Wednesday’s MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: 3 Pitchers to Fade, Including Shane Bieber (April 7)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber.
After finishing 2-1 on my three player props on Tuesday’s card, I’m back with three more picks for Wednesday’s slate. With a full schedule of games, there are many props to choose from. For today’s slate, I am targeting unders on strong pitchers.
For this article I will be evaluating my favorite MLB player props based on what my model likes and what the Action Labs Player Prop tool likes. The Action Labs Player Prop tool grades each bet on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade. Additionally, I will be adding my personal grades as well.
Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I am playing, the case for each bet, and the best books to find odds on those player props.
2021 MLB Pitcher Prop Record: 9-3, +5.02 Units, +41.9% ROI (My action can be followed on the Action App at BoogieDownPicks)
MLB Player Props & Picks
Shane Bieber Under 8.5 Strikeouts (-125)
|Royals vs. Indians||Indians -200|
|Time||1:10 p.m. ET|
The betting public is largely Cleveland Indians’ Beliebers. And 55 percent of the public is on the Indians’ moneyline, with 88% on the run line. That’s largely due to the strength of Cleveland pitcher Shane Bieber, winner of the 2020 AL Cy Young award.
Bieber is certainly a great talent, but his strikeout total is overinflated based on last year’s performance. That’s is why I am betting that he throws for fewer than 8.5 strikeouts in this contest.
Last season, Bieber led the major leagues with 14.2 strikeouts per nine innings. If Bieber has a strikeout rate that high again, he’s likely to go over his total as he can be expected to throw for about six innings per start.
Unfortunately for Bieber, that’s the highest his strikeout rate is likely to get. Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and Sandy Koufax never had a strikeout rate that high in any of their full seasons. In 2019 and 2018, Beiber’s strikeout rate was between nine and 11 strikeouts per nine innings.
It will be a sweat, but I expect him to go under his strikeout total in this spot.
Pick: Shane Bieber — Under 8.5 Strikeouts (-125. Play up to -130.
Action Labs Score: 9
Kevin Davis Score: 2
Trevor Bauer Under 8.5 Strikeouts (-110)
|Dodgers vs. Athletics||Dodgers -165|
|Time||3:37 p.m. ET|
If you have the stomach to bet against the 2020 AL Cy Young winner, then you should also bet against Trevor Bauer.
The 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner, who is a new addition to the Dodgers, should regress this season after a strong campaign a season ago. Last year, Bauer had a strikeout rate of 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings. In the past Bauer had between 10 and 11 strikeouts per nine innings. Nine or more strikeouts is a high-water mark for Bauer, and I expect him to go under his total.
Action Labs projects Bauer to throw 7.4 strikeouts, while my model projects him to throw 7.2 in this game. One reason why Bauer has a high strikeout total is that he’s expected to pitch for many innings this season, as he averaged 6 2/3 innings per start last year.
My model projects him to average six innings per start, which while impressive, is not enough innings to go over his strikeout total. Along with Bauer’s dropoff in strikeout rate, I recommend an under bet on his strikeout total.
Pick: Trevor Bauer — Under 8.5 Strikeouts (-110). Play up to -120.
Action Labs Score: 9
Kevin Davis Score: 3
Blake Snell Under 7.5 Strikeouts (-150)
|Giants vs. Padres||Padres -150|
|Time||4:10 p.m. ET|
Like my other two picks, Blake Snell is a talented pitcher whose strikeout total is inflated. Last season with the Tampa Bay Rays, Snell averaged 11.3 strikeouts per game and around 4 2/3 innings per start.
Even though I project Snell to pitch for one more inning per start this season, my model still projects him to throw for 6.3 strikeouts in this contest. The ActionLabs model is more optimistic on Snell, as it projects Snell to have 6.5 strikeouts. At -150 odds, the juice is worth the squeeze, although I would prefer a better price.
Another reason why I like Snell’s under is because of the San Francisco Giants lineup. They might have a weak lineup, but it should be one of the better ones this season at avoiding strikeouts. While the Giants are currently averaging 10.2 strikeouts per game, my model projects their lineup to average 8.8 strikeouts per game.
Against a disciplined lineup and due to a lack of innings, I don’t think Snell will have eight or more strikeouts in this matinee.
Pick: Blake Snell — Under 7.5 Strikeouts (-150)
Action Labs Score: 7
Kevin Davis Score: 1