Freedman’s Favorite Strikeout Props (Apr. 20): Should You Bet on Yu Darvish?
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
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 …
Yu Darvish throws the most devastating fastball of his career. pic.twitter.com/sicvVLhnUL
— Cut4 (@Cut4) April 16, 2019
… 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.