Best pitcher props for Tuesday's MLB slate: Rolling with Walker
Each week, when I write my Tuesday MLB article, I’m amazed at how fast the season is progressing. We’ve seen most starting pitchers take the mound at least 10 times, giving us plenty of data for our player prop bets. Before we get to those, make sure you check out our full game previews and picks if you’re looking to wager on any game sides or totals.
With most stadiums back (at least close to) full capacity, I’m noticing an uptick in pitcher strikeout rates at home. It makes sense — after a full season of no fans, the adrenaline of pitching with tens of thousands of supporters cheering most definitely has an effect. Tonight, my best bets focus on two pitchers with plus matchups, in their home ballparks. Both of whom are looking to continue on their recent success and sting together another plus outing.
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Taijuan Walker (NYM) over 5.5 strikeouts (-105)
Line available at publishing.
In his first season with the Mets, Walker is living up to the hype he garnered when he debuted in 2013. Helping to solidify the rotation behind all-world ace, Jacob Degrom, Walker has pitched to a 2.07 ERA in his first 61 innings this season. He’s picked up 60 strikeouts in his 11 starts, including at least eight in three of his last four starts (excluding his shortened outing versus the Braves due to an injury). And, in his 28 innings against teams with an above-average strikeout rate, Walker has punched out 33 batters in just 28 innings.
The Cubs fit the mold as one of those free-swinging teams. The North-Siders have baseball’s ninth-highest strikeout rate this season, and the seventh-highest called plus swinging strike percentage (measuring pitches in which a strikeout can be registered). In an April outing versus the Cubs, Walker had seven strikeouts in less than four innings, despite not having his best stuff. Tonight at Citi Field, where he’s pitched to a stingy 1.23 ERA, Walker should be able to keep the Cubs at bay.
Walker re-introduced his sinker last month, mixing in with his four-seam fastball, split-finger, and slider. The combination of the four, versus the Cubs who are a below-average team versus all variations of the fastball, should yield strikeouts in line with Walker’s production of late.
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Frankie Montas (OAK) over 5.5 strikeouts (-125)
Line available at publishing.
After a tumultuous April, plagued by two rough starts, Montas has settled down for the AL West-leading Athletics. Since May 1st, Montas has put up a 3.38 ERA and struck out 48 batters in 45.1 innings. He’s reached six strikeouts in each of his last five starts at home, including a seven strikeout performance versus tonight’s opponent, the Angels.
Speaking of whom, the Angels come into tonight’s game banged up. Already without Mike Trout, Los Angeles could also be without Anthony Rendon, who left Monday’s game with an injury. This would leave a potential lineup with at least six batters with strikeout rates well above the Major League Average.
Over the last 30 days, the Angels have been right at the Major League Average for strikeout rate. Montas has pitched the majority of his innings versus teams in the bottom ten of strikeout rate this season (seven of his thirteen starts). Against a lighter lineup, at home, I have Montas projected north of six strikeouts tonight.
Be sure to check out our full game preview for Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics