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Thursday MLB Player Prop Bets, Picks: 2 for Thursday, Including Ian Happ & Eduardo Rodriguez

Thursday MLB Player Prop Bets, Picks: 2 for Thursday, Including Ian Happ & Eduardo Rodriguez article feature image

Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images. Pictured: Eduardo Rodriguez #57 of the Boston Red Sox.

After careful inspection of Thursday’s pitching matchups using the Action Labs Player Props tool, I’ve found two props on the MLB care with value.

Our Action Labs tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, so I’ll be sure to include the grade below my explanation.

MLB Player Props & Picks

Eduardo Rodriguez — Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-105)

Red Sox vs. Rays Red Sox (+140)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

This is a bet I’m cautious to take, especially since Chris Sale only managed three strikeouts against this Rays team yesterday. Plus, the Rays have been absurdly hot and their strikeout numbers against southpaws have been low in August.

However, Rodriguez has become a true three-outcome pitcher. When he pitches to contact, the ball has been getting crushed, as you can see by his whopping .358 BABIP (which is probably due for some positive regression). But he’s been missing bats more than ever in his career.

This season, he’s out a whopping 10.66 batters per nine innings, and he’s hit over 5.5 strikeouts in 16 of his 25 starts — giving us a 64% hit rate for a near even money prop. Additionally, his 2.70 BB/9 is the lowest of his career, and the two numbers together have produced a very respectable 3.48 xFIP.

Rodriguez has pitched against Tampa twice this season, recording seven strikeouts back on June 10 and eight strikeouts on August 10. Today, the Action Labs Player Props tool is projecting him at 6.2 strikeouts, so I’m going to expect more of the same and play the over 5.5 number on DraftKings.

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

Ian Happ — Over 1.5 Total Bases (+130)

Cubs vs. Pirates Cubs (-140)
Time 8:05 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

The Cubs are a complete and total disgrace, but Happ is the face of that disgrace. And he’s actually been crushing the ball recently.

Over his past 13 games, Happ’s batting .348 with an 1.149 OPS, smacking four doubles and five home runs in the process. Additionally, he’s hit the over 1.5 bases in five of his last 10 games, compiling 24 total bases in the process.

He’ll have a good chance to keep his streak going today. In 10 PA’s against Pirates starter Mitch Keller, Happ is 5 for 8 with a double and two homers. While that seems unsustainable, his batted balls in those AB’s have produced a 1.475 xSLG and a .776 wOBA — both stats that aren’t too far off from his actual numbers.

Keller got hurt in early June and spent nearly two months between the IL and Triple-A Indianapolis. Since returning to Pittsburgh on August 10, he’s posted a 6.20 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP in five starts. So, it doesn’t seem like he’s shaken the rust off.

Therefore, I’m looking for Happ to knock around Keller today. If he doesn’t cash this prop during Keller’s start, he’ll face a Pittsburgh bullpen that posted the fifth worst xFIP in August (5.05) and the fourth worst over the past week (5.43).

Happ will get plenty of opportunity to keep his bat hot today, and I love that his prop is being offered on DraftKings at plus-money.

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