MLB Props & Predictions: Value On Luis Garcia vs. Angels; Clayton Kershaw Worth Fading vs. Braves (April 18)

MLB Props & Predictions: Value On Luis Garcia vs. Angels; Clayton Kershaw Worth Fading vs. Braves (April 18) article feature image

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Clayton Kershaw

  • The player props market is hot tonight, and we have one pitcher we're buying, and one we're fading.
  • Luis Garcia is undervalue against the Angels, while Clayton Kershaw is fade-worthy against Atlanta after his hot start last week.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of our favorite props from Monday's MLB slate.

Welcome to the second week of the MLB season. The division races are off to a hot start, some players have already started to shine on the biggest stages, and I'm back to give you two more player props to bet for Monday's slate.

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.

Luis Garcia over 4.5 Strikeouts (-155)

Angels vs. AstrosAstros -150
First Pitch8:10 p.m. ET
Best LineDraftKings

I'm uncertain why Luis Garcia is hanging around 4.5 strikeouts today. That line feels low for a guy who went over this number in 12 of his 18 starts in 2021.

Garcia is a buzz saw when pitching in Houston. Compared to on the road, Garcia's xFIP drops 0.8 points at home while his K/9 jumps over 1.2 points.

Garcia struggled in his season debut, which — unsurprisingly — was on the road against Arizona. But the shortened spring training means he could very well bounce back in this spot.

In the end, I like the righty to go over for two reasons.

First, he's almost a lock to pitch a full five innings. He averaged 5 2/3 innings per start last season and failed to reach that mark in just four home starts last season. Garcia will face the necessary hitters to get over this number.

Second, he's got the strikeout rate numbers to do it. Overall, Garcia will strike out just over a batter per inning. But, as mentioned, that number jumps when at home.

If Garcia pitches five innings while striking out over a batter per inning, he seems pretty likely he gets over this line.

The projection market is willing to back Garcia, too. Our Action Labs projections mark Garcia for a whopping 6.9 strikeouts against the Angels today, while FanGraphs' SaberSim projections mark him for 5.2.

Plus, he's got one of the most interesting windups in baseball.

we are fascinated by luis garcia's windup

— Cut4 (@Cut4) October 23, 2021

Pick: Over 4.5 Ks (-155 at DraftKings)

Action Labs Grade: 10/10

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Clayton Kershaw under 7.5 Strikeouts (-160)

Braves vs. DodgersDodgers -220
First Pitch10:10 p.m. ET
Best LineDraftKings

This is a classic sell-high spot after Kershaw went seven perfect with 13 strikeouts in the opener against Minnesota.

Clayton Kershaw, ladies and gentlemen.

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 13, 2022

Kershaw induced so many swings and misses against a decently tough Twins lineup, but we shouldn't ever expect him to produce eight strikeouts a game. He did so in less than half his starts last season (11 of 23).

The Braves are not scared of southpaws, either. Atlanta's lineup struck out at the 12th-lowest rate against LHPs last season (22.1%), and the Braves currently sit with the eighth-lowest rate in the early going of 2022 (19.3%).

The Dodgers will obviously work Kershaw in more and he may have a full leash here today. But, what if he doesn't? If he's held to 80 pitches again, it takes any value out of backing him.

And even though Kershaw dominated in the season opener, we can't expect him to strike out 16.25 batters per nine with a negative FIP (-0.62).

More reasonable expectations should have Kershaw pitching 5-6 innings while maybe eclipsing the 10 K/9 mark.

Meanwhile, our Action Labs projections have Kershaw punching out only six Braves today. That gives us nearly an 11% edge over the current line being offered at DraftKings.

Don't buy into the hype with Kershaw just yet. His stock is going to be super-inflated in the betting market as we approach Monday's late game, and it's probably worth selling him with this stellar but short sample size.

Pick: Under 7.5 Ks (-160)

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

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