Odds and Ends

MLB K Props for June 21: Aaron Civale, J.A. Happ Strikeout Props

by Vaughn Dalzell
Updated On: June 21, 2021, 3:17 pm ET

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If you like betting MLB K Prop Unders, J.A. Happ has been a pitcher you have probably ridden with repeatedly this season.

Happ has a 75% hit rate to the Under 4.5 strikeouts prop we see today and that is appealing to me matched up with the Cincinnati Reds. Since the start of May, Happ has started eight games and owns an 8.68 ERA.

In that span, Happ posted five or more strikeouts 3-of-8 times (37.5%). Those performances came against the Indians, Mariners and Royals. Matched up versus the Reds, I have to favor the Under here.

NBC's model projects Happ to record 5.0 strikeouts in 6.1 innings, hitting the Over slightly. However, Happ has not exceeded 5.0 innings in his last four starts and only surpassed 5.1 innings once in his previous eight starts.

JA Happ projection

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Happ has surprisingly thrown a fastball 69% of his pitches this season. That is way too high to be a strikeout pitcher, especially at 38-years-old. 

Happ ranks below average in almost every pitching rank outside of fastball spin rate and walk percentage. Happ averages 0.73 K/Inning on the season and ranks in the 9th percentile in K% and 29th in chase rate percentage per baseballsavant.com

Happ pitching

The Reds have the second-fewest strikeouts (132) and walks (53) to left-handed pitchers on the second-fewest at-bats (495) this season. 

Cincinnati is tied third overall in the last 15 days with 52 walks in 14 games. That is a significant factor against a fastball pitcher, and I anticipate the Reds getting the ball on the bat today.

The Reds have played the fifth-most road games this season (38) and are currently on a four-game losing streak entering this contest. On the other hand, the Twins are on a four-game winning streak, themselves, so something will have to give today.

With Happ on the mound, I favor the Reds to break their streak and, in doing so, putting some runs on the board versus the Twins pitcher.

Pick: J.A. Happ Under 4.5 Strikeouts (1u)


Aaron Civale O/U 4.5 STRIKEOUTS VS. CUBS

The Indians are down a few pitchers and that requires a guy like Aaron Civale to step up. With that being said, Civale has done just that and pitched at least 5.0 innings in every start this season and 6.0 or more in 11-of-14 (78.5%).

The 26-year-old right-hander has recorded five or more strikeouts this season in 8-of-14 (57%) games. He also posted four strikeouts in three of those outings, so 11 games of four or more Ks (78.5%) per props.cash.

Civale K Prop

NBC's model projects Civale to hit the Over with 6.4 strikeouts in 6.2 innings. Civale is a quality start monster and when he reaches 6.0 innings pitched, he has gone Over 4.5 strikeouts in 7-of-11 outings (63.6%).

He is one of five pitchers to light up the model with excellent value and seven total that present betting value, including Happ.

MLB Model

What I like about Civale has been his cutter. On the season, he is generating a 28% strikeout rate with that pitch. He has three pitches in general that record a 19% or higher rating, despite not being known as a strikeout guy.

Per baseballsavant.com, Civale ranks above average in walk percentage, chase rate, curve spin rate and fastball spin rate. The Cubs are a strikeout-heavy team, so I like the odds he can get the five here.

Aaron Civale

Chicago has the fifth-worst strikeout percentage versus right-handed pitchers (25.8%) and the fourth-most overall on the season (508). Lately, the Cubs have struck out 71 times over the last seven times, the third-most and the most over the last six outings with 61 Ks.

In the past seven games, the Cubs have only walked 15 times. Civale has three total walks in his past three games and 12 over his last nine starts. In that same span, Civale recorded 17 strikeouts in the past 19.0 innings and three starts compared to 45 Ks in 59.1 innings and nine starts.

Lately, his K per inning ratio has risen, and that is worth monitoring as he posted an 11-strikeout performance versus the Mariners just 10 days ago. I do not think that game was a fluke, but after two strikeouts in his past start, I expect Civale to ring up more than a few Cubbies today.

Back Civale against a Chicago team that's ranked among one of the highest strikeout teams on the season, the past month and the week.

Pick: Aaron Civale Over 4.5 Strikeouts (1u)


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