3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/9/21
Player props can be useful in a variety of ways -- from taking advantage of them straight up (to the tune of cold hard cash) to measuring a player's potential to produce in daily fantasy baseball on FanDuel. Here, we're going to focus on the former.
Please note that betting lines and our game projections may change throughout the day after this article is published.
Corey Kluber Over 6.5 Strikeouts (+124)
While you should consider the under on Rich Hill's strikeouts prop of 5.5 only because his chances of lasting more than six innings to get six strikeouts versus the New York Yankees is almost zero. However, let's look at the whiffs prop for the 35-year-old Corey Kluber, because the plus money on the over is hard to pass up.
The problem with the first few weeks of this year that nothing was normal last year. This year, starting pitchers should be around 30 starts. It should be much more like a normal marathon instead of the sprint we saw last season, and how teams will treat starting pitchers in terms of workload early on in 2021 is a wild card.
Kluber's season debut is one example of that as he was allowed to throw only 74 pitches, which he turned into four innings and five strikeouts. But he also gave up three walks in that game, which will likely prove to be an outlier. That drove up his pitch count and may have led to the early removal.
In his last full season with Cleveland, which came way back in 2018, Kluber had a strikeout rate of 26.6%. He's thrown only 40.2 innings since then, but he has a strikeout rate of 23.2% in that time. A matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays helps as Tampa had a 26.9% strikeout rate a year ago, the second-highest.
Our projections may not be all that bullish on Kluber -- forecasting him for 5.8 strikeouts -- but I like the value we're getting on the over with the +124 number, so that's where I lean.
Walker Buehler Under 7.5 Strikeouts (-132)
Buehler's strikeouts-per-nine rate over 2019 and 2020 was 10.5, so if he goes seven innings today, the over will have a good chance. But will the Los Angeles Dodgers let Buehler rack up that many pitches? In his first start, Buehler struck out only four batters in six innings and tossed 90 pitches. The Dodgers' starter averaged just 6.5 strikeouts and 6 innings a start in 2019.
Washington is also a very tough team to strike out. In 2020, the Nats held the second-lowest strikeout rate (20.3%).
Our algorithm projects Buehler for only 6.0 strikeouts in 5.8 innings. The under is the play.
Johnny Cueto Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+104)
The Colorado Rockies are not the same team away from Coors as they are in Coors.
San Francisco Giants righty Johnny Cueto still has plus stuff, especially with his fastball. He struck out seven batters in 5.2 innings during his first start of the season against the Seattle Mariners.
While Colorado's overall strikeout rate last year was 24.1%, which was worse than the league average, their strikeout rate was 26.4% away from home. They project to be one of the worst offenses in the league, per FanGraphs WAR projections.
Our model has Cueto at 5.1 strikeouts, but with the over at +104 -- compared to -128 on the under -- I like siding with Cueto to get six-plus punchouts in a superb matchup against a Rockies team that is playing on no rest and had to travel to San Francisco last night.
Chris Wassel is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Chris Wassel also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username chriswassel. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.