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MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: 2 Strikeout Angles Highlight Monday’s Best Plays (May 3)

MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: 2 Strikeout Angles Highlight Monday’s Best Plays (May 3) article feature image

Duane Burleson/Getty Images. Pictured: Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Aaron Civale.

  • Kevin Davis is backing one starter's strikeout total and fading another on Monday night.
  • He breaks down where to the betting value to start the week in the player-prop market.

With a small slate of Major League Baseball games on the horizon, there aren’t many props to choose from on Monday’s schedule. However, there are two strikeout props I like, which include an over and an under play.

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 two 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: 22-16, +2.85 Units, +7.5% ROI (My action can be followed on the Action App at BoogieDownPicks).

MLB Player Props & Picks

Vince Velasquez (PHI) — Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-150)

Brewers vs. Phillies Phillies -125
Time  7:05 p.m. ET
Best Book BetMGM

Who is Velasquez and how did he get here? Well, he is Philadelphia’s starting pitcher and difficult to predict.

In the past, Velasquez has been a mediocre starter for the Phillies and this year he’s a cross between short reliever and a short starter. Further complicating this strikeout prop is Milwaukee’s strikeout-prone lineup. The question is if Velasquez will pitch for more innings than usual against this kind of lineup to go over his strikeout total.

In his only two starts, Velasquez pitched for 4 1/3 innings or less in each game. For him to have seven or more strikeouts with that amount of usage, he would need a strikeout rate of 13.49 strikeouts per nine innings. For this season, Velasquez has a strikeout rate of 13.14 so far. In 2020, he had a strikeout rate of 12.18. However, Velasquez has only pitched for 46 1/3 innings over the last two seasons.

Over a seven-year career in the span of 569 innings, Velasquez has a career strikeout rate of 10.01 in the category.

Even against the Milwaukee lineup, Velasquez should struggle to get seven or more strikeouts. The only way he has that many strikeouts is if the Phillies decide to leave Velasquez in the game for longer than usual.

Pick: Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-150) | Play up to -180

  • Action Labs Score: 10
  • Kevin Davis Score: 8

Aaron Civale (CLE) — Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-125)

Indians vs. Royals Indians -120
Time  8:10 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

Civale is the opposite of Velasquez. He’s a starting pitcher who pitches for many innings per start, with a low strikeout rate. The question for this game against the Kansas City Royals is if he can thread the needle and get five or more strikeouts.

The average team uses a starting pitcher for only five innings per outing. The Cleveland Indians’ starters average 5 1/3 innings per game, which is the fourth most in the league. Civale is a poster child for this, with him averaging more than 6 2/3 innings per start.

What makes Civale’s strikeout total so low is that his strikeout rate is only 6.95 strikeouts per nine innings. In a typical game this year, Civale would have to pitch for 6 2/3 innings to have five or more strikeouts.

However, last year Civale had a strikeout rate of 8.39 strikeouts per nine innings. If he pitched with last year’s strikeout rate, he would have to pitch for only 5 1/3 innings to have five or more strikeouts. If the Indians keep relying on Civale, he should revert back to last year’s strikeout rate and have five or more strikeouts in this game.

Pick: Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-125) | Play up to -140

  • Action Labs Score: 6
  • Kevin Davis Score: 4

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