MLB Prop Bets, Picks, Predictions: Fading Matthew Boyd & Luis Castillo (Tuesday, April 13)

MLB Prop Bets, Picks, Predictions: Fading Matthew Boyd & Luis Castillo (Tuesday, April 13) article feature image
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Joe Robbins/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Luis Castillo

  • Aces are wild on the mound on Tuesday's baseball slate.
  • MLB editor Collin Whitchurch is eyeing two strikeout props.
  • Find out why he's fading Luis Castillo and Matthew Boyd below.

Tuesday is a day full of aces in Major League Baseball.

Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito square off in Chicago, Jack Flaherty and Stephen Strasburg will duel in St. Louis, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon Woodruff, Luis Castillo and more front-line starters all take the mount for their respective clubs.

A day of aces makes playing props tricky, as the numbers are usually a lot higher than we’re used to for the Biebers of the world. Because of this, we’re limiting ourselves to two props — one from the list of names mentioned above and another de facto No. 1 starter from a rebuilding team.

For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our MLB projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.

Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.

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MLB Player Props & Picks

Matthew Boyd Under 4.5 Strikeouts (-106)

Tigers vs. Astros Astros -190
Time  8:10 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

After a disastrous 2020 season, Matthew Boyd has pitched solidly in two starts for the Tigers this season. In the opener against Cleveland, he took a shutout through 5 2/3 innings despite walking four and striking out only two. In his second outing against a much tougher Minnesota lineup, he struck out eight and walked none in seven innings of work.

Which Boyd will we get tonight? It’s tough to say. He’ll be facing one of the hottest offenses in baseball, even after the Astros were surprisingly shut down by rookie Casey Mize a night ago. Houston simply hasn’t been swinging and missing this season, posting the second-lowest whiff rate in the majors thus far.

But is that likely to continue? In a word: Yes.

Even in Houston’s forgettable 2020 season, the team swung and missed less frequently than any team in baseball. It’s been an ongoing trend with this particular Astros’ core. They were also the best in 2019 and the second-best in 2018.

Boyd’s strikeout success comes via getting hitters to chase outside of the strike zone. Over the last three seasons, his O-Swing% (percentage of pitches swung at outside of the strike zone) has been 30.9% or higher each time. The MLB average is 28.5%.

I like Boyd’s under at -106 and would play it down to -115.

Luis Castillo Under 5.5 Strikeouts (+125)

Reds vs. Giants Giants -112
Time 9:40 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

By giving us plus juice here, the oddsmakers are clearly expecting some positive regression out of Castillo. I’m not so sure.

Castillo has struck out five batters in two starts this season. In his debut start against the Cardinals, he got shelled for eight runs in 3 1/3 innings and didn’t register a single strikeout. In his second start, he fared much better against the Pirates, going seven innings and striking out five.

Yes, for those scoring at home, that means all of his strikeouts came in one start.

Surely, more strikeouts are coming for Castillo. He went over this total in all but three of his 12 starts a season ago. I’m just not sure it’s happening tonight. Castillo’s velocity and underlying stats are fine, he’s just simply allowing more contact. And against the Giants, he’ll be facing a team that is thus far seventh-best in the majors at avoiding swinging at pitches outside the strike zone, and 12th-best at making contact in general.

Given that Castillo was able to pitch deep into the win against the Pirates and still not go over this total, I’m going to roll with the recent trends and predict another under here, especially at plus money. I’d play it down to +110.

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