Best MLB prop bet for today, 3/31: A high number for Jake Irvin

Cincinnati Reds left fielder Will Benson (30) returns to the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Great American Ball Park.
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The Cincinnati Reds offense came through for us yesterday with 7 hits and 4 earned runs off of Patrick Corbin, cashing our bet of over 5.5 hits allowed from the Washington starter. For today’s prop we are staying in the same game but changing lanes with a strikeout prop. Let’s dive in!

Jake Irvin (WAS) under 5.5 strikeouts recorded (-135)

Odds available at DraftKings and BetMGM sportsbook at time of initial post to Twitter. Risking 1u. Playable to -150.

Jake Irvin figures to be a mainstay in the Washington Nationals 2024 rotation after making 24 starts with the club last season. His results did pick up as the year went on, but his entire 121 inning sample didn’t show a ton of promise from a betting perspective. Irvin struggled with command all season, walking 65 batters in 143.1 IP between AAA and the major league team. Among qualified MLB pitchers last season Irvin had the 7th lowest first pitch strike rate, consistently falling behind in counts. Pitchers like Kodai Senga and Blake Snell can often get away with that style of pitching due to their elite stuff, but Irvin is not nearly as fortunate. The right-hander ranked just 3rd percentile last year in both whiff rate and chase rate, struggling to find consistency in the strikeout department. Among his 24 starts, only 8 saw 6 or more strikeouts recorded from the rookie. His season-long K/9 of 7.36 did rise to 8.34 across his final 11 starts, but projection systems aren’t buying in for 2024 with his outlook being close to the 7.40 range. 

Irvin made his first two spring training appearances from the bullpen but did strike out 13 across the 15 innings as a starter to close out exhibition play with an emphasis on throwing strikes. His outs recorded prop sits at just 14.5, however, and I found the under on 5.5 strikeouts to be a bit too cheap. It is worth noting that as we get deeper into the season lineups can be watered down on Sundays with teams looking to travel following the game, and some regular starters can see scheduled rest. For Cincinnati that isn’t truly an option at the moment as they are dealing with a multitude of injuries to positional players. With the right-hander in Irvin on the mound the Reds will likely trot out 5 left-handed batters, which is Irvin’s far worse split overall. The Reds are a lineup that will stock some high strikeout rate bats, but this line is a bit too high for me this early in the season.

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