is possible, Heaney will go under his strikeout total. That is why I like Heaney’s under in this showdown.
Pick: Under 7.5 Strikeouts (-110) | Would play up to -135
- Action Labs Score: 10
- Kevin Davis Score: 5