With a 10-game slate and five evening games, there are many props to choose from on Thursday’s Major League Baseball card. Unfortunately, the betting markets are more efficiently setting strikeout prop totals. Despite this, there are two strikeout props that I like, including an over and an under play.
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. I will be adding my own personal grades as well.
Below, I have laid out two 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: 45-39, +1.1 Units, +1.3% ROI
MLB Player Props & Picks
Max Scherzer (WAS) — 8.5 Strikeouts (-121/-106)
|Giants at Nationals||Nationals (-177)|
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
Max Scherzer is one of the best pitchers in baseball even at the age of 36. He pitches deep into games, allows minimal runs and has a high strikeout rate. That is why he unsurprisingly has a high strikeout total for tonight’s game against the San Francisco Giants.
All season I have been fading Scherzer’s highly inflated strikeout totals. The question is if I am setting my money on fire by betting against one of the best pitchers in the league?
The median MLB lineup has 8.86 strikeouts per game and San Francisco’s lineup averages 8.86 strikeouts per game. With the Giants not being more disciplined nor strikeout prone than most teams, whether Scherzer goes over his total depends solely on Scherzer.
Currently, Scherzer averages more than 6 1/3 innings per start, which is much higher than the typical MLB starter this season. He has a strikeout rate of 12.16 per nine innings. On a typical night, Scherzer has 8.65 strikeouts.
Scherzer’s strikeout rate should remain the same as he has consistently had the same strikeout rate for the last seven years. However, I am skeptical that the Nationals will continue to rely on him for more than six innings per start. Last year, Scherzer averaged fewer than 5 2/3 innings per start. I believe that the Nats will rely on Scherzer for six innings or fewer today and that is why he should go under his strikeout total of 8.5 strikeouts.
Pick: Max Scherzer (WAS) Under 8.5 Strikeouts (-106) (DraftKings) would play up to -115
- Action Labs Score: 6
- Kevin Davis Score: 3
Zach Greinke (HOU) — 4.5 Strikeouts (+110/-145)
|Astros at Red Sox||Astros -115|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
Last Friday, I bet on Zach Greinke to have over 4.5 strikeouts based on the rationale that he should pitch enough innings to hit at least five strikeouts. Greinke did pitch deep in the game. In fact, he pitched the entire game: A complete game with just one earned run allowed.
He only struck out three. Let’s try this again, though.
When betting on pitcher strikeout props, there are three factors you must consider, the pitcher’s strikeout rate, how long they are expected to pitch, and the opposing lineup. Even though Greinke is not striking out as many batters, you cannot automatically bet his strikeout total unders because he is also averaging more than 6 1/3 innings per start.
There are two questions for Thursday’s start: Will Greinke revert to his old strikeout rate and/or will he continue to pitch for more than six innings per start?
In a typical start this season, Greinke goes about 6 1/3 innings and has 4.61 strikeouts. While Boston has a good lineup this year, it is close to the median MLB team in strikeouts per game: 8.53 strikeouts per game, or 3.7% fewer than the median. Once you adjust Greinke’s strikeout total for the Red Sox lineup, he should have 4.45 strikeouts.
Theoretically, Greinke’s strikeout total of 4.5 strikeouts is efficiently set if I am projecting 4.45 strikeouts. However, BetMGM is offering over 4.5 strikeouts at +110 money, which makes it a good bet. Additionally, if Greinke reverts to his 2020 strikeout rate of nine strikeouts per nine innings, he should have about 6.3 strikeouts today. That is why I am continuing to tail Greinke on strikeout props despite last week’s disappointment.
Pick: Zach Greinke Over 4.5 Strikeouts +110 (BetMGM) would play up to +100
- Action Labs Score: 9
- Kevin Davis Score: 5