3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on Monday 5/17/21
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 measure 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. Also, the weather may be an issue in some locations.
Walker Buehler Over 8.5 Strikeouts (+148)
Buehler has been solid this year in seven starts with a 3.45 ERA, and in his last four starts, the Dodgers' starter has eight or more strikeouts. So, this is not as big of a risk as it may appear.
However, stamina can be an issue. The righty has not gone more than seven innings in any start as he has crossed the 90-plus pitch barrier in every start. The other concern is the home runs.
Buehler has yielded eight on the season in just 44-plus innings. In his last two full seasons, the starter allowed one home run every nine innings. His strikeout rate is still 27.7% but his home run rate is 4.7%.
During his two full seasons, that number was half of that. Once, he cuts the home runs down, the innings and punch-outs should go even higher.
Buehler is still 3.6% over the National League average for strikeout percentage. The Arizona Diamondbacks on the road is worth a risk given they are about an average a team hitting as they come.
I like Buehler to get nine more strikeouts tonight at home.
Francisco Lindor to Hit A Home Run (+500)
The New York Mets' infielder has been awful at times this season and is still hitting just .190. Worse, his slugging percentage is just .281 where it was .488 during his six years as a member of the Cleveland Indians. His expected slugging is somewhere in the middle at .354.
Even during the shortened season in which he had a "down year," Francisco Lindor was still on pace to hit 22 home runs over a 162-game schedule. Currently, he is on track for 15 home runs.
This is behind a career-low OPS+ of 66. He does seem to be hitting way more ball to the opposite field to the tune of 24.0% compared to a normal average of 18.1%. Maybe, he really is late on the fastball this year.
In the last few games, his hard-hit rate has come up to 42.0%. It was mired in the 30's all of April.
Lindor has a low projection of 0.08 home runs, according to our model, but I like the odds at +500.
Yusei Kikuchi Over 7.5 Strikeouts (+128)
Yusei Kikuchi has a plus matchup at home for Seattle tonight against the Detroit Tigers. In each of his last three starts, the Japanese hurler has struck out seven or more batters. Given that Detroit strikes out at a 28.9% rate, Kikuchi looks like a better and a better option on Monday night.
While he is striking out batters at a 25.6% rate, Kikuchi also has brought some of his other metrics down as well. His swinging-strike rate is up to 21.6%. It was just 14.9% during the 2019 campaign.
The Mariners' starter lasts longer in games because he is not getting hit nearly as hard, too. His neutralized pitching environments show a decline of 10.4 hits per nine innings from two years ago down to 7.1. That is more than a 30% drop which has allowed him to pitch longer and rack up more punch outs.
Our model projects Kikuchi to only go 5.77 innings and only get 5.03 strikeouts. That seems a good bit too low given he is averaging six-plus innings per start. Take the over tonight.