MLB Futures Betting: 3 Season-Long Strikeout Props to Target
The baseball season isn't too far away, making this a great time to get in some MLB betting via the robust futures market at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Let's take a look at some season-long strikeout props for a few hitters. The MLB season is a grind but can offer some solid edges for props that are backed by strong projections. There are three pitchers that have my eye this season so let's jump in.
Cristian Javier Over 199.5 Strikeouts (-122)
The 2023 MLB season gets underway this Thursday and let's jump into some pitcher season-long strikeout props!
We'll start off with a rising ace for the Houston Astros, Cristian Javier, who has a strikeout prop set at 199.5 this season. Javier is coming off a strong year where he pitched a total of 148.2 innings with a 33.2% strikeout rate, which was good for 194 strikeouts. That strikeout rate put him as the third-highest in the league among pitchers with at least 140 innings pitched. Add all of this up, and he posted 11.74 strikeouts per 9 innings (K/9).
Javier had a total of 25 starts and 30 games due to him being in the bullpen for a portion of the season. When it comes to the league leaders last season for pitching categories, most of them were up at 200 innings pitched. He lagged behind them in total innings pitched by nearly 50 innings, but still had the 14th-most strikeouts.
With Justin Verlander going to the New York Mets and Lance McCullers not ready for the start of the season, Javier has a role in the starting rotation locked in.
This should put him in a spot to exceed the 148.2 innings he pitched last season, which will put him on a path to hit the over on his season-long strikeout prop given the strong level of production he showed last year.
Shohei Ohtani Under 198.5 Strikeouts (-113)
Okay, hear me out -- under 196.5 strikeouts for Shohei Ohtani.
I know. This could be a bit of a shock for some people, but there are supporting factors and a way to hedge out of this. Ohtani is amazing, and we're running out of words to describe what he can accomplish, but this is about the prop and his production.
Last season, Ohtani pitched 166.0 innings, a 33.2% strikeout rate, which was good for 219 total strikeouts. He could replicate that exact season, which would put him over his prop. So. why do I like the under?
The first reason would be the adjustment to the newly implemented MLB pitch clock. When the bases are empty, the timer is 15 seconds, and when runners are on, the timer is 20 seconds. If we look back to last season, Ohtani averaged 21.7 seconds between pitches when the bases were empty and 26.9 seconds between pitches with runners on.
Ohtani was among the slowest-paced pitchers in the league last season, and during this year's spring training, he said he felt "a bit rushed".
Will the change impact his strikeout efficiency? Will the Los Angeles Angels continue to limit the volume of innings he pitches? Are the Angels going to be in a competitive playoff race at the end of the season that would require Ohtani to pitch? If the Angels are out of the race, will Ohtani limit his innings and protect himself as he heads to free agency? These are some questions that have me concerned about his potential to hit the over on his strikeout prop.
Now, I mentioned at the top there is a way to hedge out of this if you do bet on the under. The answer is to bet on Ohtani to win the AL MVP at +220. The logic is simple; if Ohtani were to hit the over on this prop, he would be having an awesome season, making him a near certainty to win the award.
While the under is not the most exciting bet, external factors provide too much uncertainty to pass on this under.
Luis Castillo Over 188.5 Strikeouts (-113)
Finally, I'm going to over 188.5 strikeouts for Luis Castillo of the Seattle Mariners.
Castillo was traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Mariners last season and had a solid year on the mound. Castillo wasn't ready at the start of last season and only had 25 starts for 150.1 innings with a total of 167 strikeouts. He had a strong 27.2% strikeout rate or 10.0 K/9 -- along with a solid 12.6% swinging-strike rate.
It was a good overall year but wasn't the best we've seen from Castillo. He's been up at 192 strikeouts in 2021 with 187.2 innings pitched and 226 strikeouts in 2019 with 190.2 innings pitched. He's shown a higher upside than what he ended with last season and now gets a full year in Seattle.
Speaking of Seattle, their ballpark is the third-best for strikeouts, which is a clear boost for Castillo and his strikeout prop. If we glance at Castillo's FanGraphs page, the average of his projections have him going for 196.1 strikeouts in 188.0 innings pitched.
He's crossed the 188.5 strikeout mark previously, and with a full season ahead of him, Castillo is in a spot to hit the over on his season-long prop.