MLB Odds & Player Props: Our Top Picks for Friday, Including Justin Turner & Shane Bieber

MLB Odds & Player Props: Our Top Picks for Friday, Including Justin Turner & Shane Bieber article feature image

Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Turner.

  • Fridays are always fun for MLB bettors, and today is no exception.
  • There are plenty of player props on the board with betting value, including picks for Carlos Rodon, Justin Turner and Shane Bieber.
  • Check out Tanner McGrath's top player props for Friday's MLB slate below.

Fridays are always fun for baseball bettors. We have a flurry of new weekend series starting today, and there's plenty of newfound value in the markets.

From a player prop perspective, I'm targeting two pitchers and a position player, with start times ranging from 6:40 p.m. ET to 9:40 p.m. ET.

Our Action Labs Props Tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include the grade for each of my betting recommendations in my discussions below.

Carlos Rodon Under 8.5 Strikeouts (-120)

Giants @ Reds
First Pitch6:40 p.m. ET
Best LineDraftKings

It's always a scary prospect to fade Carlos Rodon.

The southpaw is one of the top pitchers in the league, with a four-seam fastball that consistently spins by hitters (90th percentile fastball velocity, 80th percentile fastball spin).

But this line is too high. It's also based on Rodon's first four starts in which he recorded 39 strikeouts over 23 innings.

However, there's been a bit of a concerning trend happening since:

Image Credit: FanGraphs.

Rodon has failed to hit this number in three of his last four starts. He recorded just three strikeouts in a start against the Dodgers, three against the Cardinals and six against the Padres.

Rodon's velocity and spin rates are holding steady from what I can tell. His approach seems satisfactory. So, what's the problem?

Rodon was probably a bit overvalued after his crazy hot start. At one point, he had a K/9 in the 15-16 range, and that number has come down to 12.55. His career average is just 9.73 K/9, and projections have him in the 11.54-11.86 range. So, I'd expect fewer strikeouts from him moving forward.

Plus, Rodon has had more road starts lately. Rodon has never been one to pitch away from home, with a career 10.02 K/9 at home and a 9.47 K/9 on the road. This season, those numbers are far more exaggerated (15.26 home K/9, 9.55 road K/9).

Rodon has failed to reach this number in his last three road starts. Dating back to the beginning of last season, he's failed to reach nine strikeouts in 12 of his 17 total starts — that's an 81% hit rate that would imply -240 odds to the under.

Yet, sportsbooks are still pricing Rodon as if nothing was wrong. This 8.5 number is absurdly high, even when facing a hapless Reds lineup.

The projection market is way below this number as well.

  • Action Labs Player Props Tool: Project 7.1 strikeouts
  • BettingPros' Player Props Tool: Project 7.5 strikeouts
  • FanGraphs' SaberSim Projections: Project 8.3 strikeouts

This line is too high, and I'm happy to fade Rodon in a road start at relatively good odds.

Pick: Under 8.5 Ks (-120)

Action Labs Grade: 10/10

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Shane Bieber Over 6.5 Strikeouts (-110)

Guardians @ Tigers
First Pitch7:10 p.m. ET
Best LineDraftKings

There are also some concerning trends going on with Shane Bieber. His fastball velocity is down, alongside his swinging-strike rate and strikeout rate. It's hard to trust him moving forward.

But I think Bieber gets over this number today.

Bieber had one tough start against Toronto a few weeks ago, and he allowed seven runs over just 3 1/3 innings with a 0:3 K/BB ratio. But outside of that dud, he's gotten over this line in four of his last five starts.

And I'm not worried about this Tigers lineup. After ranking third in strikeout rate against RHPs last season (25.7%), the Tigers are 10th in that stat in 2022 (24.2%) and fourth in the last 30 days (25.5%).

Plus, it helps that over the last 30 days, the Tigers are dead last in wRC+ (64) and walk rate (5.7%).

In the past, Bieber has had no issue handling the Tigers. He struck out 10 Tigers in a May 22 start against them this season, and he struck out 24 Tigers over two starts last year.

Shane Bieber, 7th and 8th Ks.

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 22, 2022

Bieber's numbers are down, but his 13.2% swinging-strike rate is still better than 77% of pitchers this season. I think this 6.5 line is undervaluing him just slightly.

Betting Pros' Player Props tool projects Bieber for a ridiculous 8.9 strikeouts today, while our Action Labs Player Props tool projects him for eight punchouts in Detroit Friday — good for a 15.7% edge over the DraftKings line.

Pick: Over 6.5 Ks (-110)

Action Labs Grade: 10/10

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Justin Turner Over 1.5 Total Bases (+100)

Dodgers @ Diamondbacks
First Pitch9:40 p.m. ET
Best LineDraftKings

Justin Turner hasn't been lighting the world on fire this season. He's slashing .208/.265/.364 for a mediocre 75 OPS+, cashing his bases total over in just eight of his 20 games this season.

But three of those eight instances have come against the Diamondbacks. In Turner's last three games against Arizona, he's totaled a whopping 12 bases. He also picked up two doubles in Thursday's matchup.

Back-to-back games with a HR for @redturn2.

— MLB (@MLB) May 18, 2022

Turner will face Madison Bumgarner today, and he's had success in this matchup in the past. Over 81 lifetime PAs against Bumgarner, Turner is 19-for-75 for a relatively average .253 BA — but he's also produced eight extra-base hits (four doubles, four home runs) to just nine strikeouts.

In those ABs, Turner has kept his strikeout rate down (11.1%) while keeping his exit velocity (91.8 MPH) and launch angle (24.8 deg.) relatively high.

Plus, this is not the MadBum of the past. Bumgarner ranks in the bottom 40% of qualified pitchers in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate and xSLG. Add that to his astoundingly low whiff and strikeout rates, and he's going to give up some big base hits today.

Hopefully, that comes against Turner, who knows MadBum and the Diamondbacks' bullpen inside and out.

Pick: Over 1.5 TBs (+100)

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