MLB Playoffs Odds, Expert Picks: Best Bets For Astros vs. Red Sox ALCS Game 4 (October 19)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Pivetta
- The Red Sox and Dodgers are both home favorites in their LCS matchups tonight.
- Boston is looking to move a win from the World Series, while Los Angeles is looking to avoid an 0-3 hole.
- Continue reading for our staff's best bets on both of Tuesday's critical MLB playoff games.
The Braves are up 2-0 as the series shifts to Los Angeles, and they’ll send Big Game Charlie Morton to the mound against Dodgers ace Walker Buehler. In the nightcap, the Red Sox will look to continue their offensive surge and take a 3-1 series lead with Nick Pivetta on the mound against Zack Greinke.
Two big games. Four big bets. Here are our best bets for Tuesday’s MLB postseason action.
MLB Odds & Picks
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Braves vs. Dodgers
DJ James: Charlie Morton has given up at least two runs in both postseason starts, and these starts came against the Milwaukee Brewers, a far worse squad than the Dodgers versus right-handed pitchers.
Against righty four-seam fastballs between 94 and 97 mph (similar to Morton’s), the Dodgers hold a .341 xwOBA and 92.3 mph exit velocity this season.
The Dodgers were about league-average since August 1 versus RHP, but they had six batters over the 100 wRC+ mark in that same timeframe, not including Justin Turner or Max Muncy (although the former is expected back in the lineup).
Look for Will Smith and Mookie Betts to contribute some strong, early at bats, as both have an OPS eclipsing .900 this postseason, while Cody Bellinger has looked more like himself after a lost season, too.
Braves vs. Dodgers
Brad Cunningham: Walker Buehler wasn’t that great in his two postseason starts against the Giants, but as a whole for the season, he was incredible.
Buehler had a 3.08 xERA, which is his lowest mark in three years, and the main reason for that is because he’s keeping the ball inside the yard. His HR/9 rate is down to 0.82, when it was at 1.72 last year and his HR/Fly Ball rate is down around 7%.
He hasn’t been that effective with his fastball and cutter, but those are two pitches the Braves have been struggling against. Since the trade deadline, Atlanta is 18th against fastballs and 24th against cutters.
Big game Charlie Morton quietly had a very good season in Atlanta, posting a 3.31 xFIP, 10.47 K/9 rate, and only a 32.5% hard hit rate allowed, which is in the top 10% among MLB starters.
Morton is throwing his curveball more often than any other pitch for only the second time in his career and it’s been unhittable, allowing a .171 xBA and it has over a 40% whiff rate, which is crazy considering he’s throwing it 36.7% of the time. That will be a big advantage against the Dodgers lineup that has a -5.6 run value against curveballs this season.
Astros vs. Red Sox
Tanner McGrath: When J.D. Martinez is going, the whole Boston offense goes. And Martinez is absolutely crushing the ball this postseason.
Through six postseason games, Martinez is 11-for-26 (.423) with five extra-base hits and a 1.310 OPS. During those six games, he’s cashed his bases prop in four of them.
Moreover, he’s collected 11 bases against Houston in just the past two games. That adds to his cumulative total of 21 against the Astros in 10 games against them.
Martinez already loves hitting at Fenway, as he’s compiled a .890 OPS at home compared to a .840 OPS on the road. However, he has an excellent matchup today.
Lifetime against Astros starter Zack Greinke, Martinez is 5-for-18 with two home runs and a walk. However, he’s posted an average exit velocity of 98.2 mph on those batted balls, and it’s produced a ridiculous 1.368 xSLG.
As Greinke has gotten older, he’s had to get much craftier. Greinke has slowly thrown more and more off-speed and breaking pitches in his elder years. Unfortunately for him, Martinez has been all over those pitches this season.
Astros vs. Red Sox
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Collin Whitchurch: A fascinating discovery while researching this total: This is the first playoff game with a double-digit total since 2017. It’s only the fourth total of 10 or more in the last five seasons, and it’s just the 15th in our Action Labs database going back to 2005. The under is 8-6-1 in those previous 15 instances.
It makes sense to see the total juiced this high. Have you seen these offenses? After nine runs were scored in the opener, the two teams have combined for 14 and 15 in the last two games. That’s been mostly the Red Sox, of course, but there’s no reason to believe the fireworks are going to stop now, especially while looking at what is by far the least-appealing pitching matchup of the postseason.
Zack Greinke is going to be in the Hall of Fame, but he’s in the twilight of his career and was dreadful down the stretch for the Astros when he wasn’t hurt. In his final three starts of the season, he gave up at least five runs each time — and those three starts came against the Diamondbacks and Rangers.
Nick Pivetta was a hero for the Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALDS, striking out seven in four shutout innings. He was also the beneficiary of the weird Kevin Kiermaier ground-rule double, so it’s not like he was exactly unscathed. I’ll side with Pivetta’s career norms more than his postseason magic and assume the Astros are gonna tag him as expected.