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Best MLB prop bets for today, 5/15: Backing Tanner Houck vs the Rays | Pickswise

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Wednesday’s MLB slate is an interesting one, featuring 15 games worth our attention. This includes an underrated starting pitcher going against a swing-happy lineup with an enticing strikeout prop line. Let’s dive in on today’s player prop!

Tanner Houck (BOS) o5 strikeouts recorded (-102)

Combined line by risking 0.6u on o4.5 Ks (-150) DraftKings, and 0.4u on o5.5 Ks +144 FanDuel. Risking 1u total. 

Tanner Houck has been very good for the Boston Red Sox this season, registering a quality start through 7 of his first 8 starts in 2024. The right-hander bounced back and forth between being a starter and reliever in prior seasons but is now a key piece of this Boston rotation. Houck has been able to work deep into Games this season, recording 6 or more innings of work in 7 starts while pitching into the 7th inning or later 3 times. This includes a complete Game shutout of the Cleveland Guardians just under a month ago. Houck’s last 2 starts have seen 26 and 28 batters faced respectively, and on the season Houck averages over 26 batters per start. He averages 94.3 pitches per start as well, and his consistently large workload is something we should be able to rely upon in this matchup.

Boston and Tampa Bay played a 12-inning Game last night, and the Red Sox used 5 different relievers after Nick Pivetta exited the Game. With Zack Kelly, Chris Martin, and Kenley Jansen all likely unavailable for this Game after extended recent usage, and Greg Weissert having thrown 43 pitches on Monday, Boston would love to see a long start from Houck today. His outs recorded prop of 17.5 is a bit too juiced towards the over, but I am still showing some value on his strikeout prop. Houck has recorded 50 strikeouts in his 52.1 innings of work this season, seeing his K/IP fall below 1 after only 9 Ks in his last 13 innings of work. Still, Houck is generating a 23.9% K% on the year, a mark that ranks 60th percentile, and with his workload and today’s matchup that should be more than enough to clear our prop.

Houck has a high ceiling when it comes to punch outs, registering 7, 9, 9, and 10 Ks in 4 of his 8 starts this year. A ladder on his alternate lines could be in play as a result. The Rays in the last 30 days against right-handed pitching have the 9th highest K% at 24.3%. In that span they chase at pitches outside the zone at the 7th highest rate and have the 3rd highest swinging strike rate. Among the last 24 right-handed starting pitchers to face Tampa Bay, only 6 have recorded fewer than 5 strikeouts. For Houck today, 5 would give us a push, but I believe he can find 6 or more here, something 15 of the pitchers in that 24-Game sample have done. Houck’s slider is his primary put away pitch with 2 strikes, but increased splitter usage has given him another wipeout offering he can rely on. His sinker generates a good number of looking strikes as well. In only 38 combined PA from active Rays batters against Houck, they have struck out 13 times while generating only a .619 OPS. I expect a strong start today from Boston’s right-hander.

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