Monday MLB Pitcher Props: Betting Unders on a Pair of Aces (April 12)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Glasnow #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 6, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.
After finishing 2-0 on my two MLB player props on Friday, I am back with two more for today’s slate. With a full slate of games, there are many props to choose among. For today’s slate, I am targeting two unders for two of the best pitchers starting.
For this article I will be evaluating my favorite MLB player props based on what my model likes and what the Action Labs Player Prop tool likes. The Action Labs Player Prop tool grades each bet on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade. I will be adding my own personal grades as well.
Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I am playing, the case for each bet, and the best books to find odds on those player props.
2021 MLB Pitcher Prop Record: 12-7, +3.35 Units, +17.6% ROI. (You can follow my bets in the Action App at BoogieDownPicks)
MLB Player Props & Picks
Yu Darvish (SD) 7.5 Strikeouts (Over -104/Under -122)
|Padres vs. Pirates||SD -225|
|Time||6:36 p.m. ET|
As part of an active offseason, the Padres acquired Yu Darvish and effectively made him their ace. On Opening Day, Darvish pitched for only 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits, four earned runs, and notching only six strikeouts. In his last start, Darvish did better by throw six innings, allowing only one earned run, three hits, but with only seven strikeouts.
The single most important criteria for how many strikeouts a pitcher will have is how many innings they pitch. Darvish must pitch for at least six innings to go over his strikeout total again. Even if Darvish pitches for his usual six innings per game, he probably goes under, as well. That is why I am taking the under at -122.
Last season Darvish averaged 6 1/3 innings per start, which was much higher than the average starter, who pitched for fewer than five innings. This season Darvish is projected by FanGraphs ZIPS projections to average fewer than six innings per start. While Darvish is likely to pitch fewer innings this season, I am looking for situations like today to take the under on his strikeout total. Even with his increased usage last season, Darvish only got nine or more strikeouts in 41.7% of his starts.
Last season Darvish averaged 11.01 strikeouts per nine innings. This season he is already averaging 10.97 strikeouts per nine innings, virtually the same rate. However, to post eight strikeouts more, Darvish needs to pitch for 6 2/3 innings at that same rate. Darvish simply will not get enough innings to go over his strikeout total in today’s game.
Pick: Yu Darvish Under 7.5 Strikeouts (-122). Would play up to -150 (FanDuel)
- Action Labs Score: N/A
- Kevin Davis Score: 6
Tyler Glasnow (TBR) 8.5 Strikeouts (Over +100/Under -130)
|Rangers vs. Rays||Rays -225|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
Tyler Glasnow is a fascinating pitcher. Last season Glasnow averaged an unreal 14.28 strikeouts per nine innings, which while impressive, is a statistical outlier. This season Glasnow is averaging a more modest but extremely impressive 11.25 strikeouts per nine innings.
In the past as is the case with every Rays starter, the issue with Glasnow has always been if he will get enough innings to go over his strikeout total. Last season Glasnow averaged fewer than 5 1/3 innings per start. Even with Glasnow’s high strikeout last season, in a typical game he would “only” average 8.25 strikeouts per game, which is lower than his total for today.
Glasnow has pitched for six innings in both of his starts this season. However, I believe that he will go back to averaging around five innings per start and that is why I like his strikeout total under. FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus’ projections only project Glasnow to average only 5 1/3 innings per start this season. In both of his starts this season, Glasnow had a lower pitch count than usual which is why he pitched more innings.
The Rangers may have a woeful lineup that is averaging 10.56 strikeouts per game, but I do not think that Glasnow pitches enough innings to have nine or more strikeouts in today’s game.
Pick: Tyler Glasnow Under 8.5 Strikeouts (-130) would play up to -145 (BetMGM)
- Action Labs Score: 10
- Kevin Davis Score: 7