Best MLB prop bets for today, 8/23: Kirby outduels Kopech as Mariners win

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher George Kirby (68) reacts after getting a strikeout against the Texas Rangers to end the top of the seventh inning at T-Mobile Park.
Photo of Javan Shouey

Javan Shouey


Show Bio

A lifelong sports fan from Northwestern Pennsylvania. Die-hard supporter of the Steelers, Pirates and Cavaliers. Insane passion for writing about sports and helping others improve. Incredibly thankful for the platform Pickswise is giving me. For Javan Shouey media enquiries, please email
Read more about Javan Shouey

Yesterday’s article went 1-1 as both Lucas Giolito and Jesus Luzardo pitched well, but Giolito’s 100 pitch workload helped him allow the 5th hit we needed. Today’s article will look to get back in the winning ways with the 3 bets that stood out to me this morning. As always, there are also numerous other entertaining games to check out, and with 16 games on tap thanks to a doubleheader in Anaheim, MLB fans should have plenty of baseball to enjoy. Let’s dive in!

All of today’s biggest games are available to bet with BetMGM, the premier destination for online sports betting. New customers can earn themselves a $1,000 deposit bonus by signing up right now! Click here to lock in this great sign-up offer.


Seattle Mariners ML / Michael Kopech 2+ walks allowed (-120)

Odds available at BetMGM and DraftKings sportsbooks at time of publishing. Playable to -130 odds.

I don’t think Michael Kopech has been healthy for the majority of his career, yet the Chicago White Sox insist he is by rolling him out every 5 or 6 days for another start. The ultra-talented flamethrower has never had a complete grasp of the strike zone, and his walk rate has ballooned year over year. His league average 8.4% BB% in 2021 jumped to 11.5% last season, a number that ranked him in the 8th percentile. This season his BB% sits at 14.5% which ranks 3rd percentile and ranks as the highest mark among pitchers with 110 or more innings pitched. Among that list his percentage of in-zone pitches ranks 12th worst, and among those 12 worst rates his chase rate is 2.4% lower than the next closest name. His 58.8% strike rate as a whole ranks him 2nd worst behind Blake Snell, and he lets batters get ahead in 3-0 counts 7.7% of the time, the highest rate in the sport.

Kopech’s last 10 games have resulted in a 20.6% BB% and 15.3% K%. Batters are swinging just 39.3% of the time while chasing just 22.7% of the time. His 10 starts have resulted in 6, 3, 7, 4, 4, 1, 5, 4, 5, and 4 walks, eclipsing this mark 9 times. The first game in that stretch was against these Mariners, as Kopech walked 6 batters in 4.1 innings. The Mariners have employed a patient approach throughout this series, drawing 4 walks against both Mike Clevinger and Touki Toussaint. On the season against right-handed pitching, the Mariners have the 10th highest BB% at 9.0%, and there are numerous batters willing to take ball 4 in the order including J.P. Crawford and Eugenio Suarez batting 1st and 3rd. Cal Raleigh gets the day off, but sandwiched between Crawford and Suarez is Julio Rodriguez who returns from an illness that held him out for 2 games. His historic stretch earlier this month can’t be expected to continue, but his presence and production in the order is certainly welcome.

Kopech struggles outside of just his command, as well, ranking 1st percentile in barrel rate at 13.9%. This worrisome aspect of his game has resulted in 28 home runs allowed, including 3 in his last start and 1 or more in 8 of his last 9 starts. The Mariners rank 11th in home runs this season offensively, and across the last 30 days against right-handed pitching sit 1st pull rate while 5th in fly ball rate and 5th in hard-hit rate. Overall, against right-handed pitching in that span they sit 5th in AVG, 4th in wOBA, and have a 133 wRC+. Kopech somehow allowed only 1 runner to cross the plate in the first matchup, despite 6 hits and 6 walks allowed, and the 2nd time around I expect better execution with runners in scoring position. Behind Kopech is a White Sox bullpen ranking 25th in ERA and 26th in FIP across the last 30 days.

George Kirby will make the start for Seattle today, and the right-hander has been lights out this season with a 3.23 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. His 3.24 FIP, 3.72 SIERA, and 3.79 xERA are also positive indicators, and he currently has the 4th shortest odds for AL Cy Young despite being only 25 years old. Kirby’s elite command has resulted in 1 of 0 walks allowed in 47 of 51 career starts, and he draws a White Sox offense today sporting the 4th lowest BB% against RHP in the last 30 days. In that same span, they have the 3rd highest ground ball rate, 3rd lowest wOBA, and a wRC+ of 80. Their offensive output this season has been nothing short of disappointing outside of Luis Robert Jr. Even Jake Burger was traded at the deadline, further lessening the power this team was already missing.

They struggled terribly against Luis Castillo and his fastball, and Kirby has an electric arsenal of his own. After allowing 4 earned runs in his last start, I expect Kirby to bounce back well in this matchup. The right-hander has allowed 4 or more earned runs now just 6 times this season, and the starts following the previous 5 have combined for 32 innings with 2 earned runs allowed and 21 base runners to 38 strikeouts. Behind him is a Mariners bullpen ranking 2nd in ERA and 1st in FIP across the last 30 days. They used some arms yesterday but have several available for tonight, and their unit is one of the deeper in baseball.

Check out today’s YRFI/NRFI best bests too!

Jose Urquidy (HOU) under 5.5 strikeouts (-150)

Odds available at BetMGM sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -160 odds.

This is about as much juice as I will lay on a play, but there is a lot to like with this number. Jose Urquidy has made adjustments to his game this season, throwing fewer fastballs in favor of his changeup and sweeper, and throwing the ball inside the strike zone far less often that previous seasons. His chase rate has increased, and his 12.7% swinging strike rate is a career-high mark. That explains why his line is 5.5 when otherwise a hit-rate oriented bettor may blindly hammer his under. Even with understanding the changes he has made to his pitch mix and location; this line still strikes me as too high and shows very solid value to the under.

Urquidy, despite an increased profile, has still been held under this 5.5 mark in 2 of his 8 starts this year. The times he went over were against the Twins and Angels, 2 of baseball’s more strikeout prone offenses. His workload is an area of concern as the right-hander has only pitched into the 6th inning 3 times this season, finishing it just once. Since his return from the IL Urquidy has made 3 appearances, throwing 62 and 80 pitches as a starter, and then contributing 2 innings of relief across 3o pitches 5 days ago. His 2 starts were made on 6 days of rest, but he enters today on only 4 days. The Astros bullpen has been heavily used in previous days, which likely leads them to stretching him back out, but I would be very surprised to see him reach his season average of 81.3 pitches per start.

Even if he does reach 80 or more pitches, his matchup is not the easiest against a Boston offense that can do damage in any matchup. The Red Sox allowed high strikeout totals to Clarke Schmidt and Justin Verlander in 2 of their last 3 chances against right-handed starters, but still rank as the 8th lowest K% against RHP in the last 30 days. In that span they have the 6th highest chase contact rate and 10th highest overall rate of contact. They have the 7th highest hard-hit rate and rank 9th in SLG as well, and Urquidy has a middling batted ball profile, ranking 39th percentile in xBA and 38th percentile in barrel rate. Verlander and Schmidt both benefited from having their curveball working, but Urquidy only uses his curveball 12.6% of the time. His 2 main wipeout pitches, the changeup and sweeper, are both offerings Boston has seen very well from right-handed pitchers this season. They rank in the bottom 10 in K% while top 10 in both AVG and wOBA against both of those pitches from that handedness this year, and with his workload concerns this number is a one I am willing to lay juice on.

You can bet on today’s MLB props action over at DraftKings Sportsbook, which has a great sign-up offer where you can bet $5 and get $200 in bonus bets no matter what! Click here to take advantage and claim your bonus bets right now.


Andrew Abbott (CIN) over 5.5 strikeouts (-110)

Odds available at BetMGM sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -125 odds.

Andrew Abbott is a pitcher I bet on in his MLB debut back in the beginning of May, and the rookie left-hander tossed 6 scoreless innings with 6 strikeouts against the Brewers. His call-up to the major league’s was a rapid ascension this season, tossing only 15.2 AA innings and 38.1 AAA innings before his nod to join the Reds. Cincinnati had a glaring need for starting pitching help with injuries to the top of their pitching staff, but Abbott’s elite strikeout arsenal throughout the minor leagues helped make their decision to promote him easier. Since being called up the southpaw has served as the Reds ace as they push for a surprise playoff push in the tightly contested National League. Abbott’s 81.1 MLB innings have resulted in a 2.99 ERA and his underlying metrics are slowly improving with a more than respectable 3.74 xERA, 3.86 FIP, and 4.14 SIERA. He has benefited from a fortunately low BABIP and high LOB%, but his strikeout capabilities are where our focus is today.

When away from Great American Ballpark, the 2nd toughest park to pitch your home games in, Abbott has found great success in the strikeout department. His last 5 road starts have resulted in 8, 6, 9, 5, and 9 strikeouts. The 5-strikeout outing was against a tough Cubs offense that scored 4 earned runs off him but getting 5 Ks with only 10 outs recorded across 73 pitches was still solid for the purpose of this bet. His overall K/IP this season sits at 1.09, and he has recorded 6 or more punch outs in 8 of his 14 starts. His last start ended with only 5 strikeouts in 5 innings of work, but that was a tough matchup for Ks against a contact-oriented Cleveland lineup. Today’s matchup is far more appealing for numerous reasons.

The Los Angeles Angels across the last 30 days of play rank dead last in both zone contact rate at 81.8% and swinging strike rate at 15.2%. Their chase rate in that span is 38% which is the highest among any team in the sport, and their contact rate on those chases is just 27th, barely edging out the Pirates, Rockies, and Athletics. Since June 25, the Angels have faced 10 left-handed starting pitchers. Their 394 PA since that date against southpaw pitching has resulted in a 27.2% strikeout rate, the 3rd highest mark in that span behind the Rockies and White Sox. Mike Trout also returned to last night’s lineup after an extended IL stint, and his 29% K% against left-handers this year doesn’t help lower their strikeout rate, despite adding a lethal bat. Not only does Trout strikeout often as is, but he skipped his rehab outings and is essentially rehabbing at the major league level, which is hard to do, even for Mike Trout.

Abbott has already reached his most innings as a professional this season, and he was pulled at 84 pitches in his last start after 5 innings of 2-run ball. There is some concern he could sit in the 80-90 pitch count range as opposed to the 95-110 range he had been seeing, but with Abbott starting game 1 of a doubleheader for Cincinnati today that worry is a bit more alleviated than usual. In 70 PA the 3rd time through the order this season Abbott has allowed a .606 OPS while maintaining a 27.1% K%. If pitching well today, I don’t see a reason for an early exit, and even if he only sees around 85 pitches again, I like this price given the matchup at hand.

Bet365 – the world’s #1 sportsbook – has arrived in the United States! If you sign up right now and bet just $1, you can immediately get $200 in bonus bets! Join Bet365 by clicking this link.


By signing up you agree to our terms and privacy policy