Dodgers vs. Giants Props: How To Bet Walker Buehler’s Strikeout Total In Game 1 (October 8)
Emilee Chinn/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Walker Buehler
- There are plenty of opportunities in the props market for today's Division Series matchups.
- Wander Franco against Chris Sale and Walker Buehler vs. the Giants are both worth targeting.
- Continue reading for the full breakdown of the props worth playing tonight in the MLB playoffs.
Today is arguably the best day of the MLB season.
A quadruple-header of playoff games, beginning at 2 p.m. ET and ending probably after midnight. This feels like betting a Sunday NFL slate. So, the Action Network MLB player props team has to celebrate accordingly, with one play for every game.
The Action Labs Player Props tool grades each play on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include those grades underneath my explanations.
MLB Player Props & Picks
Michael Brantley Over 1.5 Total Bases (+110)
|Astros vs. White Sox||Astros (-120)|
|Time||2:07 p.m. ET|
All the stars are aligning in this matchup. The lefty Michael Brantley has a massive platoon advantage against the righty Lucas Giolito, as Brantley is slugging .507 with a .924 OPS against that side (compared to .314 and .575 against the other side).
Meanwhile, Giolito has a slightly higher xFIP facing lefties (3.82) than against righties (3.69).
So, it shouldn’t be surprising that Brantley has crushed Gioltio in the past. In 12 lifetime PAs, Brantley is 6-for-12 with a double and two home runs, posting a .976 xSLG off his 95.8 mph average exit velocity.
But the most impressive stat: Brantley hasn’t whiffed once against Giolito. Brantley hasn’t walked or struck out against Giolito, making contact on every single PA.
If a batter always makes contact, and it’s often hard contact, there’s a good chance he’ll pile up base totals.
Among qualified pitchers, Giolito ranks in the 80th percentile in strikeout rate and 87th percentile in whiff rate. So, how Brantley accomplished that feat seems almost impossible.
Perhaps it’s because Brantley loves hitting four-seam fastballs. Giolito throws that pitch almost half the time, and Brantley has posted a .331 BA and a .524 SLG against the pitch this season. Plus, Brantley’s smashed the four-seam over the last month:
So, look for Brantley to square up one of Giolito’s fastballs during the early game, and be grateful when we cash this plus-money prop.
Charlie Morton Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-145)
|Braves vs. Brewers||Braves (+135)|
|Time||4:07 p.m. ET|
By the time Charlie Morton’s last start of the season came around, the Braves had already clinched the NL East title. So, they pulled him after just 2 2/3 innings.
But in the 19 starts before that, Morton cashed this number in 16 of them. That includes a start against these Brewers, where he struck out six over six innings while allowing just two runs.
Morton turned his season around in the second half:
- 2021 Charlie Morton First Half Stats: 3.64 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 3.42 xFIP, 1.10 WHIP, 10.36 K/9, 3.00 BB/9
- 2021 Charlie Morton Second Half Stats: 3.01 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 3.18 xFIP, 0.98 WHIP, 10.59 K/9, 2.60 BB/9
But while all his stats improved, maybe the best thing Morton brings to the table is length. In that aforementioned 19-start stretch, Morton never pitched fewer than five innings and went at least six innings in 12 of them.
Morton can miss bats and pitch deep into games, and that’s a great combination for an over strikeouts bettor.
FanGraphs’ SaberSim projections have Morton striking out 6.7 today, while the Action Labs Player Props tool projects Morton at a whopping 7.0. Either way, this is a great value bet.
Action Labs Grade: 8/10
Wander Franco Over 1.5 Total Bases (+145)
|Red Sox vs. Rays||Rays (-140)|
|Time||7:02 p.m. ET|
Similar to Brantley,Wander Franco has a massive platoon split today. Yes, he is a switch-hitter, but he’s been dominant batting right-handed against lefties.
Batting from that side against southpaws, Franco is batting .357 with a .602 SLG and a whopping 1.200 OPS. That adds up to a ridiculous 181 wRC+.
Meanwhile, Chris Sale has had a decent comeback season. However, he hasn’t been the Sale of past, and he has his struggles against right-handed batters:
- 2021 Chris Sale vs. LHPs: 1.32 FIP, 2.14 xFIP, .46 WHIP, .149 wOBA
- 2021 Chris Sale vs. RHPs: 4.29 FIP, 3.65 xFIP, 1.56 WHIP, .355 wOBA
Sale’s game relies on a deadly fastball-slider combo. The ridiculous horizontal movement on his slider generally dazzles batters.
However, Franco has squared up sliders all season. Franco is batting .406 with a .813 SLG against 121 sliders faced this season, good for a +9 run value.
Given these advantages, it’s no surprise that Franco has owned this matchup. In six PAs vs. Sale this season, Franco is 4-for-6 with a triple and a home run. Sale is the current all-time MLB leader in K:BB ratio (5.33), but has gotten Franco to whiff just 11% of the time, with zero strikeouts.
Plus, if Franco doesn’t cash this prop against Sale, he’ll have a great chance against a Boston bullpen that is a dumpster fire.
Franco’s hit over 1.5 total bases in 15 of his last 30 games, and in eight of 17 against Boston this season. Both those numbers indicate value at the big plus-money number.
Walker Buehler Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-160)
|Dodgers vs. Giants||Dodgers (-120)|
|Time||9:37 p.m. ET|
Walker Buehler has made 33 starts this season, and while he failed to hit this number in the first three starts, he’s struck out five or more batters in 26 of 30 since. That’s an 87% hit rate that implies -650 odds to the over.
Moreover, he’s cashed this number in four of his six starts against the Giants this season.
Buehler’s greatest strength is his ability to pitch deep into games with elite run prevention. Buehler pitched a whopping 207 2/3 innings this season, which translates to more than 6 1/3 innings per start. Zack Wheeler is the only pitcher who threw more innings than Buehler this season.
As such, Buehler’s consistent length leads to consistent strikeout numbers. For example: In those six starts against the Giants, he pitched six or more in five of them and seven or more in three of them.
Buehler should pitch a whole lot of innings tonight, which will create plenty of opportunities to cash the number. Our Action Labs Player Props tool projects Buehler for 5.7 strikeouts tonight, creating a 6% edge on the line DraftKings is offering.
Action Labs Grade: 7/10