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MLB Player Props Odds, Best Bets: 4 Picks Including Mike Trout, Spencer Strider, Joc Pederson & More (Thursday, July 7)

MLB Player Props Odds, Best Bets: 4 Picks Including Mike Trout, Spencer Strider, Joc Pederson & More (Thursday, July 7) article feature image
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Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Trout.

  • With a loaded Thursday slate, we have plenty of MLB player props available to bet.
  • Tanner McGrath has hand-picked four bets for four players for Thursday's games: Mike Trout, Joc Pederson, Spencer Strider and Matthew Liberatore.
  • Check out all four of McGrath's top player props for Thursday's MLB games below.

The slate is more action-packed than usual for a Thursday, with 13 different games including the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati doubleheader.

As a result, I found four MLB player props worth targeting today, including two pitchers and two position players.

Our Action Labs Props Tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include the grade for each of my betting recommendations in my discussions below.

Spencer Strider Under 7.5 Strikeouts (-150)

Cardinals @ Braves
First Pitch 7:20 p.m. ET
Best Line DraftKings

Spencer Strider is great and all. He’s got a monster fastball, some plus breaking stuff and a mustache that could’ve made it in the new Top Gun movie.

Spencer Strider, 100mph Fastball and 89mph Slider, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/LVTfirR7hj

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 2, 2022

But he shouldn’t have a strikeout prop line set above 7.

He’s made seven starts this season and managed to go above this line in just three. He managed just five Ks against Colorado and four against San Francisco, although he picked up seven against both the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.

Strider’s control is still a little shaky, and he really only forces strikeouts by whiffs on the fastball rather than getting batters to chase (65th percentile among starting pitchers in chase rate).

Unfortunately for him, this Cardinals offense ranks in the top 10 MLB teams in both zone contact and whiff rate. All in all, the Cardinals have the sixth-best strikeout rate against RHPs this season (20.4%).

The Cardinals also rank eighth in MLB in Weighted Fastball Runs Created (23), and you can expect a whole lot of fastballs from Strider Thursday evening.

Source: Baseball Savant.

Our Action Labs Player Props Tool projects Strider for just 4.9 Ks against the Cardinals, and FanGraphs SaberSim projections mark Strider for just 6.7.

While he may still post a quality start, it’s worth fading Strider in this market.

Pick: Under 7.5 Ks (-150)

Action Labs Grade: 10/10

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Matthew Liberatore Over 3.5 Strikeouts (-115)

Cardinals @ Braves
First Pitch 7:20 p.m. ET
Best Line DraftKings

The Cardinals’ rookie southpaw isn’t known for striking out batters. He was brought over in the Randy Arozarena deal to force ground balls and eat up innings.

What he hasn’t been able to do is force ground balls. After putting up a 57% GB rate over 16 High-A starts with the Rays in 2019, he couldn’t crack 40% with the Memphis Redbirds in either 2021 or 2022 (18 and 10 starts, respectively). So far, he sits at a 29.4% GB rate through five starts with the MLB club.

However,  maybe the lower GB rate will correlate with a higher strikeout rate, even if that’s just for Liberatore. After hanging around 8.8 K/9 in his 2019 and 2021 MiLB seasons, he managed 9.5 K/9 in his 10 Triple-A starts this season.

It’s a short sample size, but Liberatore’s GB rate has dropped through his five MLB starts while his K/9 has jumped.

Source: FanGraphs.

But whether that’s true or not, our Action Labs Player Props Tool projects Liberatore for 4.6 Ks in this game, while FanGraphs SaberSim projects him for 4.0 Ks. Both projections show value on the over.

Plus, the Braves are strikeout-happy. Atlanta strikes out at the fifth-highest rate in MLB vs. southpaws (24%) and ranks dead last in whiff rate against the side.

The lineup has crushed fastballs this season, leading the league in Weighted Fastball Runs Created, but Liberatore is going to throw a lot of secondary stuff — secondary stuff that Atlanta hasn’t done as well with:

Pitch Liberatore’s % Thrown ATL Lineup Rank
Curveball 22.9% 9th (5.4 wFB)
Changeup 11.6% 25th (-6.0 wCH)
Slider 11.3% 13th (-4.7 wSL)

Put everything together, and I think Liberatore puts together similar starts to how he did against Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, as he recorded five strikeouts against both.

Pick: Over 3.5 Ks (-115)

Action Labs Grade: 9/10

Mike Trout Over 1.5 Total Bases (+105)

Angels @ Orioles
First Pitch 7:05 p.m. ET
Best Line DraftKings

It’s not often you get to bet on the best baseball player of this generation at plus money. But I think there’s value in this line.

Trout’s in a slump. He’s just 1-for-18 over his last 20 PAs with a ridiculous 13 strikeouts.

But Trout went through a similar slump earlier this season, going 5-for-44 during the Angels’ 14-game losing streak. Once he broke out, he slashed .312/.409/.885 with a 1.294 OPS over his next 17 games.

Trout’s two slumps this season paint an interesting picture of his season. If you’re into the candlestick theory about stocks, then you might be interested in buying Trout stock moving forward.

Source: FanGraphs.

In my opinion, Trout just needs a slump-buster and he’ll go on a tear again.

There might not be a better slump-buster than Jordan Lyles. In 19 lifetime PAs against Lyles, Trout is 8-for-18 with five extra-base hits. Trout’s 94.5 MPH avg. exit velocity and 25.8-degree avg. launch angle has produced a 1.282 xSLG on batted balls off Lyles.

It’s not like I care to back Lyles, either. He’s posted an xERA north of 5.00 this season, and his Baseball Savant page paints an even uglier picture:

Source: Baseball Savant.

If Trout doesn’t cash his bases against Lyles, he should have a decent chance against this Baltimore bullpen. Trout put together a nine-base performance against Spenser Watkins and four other O’s relievers back on April 23.

Have fun betting on the best player in baseball later this evening.

Pick: Over 1.5 TBs (+105)

Joc Pederson Over 1.5 Total Bases (+115)

Giants @ Padres
First Pitch 9:40 p.m. ET
Best Line DraftKings

Joc Pederson has been carrying the Giants’ offense this season, posting a team-high 147 OPS+ in his 71 games this season. San Francisco’s offense has been uncharacteristically poor this year, but Pederson’s kept the lineup afloat.

Pederson went hitless against Arizona, but he slashed .321/.379/.642 in the 15 games before that. He also cashed his bases total in six of his seven games before the series in Phoenix started.

Pederson is also underperforming significantly.

His .269 BA is paired with a .300 xBA and his .557 SLG is paired with a .600 xSLG. His Baseball Savant page tells me he’s one of the best players in baseball and that he just needs a few more balls to drop before his numbers pop.

Source: Baseball Savant.

You may be concerned about backing Pederson against Joe Musgrove, who is currently second in the betting markets to win NL Cy Young. But in 16 lifetime PAs against Musgrove, Pederson is 8-for-14 with seven extra-base hits.

His batted-ball exit velocity averages 94.6 MPH when he barrels up Musgrove, and it adds up to a .479 xBA and a 1.138 xSLG.

Musgrove also pounds the strike zone, having posted one of the best whiff rates in the league this season. But he’s only managed to punch out Pederson once with a 15% whiff rate.

Musgrove will try and overpower Pederson, but that won’t happen. Instead, I’m expecting at least one extra-base hit from Pederson on Thursday night at PetCo.

Pick: Over 1.5 TBs (+115)

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