MLB Playoffs Player Props | 5 PrizePicks Plays, Including Shane Bieber and Bo Bichette (Friday, October 7)
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images. Pictured: Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette
We have finally made it to the postseason! Although there are only four games Friday, there are still some great player props to take advantage of across the board.
Player props have become among the most popular bets in the industry and although the amount of states with legalized gambling is growing, some may feel left out.
A quick refresher if you aren’t familiar with PrizePicks: you can combine up to five different O/U player props to payout up to 10x your wager.
You can do a Flex Play or a Power Play. A Flex Play gives you lesser odds, but you can win money even if you don’t nail every pick. Meanwhile, a Power Play is similar to a parlay — it’s all or nothing.
Here’s how I would approach today’s MLB slate.
What is PrizePicks? A daily fantasy operator — meaning they’re available in more states (30) than sports betting is! — PrizePicks offers a unique opportunity for action on player props in which you parlay two or more plays together.
Shane Bieber Over 0.5 Runs Allowed in First Two Innings
To kick off the playoffs, we have a Wild Card matchup between the AL East's Tampa Bay Rays and AL Central's Cleveland Guardians. Taking the mound in Game 1 for the Guardians is right-hander Shane Bieber.
While Bieber has put together another tremendous season, there are a couple of variables going against him in this game. First of all, Tampa Bay's metrics against him are strong.
Through 55 career plate appearances against the right-hander, the Rays roster boasts a .267 xBA, a .420 xSLG and a .316 xwOBA. Secondly, he has not pitched as well at Progressive Field.
At home this season, Bieber's ERA rises to 3.22 (2.65 on the road). Lastly, he has seen a dip in production when pitching during the day (3.29 ERA).
Maybe that is a coincidence, but some pitchers do throw much better when getting a full day of their standard game preparation. For this prop, we know that Bieber will face at least the first six Rays' hitters before the second inning ends.
Four of the the first six hitters in Friday's projected starting lineup, possess a career batting average north of .250 against Bieber.
Steven Kwan Under 0.5 Runs + RBI
We are also fading a couple of Guardians hitters as they are slated to go against left-hander Shane McClanahan. Before battling a few injuries as the season wound down, McClanahan was a strong candidate in the AL Cy Young race, and for good reason.
Through 28 starts this season, the left-hander is 12-8 with a 2.54 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. Based on his metrics, regression should not be an issue as he boasts a .261 xwOBA, a .207 xBA and a .333 xSLG.
The first Cleveland bat we are fading is Steven Kwan. While Kwan is 1-3 against McClanahan in his career, the underlying numbers suggest regression.
Across those three at-bats, Kwan has produced a .124 xBA, a .180 xSLG and a .131 xwOBA. When facing left-handed pitching, the rookie's splits drop by approximately 27% to a .285 BA, a .315 SLG and a .639 OPS.
Gabriel Arias Under 0.5 Total Bases
The other Cleveland hitter we are fading is Gabriel Arias. Simply put, the rookie infielder as been awful this season.
Through 15 games, he has produced a .191 BA, a .319 SLG and a .640 OPS. When facing left-handed pitching, Arias is even worse as he has generated a .174/.304/.544 slash line.
His metrics do not suggest any positive regression to worry about as Arias has posted a .290 xwOBA, a .197 xBA and a .296 xSLG. Arias has never faced McClanahan before, so it may take a few rotations through the batting order for Arias to even come close to figuring him out.
While the projected lineups suggest Arias is going to get the start, I personally would be shocked if he does. If he starts, I love this play, but if he doesn't get the nod, this play is simply pushed out of the PrizePicks stack.
Bo Bichette Over 0.5 Runs + RBI
Later in the afternoon, we have Game 1 between the AL West's Seattle Mariners and AL East's Toronto Blue Jays. We are going to be backing a couple of Jays' hitters as they are slated to go against right-hander Luis Castillo.
While Castillo has been excellent since getting shipped over to Seattle, he entered a mini slide to end the season. Over his past five starts, the right-hander has posted a 4.23 ERA.
The more concerning aspect of this slide is that his worst starts came against the Royals and the Athletics, two lineups that are obviously much worse than Toronto. The first Jays' hitter we are backing in this contest is Bo Bichette.
It has been another fantastic season for the shortstop as he has produced a .289 BA, a .469 SLG and a .801 OPS. Bichette is also entering this game in particularly good form as he has recorded at least one run or RBI in nine of his past 15 contests.
We should expect this trend to continue against Castillo, a guy who Bichette is 1-for-3 against in his career with a double and an RBI.
Matt Chapman Over 0.5 Total Bases
The other Toronto hitter we are backing is Matt Chapman. All we need is one knock from the third baseman to get over this total, which should have a decent chance of cashing against Castillo.
In his career against the right-hander, Chapman is 1-3 with a double. His metrics across those three at-bats suggest regression should not be an issue as he has produced a .358 xBA, a .467 xSLG and a .361 xwOBA.
PrizePicks is giving us this prop because he only has four hits over his past 13 games. However, this should be a good opportunity to buy low against a pitcher who enters this game in poor form and surrendered a double to Chapman the last time they faced off.