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Freedman’s Favorite Strikeout Props (Apr. 20): Should You Bet on Yu Darvish?

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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Yu Darvish

  • Matthew Freedman continues his series featuring at least one of his favorite bets for each day of 2019.
  • On Sunday, he looks at MLB pitcher strikeout props for the 17-game slate.

Each day, I publish 1-2 pieces on props I like. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.

In this piece, I’m looking at pitcher props for Saturday, April 20, which has a whopping 17-game slate. NOTE: I may update this piece throughout the day.

For more daily player props, follow me in The Action Network app.

2019 Year-to-Date Record

573-448-35, +77.35 Units

  • NFL: 21-13-0, +11.72 Units
  • NBA: 280-211-5, +37.15 Units
  • NHL: 66-80-7, -7.57 Units
  • MLB: 40-46-9, -10.29 Units
  • Golf: 8-8-2, +1.85 Units
  • NASCAR: 10-17-0, -5.97 Units
  • NCAAB: 125-70-12, +38.82 Units
  • NCAAF: 0-1-0, -1.00 Units
  • Exotic: 23-2-0, +12.64 Units

Freedman’s Favorite Pitcher Props for Saturday, April 20

Please note that in some cases I might go against what’s recommended in the FantasyLabs Props Tool and the strikeout projections we have in the FantasyLabs MLB Models.

New York Yankees Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka vs. Kansas City Royals

  • Time: 1:05 p.m. ET
  • Pick: Under 6.5 (-115)

Tanaka’s 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings this year is in line with his career-long mark of 8.7, but he has mostly underperformed market expectations in 2019, going 3-1 to the under through four starts and failing to exceed seven strikeouts in any game.

And he doesn’t have a great matchup: This year the Royals have a below-average 8.25 strikeouts per game.

I’d bet the under to -135.

St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher Miles Mikolas vs. New York Mets

  • Time: 2:15 p.m. ET
  • Pick: Under 4.0 (+120)

Mikolas has an advantageous matchup against the Mets, who this season have the sixth-most strikeouts per game at 9.79. But Mikolas has never been a K machine — his career mark of 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings is modest — and this year that number has dropped to 4.7.

While he might enjoy some eventual progression, he doesn’t look much like the pitcher who won a National League-high 18 games last year. In 2018, he had a 3.28 FIP, 69% strike rate and 93.9 pitches per game. This year, those numbers are 6.26, 65% and 84.8.

His strikeout prop is 4-0 to the under through four starts, and he’s yet to have more than 3 Ks in a game. I’d bet the under to +100.

Chicago Cubs Pitcher Yu Darvish vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Time: 2:20 p.m. ET
  • Pick: Under 5.5 (+120)

In his last start, Darvish pulled a Derek Zoolander and finally showed the world his long-awaited Magnum-esque triple-strike fastball …

… so it’s possible that he’s starting to round into form: He did set season-high marks with 96 pitches and eight strikeouts.

But I think the 32-year-old Darvish is in decline, and I’ll gladly bet against him at plus odds. He has an NL-high 15 walks and career-worst marks with a 6.86 FIP and 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He has no more than four strikeouts in three of four starts.

I’ll bet the under to +100.


Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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