Eys Breakers: Expert Picks – MLB Strikeout Props For Monday

Max Scherzer and the Mets make today's free MLB betting pick
(Image Credit: Imagn)

Betting analyst Keith Eyster gives his best MLB player props picks for today — Monday, August 1, 2022.

There are 10 games on the MLB schedule today that all get started at 6:40 ET or later. The trade deadline is tomorrow and rumors are swirling all over the place already. Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani, Carlos Rodon and Frankie Montas are among the high-profile names being tossed around with the potential of changing teams in the immediate future (and apparently Josh Hader just as I type this up.) 

Weather is mostly clear across the league today, with the lone exception being in Cleveland. 

Free MLB Player Props Picks For Monday

Max Scherzer Over 6.5 Strikeouts (-135)

Let’s get started in the nation’s capital, where the Washington Nationals host the New York Mets and their former ace Max Scherzer for a division matchup. 

Scherzer has once again put together an elite season with a 2.09 ERA, 32.6% strikeout rate, and 4.7% walk rate. He is not pitching as deep into games as we were accustomed to in Washington as his season-high pitch count is 102 pitches, but his overall efficiency still gives him plenty of upside. 

Scherzer has made 5 starts since returning from the Injured List on July 5th and he has averaged 9 strikeouts per start with an elite 17.2% swinging strike rate. He has lasted at least 6 innings and not allowed over 2 runs in any of those starts. 

His matchup today is not great for strikeouts as Washington owns a 19.4% strikeout rate, which is the second lowest in MLB. However, the looming trade deadline may add some value to this line when the Nationals lineup is posted. Washington has their two best hitters squarely on the trade block.

The chances of Josh Bell getting moved before this game and therefore removing his low 15% strikeout rate from the lineup are high. While I would put the chances of superstar Juan Soto getting moved far lower, there is a non-zero chance the Nats hold him out of the lineup just in case there is a deal brewing. 

Even if both are in the lineup, Scherzer has elite stuff and has a great chance to go over 6.5 strikeouts.

Michael Kopech Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-135)

Next, we look to Chicago, where the White Sox take on the Kansas City Royals. Michael Kopech will make his 19th start of the season for the White Sox. 

Kopech has very solid surface numbers including a 3.16 ERA, but a look under the hood uncovers some very troubling metrics. His 4.85 SIERA and 4.96 xFIP are both over a full run higher than his ERA, and his walk rate is a disturbing 12.3%. He has also seen his strikeout rate plummet to 21.4% after being above 36% as a reliever last year. 

Kopech has not thrown over 100 pitches in any start this season and he is frequently pulled before making it through 6 innings. He has been below 5.5 strikeouts in 13 of his 18 starts this season. 

The matchup is less than ideal for Kopech as well. The Royals are not an elite offense by any means as their 94 wRC+ is below average and their .303 wOBA ranks just 23rd. However, they do make contact at a high rate and have only struck out at 21.0% this season. They also recently got Salvador Perez back from an extended IL stint. 

The walk rate and short leash should prevent Kopech from making it through 6 innings against this contact-heavy Royals lineup. I like Kopech to stay under 5.5 strikeouts today. 

Nathan Eovaldi Under 4.5 Strikeouts (+125)

Finally, we head out to Houston, where the Astros take on the struggling Boston Red Sox. Boston has dropped 7 of their last 10 and now find themselves at the bottom of the AL East standings. Nathan Eovaldi will attempt to right the ship for the Red Sox in his 16th start of the season.

Eovaldi was turning in another very solid season at the top of the Boston rotation until he experienced some discomfort in his hip after his June 8th start against the Angels. It appears something is still off with Eovaldi as he has been lit up since his return from the injured list. 

Eovaldi has allowed 23 hits and 17 runs over 13 innings in his 3 starts back from the injury. The most concerning part is he has dealt with a severe velocity dip. His average fastball velocity is down to 94.7 MPH in those 3 starts after sitting at 96.8 MPH over his first 11 starts this season. His swinging strike rate has been just 9.3% since returning, while it was up at 13.4% before the injury. 

In addition to the recent performance and velocity dip, the matchup for Eovaldi is also a huge concern today. Houston has been an elite offense this season with a 113 wRC+ and .324 wOBA that both rank top 5 in baseball. They have only struck out at a rate of 19.9%, which is the 4th lowest in the league. The top 5 hitters in their projected lineup have all struck out less than 18% of the time versus right-handed pitching. 

Eovaldi will need to be much closer to the pitcher he was before missing time with an injury to even have a chance against this Houston offense. If he were 100% healthy this is still a difficult spot for him, and if the velocity doesn’t return it could be another rough day for him. I like Eovaldi to stay under 4.5 strikeouts today. 

Eys Breakers’ Betting Card

That will do it for today’s breakdown of the MLB slate. We were able to identify three strikeout props to target: 

Thank you for reading and good luck with your bets today