MLB Strikeouts Player Props, Odds | Picks, Projections for Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, More

MLB Strikeouts Player Props, Odds | Picks, Projections for Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, More article feature image

Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Clayton Kershaw

The MLB playoffs continue today with four Game 1s in the League Divisional Series.

Eight starting pitchers will take the mound today with varying degrees of success and postseason pedigree, so let's take a look at each pitcher's strikeout prop and where the value might lie in their number using our PRO projections.

MLB Strikeout Props Today

GameTime (ET)Pick
1:03 p.m.
4:45 p.m.
6:07 p.m.
9:20 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our MLB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Rangers vs. Orioles

Saturday, October 7
1:03 p.m. ET
Andrew Heaney vs. Kyle Bradish

Andrew Heaney 4.5 Strikeouts

It was somewhat of a surprise to see the Rangers opt for Andrew Heaney for Game 1 over Dane Dunning, who was the superior pitcher this season.

It makes some sense, though, mostly based on the fact Oriole Park is death to right-handed power hitting, so using your two lefties (along with Jordan Montgomery) in the first two games of the series in Baltimore is the way you'd want to go.

As for Saturday, there's no projections for Heaney as of this writing, but with an Outs Recorded line of just 14.5, assuming he comes close to that he'd need to strike out about one-third of the outs he records against the Orioles.

Verdict: Lean Under (Best odds -135 at BetMGM)

Kyle Bradish 5.5 Strikeouts

It was a breakout 2023 campaign for Bradish, who emerged as the Orioles' most reliable arm and was a run-suppression monster, finishing with a 2.83 ERA in 168 2/3 innings.

He average almost exactly a strikeout per inning, finishing with 168, and struck out six or more batters 14 times in 30 starts, so just a hair under 50 percent.

Our PRO projections have Bradish pegged for 5.2 strikeouts on Saturday, so don't really show any signifcant edge on this one. Under 5.5 has a +0.3% edge against the best line available.

Verdict: Lean Under (Best odds -102 at FanDuel)

Twins vs. Astros

Saturday, October 7
4:45 p.m. ET
Bailey Ober vs. Justin Verlander

Bailey Ober 4.5 Strikeouts

Like the Rangers, the Twins also made a surprising Game 1 decision in selecting Bailey Ober to start over Joe Ryan.

Ober has consistently out-performed his projections throughout his career and emerged as a steady arm in the middle of the Twins' rotation over the last two seasons.

He struck out a hair more than a batter per inning this year in 144 1/3 innings, and will have a tall task against an Astros lineup with the fourth-lowest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching.

The one bugaboo for Ober this year has been the home run ball, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the Astros tag him early. Whether that happens or not, expect manager Rocco Baldelli to have his starter on a short leash with a rested bullpen after two days off, and an above-average on at that.

Verdict: Lean Under (Best line +100 at BetMGM)

Justin Verlander 6.5 Strikeouts

The more recognizable name on the mound Saturday is, of course, the future Hall of Famer with more than 3,300 career strikeouts.

Verlander doesn't miss bats like he did in his heyday, and in fact saw his strikeout numbers take a significant dip this year compared even to his Cy Young-winning campaign a year ago.

Verlander always brings with him the possibility of a gem, but his line is such that there's no value shown on either number.

Verdict: Pass

Phillies vs. Braves

Saturday, October 7
6:07 p.m. ET
Ranger Suárez vs. Spencer Strider

Ranger Suárez 3.5 Strikeouts

The steady left arm of Ranger Suárez will get things started for the reigning National League champions as they look to repeat their success in eliminating their division rival a year ago.

Suárez faces a tall task against the best offense in baseball, and one that absolutely crushes left-handed pitching in particular.

All of that coupled with a potential short leash for Suárez might give you some pause in backing his over, despite the fact that he struck out four or more batters in 19 of 22 starts this season, but we're actually quite bullish on the left-hander.

Our PRO projections have Suárez striking out 4.7 batters on Saturday, good for a +16.7% edge to the over. Even if he doesn't last long, he should miss enough bats to cash this ticket.

Verdict: Bet the Over (Best odds +100 at BetMGM)

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Spencer Strider 7.5 / 8.5 Strikeouts

As of this writing, Spencer Strider's strikeout total sits at 8.5 at some sportsbooks and 7.5 at others. For the purpose of this edge projection, we're focused on the 7.5 number.

Strider is hands-down the most prolific strikeout pitcher in baseball in 2023. He finished with 281 in just 186 2/3 innings, pacing the league both in strikeouts and strikeout rate.

Strider struck out eight or more batters in 24 of his 32 starts this season, and in four starts against the Phillies he struck out 11 once and nine three times.

Still, this is a high number and our PRO projections aren't particularly bullish on him duplicating that success this afternoon. We have him at 8.6 strikeouts, and considering the juice on the 7.5 number, it's only a +0.3% edge to the over.

Verdict: Lean Over (Best odds -152 at FanDuel)

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Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers

Saturday, October 7
9:20 p.m. ET
Merrill Kelly vs. Clayton Kershaw

Merrill Kelly 4.5 / 5.5 Strikeouts

Like with Strider above, the number on Kelly fluctuates between sportsbooks the the time of this writing. At 4.5, the number is juiced toward the over, while at 5.5, it's juiced to the under.

All that says is that the most likely number Kelly lands on is five, which would presumably give a slight edge to the over if you get the 4.5 number — but again, it's heavily juiced.

For what it's worth, Kelly struck out five or more batters in 22 of 30 starts this season and six or more in 16 of 30 starts. However, of the eight starts where he struck out four or fewer batters, four of them came against the Dodgers — all four of his appearances against them this season. He struck out exactly four on two occasions, and the other two totaled two and one, respectively.

Verdict: Pass

Clayton Kershaw 4.5 Strikeouts

Our most significant projected edge comes with the final pitcher of the day.

Clayton Kershaw is nowhere near the pitcher he was during his Hall of Fame-caliber heights. He also didn't pitch deep into games over the last two months while nursing some lingering injuries, only throwing more than five innings once and never striking out more than five in any single start.

Still, he hit exactly five in three of those starts, and five or more in 16 of 24 starts this season.

Our PRO projections are bullish on his chances of going over this number, despite the Diamondbacks being particularly averse at whiffing against left-handed pitching. The number is simply too low. We project Kershaw at 6.5 strikeouts on Saturday and the over has a 29% edge, particularly given that the over is at plus money.

Verdict: Bet the Over (Best odds +112 at FanDuel)

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