MLB Player Props Bets & Picks: 3 Best Bets for Ryan Yarbrough, Dallas Keuchel & Jesús Luzardo (Friday, April 2)

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Dallas Keuchel.

After finishing 2-1 on my opening day player prop picks, I am back with three more MLB player props for today’s slate. With a slate of only seven games, there are not as many props to choose among, but there is still great value to be found.

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 own 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: 2-1, +0.7 Units, +23.3% ROI (My action can be followed on the Action App at BoogieDownPicks.)

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MLB Player Props & Picks

Ryan Yarbrough Over 4.5 Strikeouts (+110)

Rays vs. Marlins Rays -104
Time  7:10 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

When evaluating strikeout props, I project strikeouts based on projected usage, strikeout rate and opposing lineup strikeout rate. Ryan Yarbrough probably is the hardest pitcher in the league to project innings for based on his role with the Rays. Yarbrough is a borderline long reliever/short starter.

Sometimes he pitches four innings, other times he goes six. I believe Yarbrough will pitch for at least five innings on Friday, and that is why I am betting that he has over 4.5 strikeouts.

The Rays’ bullpen has been decimated with injuries, so as a result I believe Yarbrough will get enough pitches in to go over his strikeout total. The southpaw may have only averaged 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings last season, but my model projects him to average 8.13 strikeouts per nine innings this season.

Additionally, my model projects the lineup that the Marlins are likely to deploy on Friday night will average 10.11 strikeouts per nine innings, which would have been the second worst in the league last year. Against a strikeout-prone lineup with a larger workload than usual, I like Yarbrough to go over his strikeout total particularly with +128 odds.

Pick: Ryan Yarbrough Over 4.5 Strikeouts (+110, play to +105)

Action Labs Score: 8
Kevin Davis Score: 3

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Dallas Keuchel Over 3.5 Strikeouts (+100)

White Sox vs. Angels LAA -111
Time  9:38 p.m. ET
Best Book BetMGM

Dallas Keuchel is part of an interesting class of pitchers to bet on, those who throw many innings but do not strike out many batters.

Last year, that category of pitchers were my favorite pitchers to take strikeout total overs on. Their totals are low because they are not power pitchers, but I like them to go over because they will get enough outs in the game for enough of those outs to be strikeouts.

Keuchel averaged only 6.0 strikeouts per nine innings last season, which was his lowest since his rookie season. This season, Keuchel is projected to average 7.16 strikeouts per nine innings.

When you combine that with Keuchel averaging 5.74 innings per start, the former AL Cy Young Award winner should get at least four strikeouts against the Angels, who should average 7.68 strikeouts per game according to my model.

It is hard for any MLB pitcher, even Keuchel, to have fewer than 3.5 strikeouts if they pitch around six innings.

Pick: Dallas Keuchel Over 3.5 Strikeouts (+100, play to -140)

Action Labs Score: 8
Kevin Davis Score: 9

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Jesús Luzardo Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-130)

Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics OAK -125
Time  9:40 p.m. ET
Best Book PointsBet

There are many people who believe that Jesús Luzardo is going to be the next big thing. Personally, I am a Luzardo skeptic because I believe that he is currently worse than the average MLB starting pitcher.

The fun part about MLB strikeout props, though, is that a pitcher does not need to be good to go over their total.

Last season, Luzardo averaged nine strikeouts per nine innings and my model projects him to average around 10 per nine innings in 2021. With Luzardo being a flamethrower, I like him to have more than 4.5 strikeouts against the Astros on Friday night.

Yesterday, I bet on A’s starting pitcher Chris Bassitt to go over his 4.5 strikeout total and my bet lost. I feel more confident about my Luzardo bet because Bassitt is not nearly as good at striking out batters as his lefty teammate. One reason why Luzardo’s strikeout total is low is because the Astros are consistently one of the best teams at not striking out.

In 2020, the Astros lineup averaged only 7.33 strikeouts per game, the fewest in the league. In 2019, the Astros also lead the league with fewest team strikeouts with 7.33.

Even though Houston is great at avoiding strikeouts, the betting markets overvalue their strength. My model projects the Astros to strike out more this year at 8.1 per game.

Luzardo is good enough at striking out batters to go over his total even against the Astros.

Pick: Jesus Luzardo Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-130) would play up to -145 (PointsBet)

Action Labs Score: 6
Kevin Davis Score: 5

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