Thursday MLB Props Odds, Picks: Our 3 Favorite Bets, Including Zach Eflin & Nick Pivetta (June 9)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images. Pictured: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta.
After a perfect 2-0 showing on Wednesday’s Major League Baseball props card, the Action Network team is now in the midst of a 6-0 run.
That said, we’re back with three more player props for Thursday’s slate, with the first play coming from a matinee starting at 3:45 p.m. ET. The final player angle is featured in a 9:38 p.m. ET contest, so you can spend your whole day sweating strikeout totals.
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.
Austin Gomber — Over 3.5 Strikeouts (-160)
|Rockies @ Giants|
|First Pitch||3:45 p.m. ET|
Austin Gomber hasn’t been a strikeout machine, and his numbers are down year over year (6.88 K/9 this season), plus he has only managed to sneak over this line once in his last five starts.
Yet, this number has dropped too far, even if over 3.5 strikeouts is heavily juiced. Gomber’s strikeout total should always hover at 4.5 in general.
For starters, Gomber cashed over 3.5 strikeouts in four of five starts before this recent stretch. In the few starts he failed to reach this number, he got shelled and was forced to be pulled on low pitch counts (86 at San Francisco; 84 versus Kansas City; and, 59 at Washington) in those outings.
As a result, his strikeout percentages haven’t severely dropped. Gomber just needs to pitch deeper into games and allow fewer runs, which I expect to happen with his 4.09 xFIP this season.
*Graphic courtesy of Baseball Savant
The projection market also more closely aligns with my thoughts. FanGraphs SaberSim projections have Gomber at 4.4 strikeouts and the Action Labs Player Props projects Gomber to record more than five strikeouts.
Meanwhile, the Giants are striking out at the sixth-highest rate (23.8%) against southpaws over the last 30 days. Plus, umpire Stu Scheurwater has a 1.07 K Boost on Swish Analytics, meaning he calls strikeouts 7% more than the average person behind the plate.
Put all the edges together and this line is worth taking a shot.
Pick: Over 3.5 Strikeouts (-160)
Action Labs Grade: 9/10
Zach Eflin — Under 5.5 Strikeouts (+100)
|Phillies @ Brewers|
|First Pitch||7:40 p.m. ET|
I’m not sure where this 5.5 number came from. Zach Eflin recently struck out 12 Dodgers and six Angels, but has failed to reach this number in his other seven starts.
A 2-for-9 hit rate is 22%, which would imply -350 odds to Eflin’s under here.
Again, the projection market more closely aligns with my thoughts. FanGraphs SaberSim projections and our Action Labs Player Props tool see Eflin recording closer to 5.0 strikeouts than 5.5 strikeouts.
However, there are other signs pointing us toward the under in this spot. Umpire Nate Tomlinson, who is assigned to this game, has just a .95 K Boost on Swish Analytics.
None of Eflin’s plate discipline statistics have had any meaningful change year-over-year. His 10% swinging-strike rate and his 27.6% CSW rate rank below the 40th percentile of qualified pitchers.
Finally, the Milwaukee lineup is especially average. Against right-handed pitchers over the last 30 days, the Brewers rank 16th in strikeout rate (22.2%), 14th in walk rate (8.4%) and 17th in wRC+ (102) overall.
My educated guess is Eflin pitches five decent innings and records five strikeouts. With the books giving us a 5.5 strikeout total at even money, that’s a solid enough edge for me.
Pick: Under 5.5 Strikeouts (+100)
Action Labs Grade: 7/10
Nick Pivetta — Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-118)
|Red Sox @ Angels|
|First Pitch||9:38 p.m. ET|
Nick Pivetta has always been Boston’s “X” factor. The Canadian is a bit unpredictable, but he can be a legit No. 2 option when pitching to his potential. The Red Sox needed that to compliment Nathan Eovaldi at the top of the rotation.
Pivetta started the season in a disastrous fashion, allowing 18 runs over his first 20 2/3 innings pitched. He also only cashed over 5.5 strikeouts in one of his first five starts.
However, Pivetta has totally turned his season around.
In his last 6 starts, Nick Pivetta has a 1.32 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, and .153 opponent AVG.
6.0 IP, 0 R, 5 H
7.0 IP, 1 R, 3 H
9.0 IP, 1 R, 2 H
6.0 IP, 3 R, 5 H
6.0 IP, 1 R, 5 H
7.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H
41.0 IP, 6 ER, 22 H, 8 BB, 37 SO
— J.P. Long (@SoxNotes) June 4, 2022
I’m not sure exactly what happened, but maybe Pivetta just finally got stretched out after a short spring training. Either way, he’s putting together the run of his career right now, and this graph perfectly represents why I’m ready to back him.
Plus, he’s getting an Angels lineup that is reeling right now. The Red Sox have shut out the Halos over the last two games, with starters Michael Wacha and Eovaldi combining for 14 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts.
The Angels strike out 25% of the time against RHPs, good for second in the league. And over the last 30 days, they’ve posted the third-lowest walk rate in the league at 6.2% percent.
*Graphic courtesy of FanGraphs
Plus, in one start against the Angels last season, Pivetta struck out seven Angels on just 92 pitches. He recorded a 36% CSW rate in the process.
Today’s umpire, Charlie Ramos, has a 1.09 K Boost on Swish Analytics. Meanwhile, our Action Labs Player Props tool projects Pivetta for a whopping 6.8 strikeouts in this game.
Add it all up, and this is my favorite player prop on the slate.
Pick: Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-118)
Action Labs Grade: 9/10