The National League Wild Card round gets underway today, which means we have a slate of eight MLB postseason games to look forward to. Because of the shortened format, the American League teams that won yesterday can wrap up their series today and move on to the Divisional round. Here’s a look at the five best bets across eight very intriguing matchups. Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Reds ended the regular season as one of the hottest teams in baseball, while the Braves did not. The postseason is all about pitching and as we saw yesterday with the American League, a great pitching performance can be the difference between being up 1-0 or down 0-1 in a series. The Reds are putting Trevor Bauer on the mound while the Braves are going with Max Fried, and I love Bauer in this head to head duel. In Bauer’s last start of the season, he went 8.0 innings, and while that was against the Brewers, a much worse lineup than the one he will face today, it should still be noted that he can eat up innings and take the pressure off the bullpen. Fried, on the other hand, has generally gone between 5.0 and 6.0 innings this season. The Braves finished the regular season with the second-most runs in the MLB, but against Bauer today, they will struggle. Cincinnati continues to be red hot and gets the W.
Yesterday’s matchup between Shane Bieber and Gerrit Cole was billed as the best pitching matchup of the season but ultimately didn’t play out that way. However, the matchup in today’s White Sox vs Indians game could quickly take the crown that was left available by Bieber’s struggles. Dallas Keuchel and Chris Bassitt are two of the hottest pitchers in baseball right now. They will be facing off against two offenses that have been on a steady decline since the beginning of September and that could make all the difference. This number is low, and the price is a bit high, but there is a reason for that. It’s because this is going to be a pitcher’s duel that will set the tone for the rest of the postseason.
This may seem surprising to some considering the pitching matchup, but this number is actually shockingly low. Kwang-hyun Kim has been phenomenal for the Cardinals this season but has yet to face an offense even close to the caliber of the Padres. San Diego scored the third-most runs this year and with Chris Paddack on the mound, they will need to keep their bats hot if they want to make it past the Wild Card round. Paddack has been inconsistent this season with an ERA of 4.73. Some games he has looked unhittable, while in others he has had absolutely no control. Expect this game to be one of the higher scoring games of the day.
The Yankees’ offense just went out and demolished Shane Bieber and the Indians’ hopes of making it out of the first round. To see your ace go out there and get hit the way that Bieber did is a devastating blow to morale and it should carry over into Game 2 when Carlos Carrasco takes the mound. The Indians are the lowest-scoring team to make the American League playoffs, and going against a team that can pitch and hit like the Yankees is the worst-case scenario for them. Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball for the Yankees and while he has been prone to give up runs, he will get plenty of run support from a Yankees’ offense that has been firing on all cylinders for the better part of a month now. The price is steep but it’s not worth it to take the Yankees -1.5. Eat the juice and take the moneyline as the Yankees move on to the next round.
The Blue Jays took a chance in not starting Hyun-jin Ryu in Game 1, and it very nearly paid off. The Blue Jays played much of Game 1 down just one run but ultimately fell short in the later innings. Now the Rays will send Tyler Glasnow to the mound and somehow, despite being in the same division, it will be the first time he faces the Blue Jays’ lineup. Both of these pitchers can go deep into games, but considering what is at stake, the edge has to go to the ace who was purposely sat out of Game 1 so that he could steal Game 2. The Rays ended the regular season tied for the fifth-fewest runs given up but weren’t nearly as good on the offensive side. At a fair price, take the team with their season on the line.
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