MLB Player Props Bets & Picks: 3 Strikeout Totals to Bet on Saturday, Including Zack Wheeler, Jon Gray & Lance Lynn (April 3)
Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images. Pictured: Lance Lynn
- There are 14 games on today's MLB slate, but there are three pitchers to keep a close eye on.
- Jon Gray and Lance Lynn both have appealing strikeout totals to target in the props market.
- Using our MLB Player Props Tool, Collin Whitchurch explains which direction to go on these numbers.
After Kevin Davis went 4-2 combined picking strikeout totals on the first two days of the season, I’ll try to carry over that momentum with Saturday’s 14-game slate.
For this article, I will be evaluating my favorite MLB player props based on 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.
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 Props & Picks
Zack Wheeler Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-127)
|Braves vs. Phillies||Phillies -103|
|Time||4:05 p.m. ET|
The number here is surprisingly high, as Wheeler topped 6.5 strikeouts only four times in 11 starts a year ago. Against the Braves, he will be facing a lineup that strikes out at an above-average rate but not a rate that would have you hammering this over.
Atlanta struck out at the 10th-highest rate in the majors a season ago. However, it’s also a team that sees a lot of pitches per plate appearance, checking right around the league average of 3.97 a season ago.
Wheeler has the ability to pitch deep into games, but of the four games in which he achieved seven or more strikeouts a season ago, three of them took at least 105 pitches.
In his first start of the season, and with a long, 162-game jaunt still ahead, it seems unlikely manager Joe Girardi is going to leave his No. 2 starter in past the century mark. If Wheeler doesn’t pitch deep and surpasses 100 pitches, he has no shot at going over here.
I’ll play Wheeler under 6.5 strikeouts up to -150.
Jon Gray Over 4.5 Strikeouts (+125)
|Dodgers vs. Rockies||Dodgers -250|
|Time||8:10 p.m. ET|
It’s always risky picking a subpar pitcher to go over their strikeout total against the Dodgers’ incredible lineup, but we’re rolling the dice here at plus money with a pitcher Colorado will likely give a longer leash than usual.
Jon Gray had a miserable 2020 season. He finished with a 6.69 ERA in eight starts, and he only went over this total twice. Even worse, in his one start against the Dodgers last season, he failed to record a single strikeout in 3 2/3 innings.
So, what gives? Well, even if the Dodgers beat up Gray in a similar fashion that they did Antonio Senzatela on Friday night, manager Bud Black is more likely to let him wear it. The Colorado bullpen saw five pitchers throw a combined 99 pitches on Saturday. On Friday, four pitchers threw a combined 98 pitches.
Look at that: we’re three days into the season and already talking about bullpen usage.
Gray didn’t miss bats in 2020, but he has shown the ability to do so throughout his career, regularly posting K/9 totals in the 9s before last year’s 5.08. With enough work on Saturday, he should find five strikeouts.
We’ll play this over down to +110.
Lance Lynn Over 6.5 Strikeouts (+115)
|White Sox vs. Angels||White Sox -130|
|Time||9:10 p.m. ET|
We’ll close out the slate by being tempted by the oddsmakers a bit too much to resist.
Lance Lynn went over 6.5 strikeouts six times in 13 starts a year ago. In five more starts, he finished with exactly six strikeouts. In 38.4% of his starts a year ago, Lynn finished one strikeout away from hitting this total.
That’s what makes the plus juice so tempting.
Three of Lynn’s six starts in which he went over this total a year ago came in his first three starts of the season. So, maybe he comes out amped up and is able to inflate the total. On the flip side, Lynn faced the Angels three times a year ago as a member of the Texas Rangers and finished with strikeout totals of 6, 6 and 5.
Manager Tony La Russa knows Lynn from his time with the Cardinals and is likely going to count on him as a workhorse behind Lucas Giolito, particularly after Dallas Keuchel failed to complete five innings on Saturday and the bullpen threw 92 pitches.
An amped-up Lynn beats the odds and goes over 6.5 strikeouts. I’ll play this down to +110.