After taking a good, long look at today’s pitching matchups using the Action Labs Player Prop tool — the tool grades each bet on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade — there are two strikeout total props I’m targeting today.
Additionally, there’s a position player prop that I believe might provide some value while adding an extra sweat.
MLB Player Props & Picks
Nick Pivetta — Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-110)
|Red Sox at Blue Jays||Red Sox +115|
|Time||7:07 p.m. ET|
After years of mediocre pitching in Philadelphia, Pivetta has had a bit of a resurgence this season in Boston. His 4.30 ERA and 1.28 WHIP won’t jump off the page at you, but he’s been a fairly stable arm in a very questionable back end of Boston’s rotation.
This season, Pivetta has done two things that make playing this over look quite good.
First, he’s been eating a good number of innings, averaging just over 5 1/3 per start, and his 96.1 total innings pitched are the second most on the team.
Second, he’s been missing a lot more bats. Pivetta’s strikeout rate has risen steadily over the past few seasons, from 8.55 per nine innings in 2019 to 10.56 this year. While he throws a four-seam about half the time, his curveball has become his put-away pitch, upping its whiff rate from 20.7% last year to 32.5% this year.
All in all, PIvetta has been eating innings while missing more and more bats – that’s a very good combination for an over bettor. Plus, Pivetta’s road splits are insane, having managed a 2.89 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in eight road starts this year. More importantly, Pivetta’s averaging over 5 2/3 innings per start while striking out over 11 batters per nine away from Fenway Park this year.
The Blue Jays boast one of the best lineups in baseball and the team is rather disciplined, but Pivetta has punched out 14 in 10 innings against Toronto this season. We’re projecting PIvetta around 6.2 strikeouts today, so there’s value in taking the over.
Action Labs Grade: 9/10
Ryan Yarbrough — Under 4.5 Strikeouts (+120)
|Orioles vs. Rays||Rays -250|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
You might not believe this, but Baltimore is one of the best left-handed-hitting lineups in baseball.
Baltimore has posted a top five OPS (.758) and wRC+ (108) against southpaws this season while striking out only 22.7% of the time. It doesn’t translate into wins because of Baltimore’s pitching staff, but there are some bats in the O’s lineup that mash against that side.
Meanwhile, left-hander Ryan Yarbrough’s strikeout rate has steadily dropped over the past few seasons, sitting around 19% so far in 2021. Yarbrough hunts for weak contact and to his credit, he has been quite effective at doing so (27.1% hard-hit rate).
But Yarbrough’s main pitch is the cutter, and the Orioles love to hit cutters. Baltimore ranks fifth in weighted cutter runs created this season, with 11.5.
Yarbrough hovers right around four or five strikeouts per game, and we have him projected at exactly 4.5 for this start. However, I believe the Orioles lineup presents matchup issues for him and the under at plus-money is a positive EV bet.
Action Labs Grade: 8/10
Trey Mancini — Over 1.5 Total Bases (+140)
|Orioles vs. Rays||Orioles +220|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
On that note, Mancini has knocked Yarborough around over the years. Mancini is just 6-for-20 lifetime against the lefty, but he’s racked up two doubles and three homers against him.
A bunch of hard-hit balls has resulted in good expected statistics, with Mancini recording a .381 xBA and an .852 xSLG in his career against Yarbrough.
Plus, like the rest of the Baltimore lineup, Mancini looks to be a good matchup for Yarbrough since he loves to hit lefties and mashes cutters. Mancini posted a .917 OPS against LHPs this season — compared to just .722 against RHPs — and a .364 xBA/.833 xSLG on cutters.
I’m taking Manicini over 1.5 total bases at huge plus-money. However, if you don’t feel comfortable taking the over bases and would rather make a more conservative play, I think over 0.5 hits at -200 presents a small amount of value as well.
Action Labs Grade: 10/10