Best MLB prop bet for today, 10/3: Zack Wheeler begins strong postseason run
The playoffs are finally here and Tuesday’s MLB slate features 4 separate Game 1s. The Wild Card round is sure to bring plenty of entertainment, including a series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins. These divisional rivals will look to cut their rivals season short, and we have a Game 1 player prop on Philadelphia starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. Let’s dive in, but make sure you also check out our MLB picks on the side and total for EVERY playoff matchup.
Zack Wheeler (PHI) over 17.5 outs recorded (-114)
Odds available at FanDuel sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -125 odds.
Betting on pitcher props in the playoffs can lead to some possible landmines thanks to far shorter leashes on average when compared to regular season games. In the regular season, the manager of a team is trying to save his bullpen for the course of the season and that sometimes results in overextending an outing from a starting pitcher. In the playoffs the philosophy changes as intensity picks up and bullpens see a heavier workload in attempt at winning each game possible. While some pitchers are harmed greatly by this change in thinking, ace-like arms like Zack Wheeler can see similarly hefty workloads. Last postseason saw the Phillies top arm carry heavy usage, totaling 35.2 innings of playoff baseball while tossing 6 or more innings in each of his first 4 starts. Entering the 2022 playoffs Wheeler hadn’t been in good health. He missed an entire month before seeing 58, 62, and 77 pitches in his final 3 regular season starts. Despite this, the Phillies didn’t hold back when the games mattered most, letting Wheeler complete 6.1 innings across 96 pitches in game 1 of their series with the Cardinals. Wheeler saw only 4 innings with 67 pitches in his final regular season outing this year, but that was a plan for him to be at peak freshness come game time this Tuesday.
Not only is Wheeler healthy right now, but the right-hander has been in excellent form. His last 15 starts have spanned a combined 93.2 innings, clearing this 6-inning mark in 13 of those starts. The only misses were his last start of the regular season, a planned short outing, and his 1st of 2 back-to-back starts against the potent Braves lineup. Those 15 starts combined for a 3.17 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 3.48 SIERA, 22.5% K-BB%, 42.6% GB%, 36.0% hard-hit rate, 4.8%-barrel rate and 14.0% swinging strike rate. That combination is nothing short of elite, and Wheeler has even pitched well against these Marlins in that span with 6 innings of 2-run ball in his first August start. Wheeler reached 6 or more innings in all 3 of his matchups against Miami this season, and for the most part he has been very good against active Marlin batters. Only Josh Bell has more than 1 home run against him while the team as a whole has 4 in 152 PA. Just a .685 OPS in that sample paired with the team’s wRC+ of 93 against right-handed pitching since the all-star break presents Wheeler with a nice matchup on paper. In that span the team ranks 19th in wOBA with the 3rd lowest BB% and the highest GB%. Their chase rate sits 7th highest in that timeframe, and these factors in unison should lead to short at-bats and quick outs from the Phillies right-hander. Given the increased variance of managerial decision-making in the postseason I wouldn’t personally bet this past -125, but I do like getting in under 6 innings at this current pricing.
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