Pirates Odds: Paul Skenes Prop Bets, Projections For Saturday’s MLB Debut

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
Paul Skenes Prop Bets

The wait is over for one of MLB’s most highly-anticipated pitching prospects. Paul Skenes, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, will be recalled to start on Saturday versus the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. FanDuel and BetMGM Sportsbook have already posted player props for his first outing with the Pirates. Let’s break down Paul Skenes’ prop bets, making this the quickest debut from draft date to start date in 35 years.

Click on any MLB odds below to place a wager. Additional betting markets will be released closer to the game’s first pitch.

Paul skenes prop bets: total strikeouts

Click on the odds to place your betFanduel:
BetMGM:
Over 6.5 Strikeouts
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Under 6.5 Strikeouts
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Alternate Strikeout Props

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3+ Strikeouts
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4+ Strikeouts
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5+ Strikeouts
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6+ Strikeouts
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7+ Strikeouts
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8+ Strikeouts
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9+ Strikeouts
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10+ Strikeouts
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Evaluating Paul Skenes’ Prop Bets

The betting odds are around a pick’em for Skenes to throw at least seven strikeouts in his MLB debut. That may seem like a tall order, but he’s notched a gaudy 42.9% punchout rate in seven Triple-A starts this season. He’s produced at least seven in four of his last five outings, going fewer than five innings in three of those starts.

On the flip side, the Cubs own a top-10 strikeout percentage, with Micahel Busch, Ian Happ, and Christopher Morel all filing in the top 60 for qualified players (3.1 plate appearances per game).

Skenes’ slider is his best pitch, but his fastball is the most dominant within his arsenal. He’s already thrown 98 pitches 100 mph or harder at Triple-A, more than any major-league arm this year. Still, the timing of Skenes’ promotion is odd. He is coming off his only unimpressive appearance, yielding two earned runs in 4.1 IP. It was the right-hander’s first time starting on four days’ rest.

As for the game, Chicago is priced at on the moneyline while Pittsburgh showcases ML odds. The total is 7.5, with vig toward the under. Southpaw Justin Steele, the 2023 NL Cy Young candidate who returned from a hamstring injury on Monday, will start for the Cubs. He tossed 4.2 IP of no-run ball against the Padres.

Skenes’ MLB Projections

Moving forward, the Pirates would be wise to manage Skenes’ workload carefully. During 12 professional appearances, another in spring training, and a relief outing in the Grapefruit League, he’s never accrued more than 75 pitches in a single start, averaging 45 over those 12 games.

Skenes tossed 65, 71, 75, and 66 pitches in his last four starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis. Considering his minor-league workload, Skenes is on pace for roughly 100 MLB innings over 20 starts, with an average of 80 pitches per start.

It’s comparable to the 2023 workload of then-Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Bobby Miller, who pitched 124.1 innings. Remember that Miller was a more pressing need for the NL contenders. Since the Pirates aren’t in a window of contention, those same expectations won’t apply to Skenes.

Jared Jones, another rookie arm for Pittsburgh, is in a similar boat. Ahead of Friday’s start against Chicago, he’s compiled a 2.63 ERA and 33.8% strikeout rate, averaging a tad under six innings per start. As of this publishing, Jones owns the third-best odds to win NL Rookie of the Year at , behind the Cubs’ Shota Imanaga and Dodgers’ Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

For reference, Skenes is to win the award, the seventh-shortest odds on the board.

MLB betting Odds

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