3 Strikeout Props to Target for Thursday 5/16/24

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8

The lengthy MLB season offers a wide array of bets via the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Strikeout props are among the popular lines offered. These bets can focus on the over/under of a starting pitcher's strikeout total or alternate lines can be utilized for more intriguing odds.

In this piece, we will dive into the stats to back our favorite strikeout props of the day across the MLB's slate. Which pitchers taking the mound could rack up Ks or which may stumble? We have plenty of tools available that can help us zero in on the top picks, and we'll use stats from numberFire's daily fantasy baseball projections, Baseball Savant, and FanGraphs.

Here are some of the most enticing strikeout props at FanDuel Sportsbook for today's games.

Please note lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All MLB odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Strikeout Props

Taijuan Walker Under 4.5 Strikeouts (-124)

The Philadelphia Phillies were without one of their starting pitchers for about a month of play. Taijuan Walker returned from a shoulder injury quicker than expected on April 28th, giving the Phillies one of their key starters. Everything we have on Walker are small sample sizes with only three starts under his belt.

Walker is pitching at about the same level as usual with a 4.40 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). For reference, he has carried a SIERA of 4.00 or higher in his last eight seasons. After logging an 18.8% strikeout percentage (K%) last season, Walker still has an underwhelming mark in this department at 19.5% (bottom 31%).

Perhaps the only interesting part of Walker's game over three starts is his pitch usage. He's throwing cutters far more often with a 32.3% usage rate compared to 17.6% last season and 6.8% in 2022. This pitch hasn't produced good results either, as opponents hold a .346 weighted on-base average (wOBA) against the pitch paired with a .500 slugging percentage (SLG).

His second-most used pitch -- a sinker -- has been even worse with opponents batting .353 along with a .706 SLG. His four-seam fastball has the highest putaway percentage at 37.5% and has a .070 wOBA. I wonder which pitch Walker should lean on a bit more.

However, Thursday's matchup could prevent Walker from hurling four-seamers, for the New York Mets have the 10th-highest runs above average against fastballs. Plus, New York is tied for the fifth-lowest K%.

Walker has a clear dilemma as his cutter and sinker have not produced results, and the Mets have had field days against fastballs. He's also totaled four strikeouts in two of three starts this season. New York is rarely striking out, too. I'm taking under 4.5 Ks for Walker.

Justin Steele Under 5.5 Strikeouts (+112)

Despite totaling only five strikeouts over his last two starts, the Chicago Cubs' Justin Steele has a K total of 5.5 tonight. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the sixth-highest K% in baseball, which is certainly playing a role in Steele's 5.5 total. Still, I believe there's an intriguing case for the under (+112).

First off, the production from Steele has simply not been there. His numbers have been a far cry from his first All-Star appearance in 2023. Steele currently has a 4.12 SIERA compared to a 3.81 and 3.61 in 2022 and 2023. His K% has also harshly dropped from 24.6% last season to 19.6% in 2024 (bottom 32%).

Steele already faced the Pirates once this season and mustered only three strikeouts. Pittsburgh sees their K% go from the sixth-highest in the league to the eighth-highest when they face southpaws.

Per usual, the majority of Steele's pitches are a four-seam fastball (67.9%) and slider (27.8%). The Pirates are among the top 16 in runs above average against both pitches. Steele had dreadful runs above average per 100 pitches for his fastball (-2.88) and slider (-10.59) in May 11th's head-to-head contest. Pittsburgh also hit three home runs against Steele, who is currently in the bottom 11% of hard-hit percentage.

The weather could also play a factor in the under. Per Roto Grinder's Kevin Roth, rain could hit for this matchup with a delay looking possible. Of course, any weather delay typically contributes to shorter starts for pitchers, which once again points to the under for Steele.

Tyler Glasnow Over 8.5 Strikeouts (-104)

The Los Angeles Dodgers trade for Tyler Glasnow has paid off big time as the 30-year-old pitcher currently holds the second-shortest odds to win the National League Cy Young award, per FanDuel Sportsbook's MLB award odds.

Glasnow's strikeout numbers have been as good as ever. After finishing in the 97th percentile of K% for three straight seasons, he is still carrying elite strikeout numbers (95th percentile in K%). He especially has it rolling over his previous four starts, totaling 39 Ks during the span (9.75 per outing). If this rate continues, going over 8.5 strikeouts should be a breeze.

I don't expect this rate to slow down against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. Cincinnati, who is 2-12 over their last 14 contests, has been a pitcher's delight. The Reds have the fifth-highest K% in baseball and have totaled three double-digit strikeout totals in three of their last four games. Glasnow is probably licking his chops ahead of this clash.

So, what has the Dodgers' ace done best? His whiff percentage has been consistent during his career, and he's currently in the 75th percentile of the category. Meanwhile, Cincy is tied for the 11th-highest swinging-strike percentage in the MLB.

Glasnow's slider (39.8%) and curveball (46.2%) have impressive whiff rates thus far, and the Reds have the seventh-lowest runs above average against sliders and the sixth-lowest mark when facing curveballs. As if the high strikeout numbers weren't enough, Cincinnati also has a hard time hitting breaking balls -- which are Glasnow's greatest strength for getting batters to swing and miss.

The value for over 8.5 is also there at -104. I expect Glasnow to stay red-hot tonight.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.