MLB Betting Odds, Expert Picks: Brewers vs. Braves & Giants vs. Dodgers Predictions (October 12)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony DeSclafani
As of this writing, teams have not announced starting pitchers for three of the four NLDS spots. Sports books have released odds based on projections, however, and those align with ours.
Below are our best bets for Tuesday’s MLB playoff games based on those projections, but please remember to keep tabs on odds as pitching plans potentially change, which you can do via our up-to-the-minute MLB odds page.
Here are our picks for Tuesday’s trio of games.
MLB Odds & Picks
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Astros vs. White Sox
DJ James: With the rain postponement on Monday, the Astros’ pitching plan changed and Lance McCullers Jr. now faces Carlos Rodón with the Astros trying to advance and the White Sox trying to survive.
McCullers carved up the Chicago lineup in Game 1, and Rodón has experienced some shoulder discomfort at the end of the season. However, given his rest, both Rodón and Tony La Russa are confident Rodón should be able to get back to his velocity levels in the earlier part of the season.
McCullers was brilliant in Game 1 but still has an awful walk rate at 11.1% this season. The White Sox have some patient hitters, like Yoán Moncada and Yasmani Grandal, who have propelled the Sox to the fourth-best walk rate in baseball.
Given how loud Guaranteed Rate Field can get in a playoff game, I think it is very likely the crowd rattles McCullers and he will put more batters on base via the free pass.
Rodón is a phenomenal strikeout pitcher. Of course, there is the concern with his shoulder, but even with that issue, he went five shutout innings with four strikeouts against the Cincinnati Reds on September 29. The Astros struck out 16 times in their loss Sunday, so look for Rodón to keep that trend going.
Do not expect the White Sox to put up the offensive numbers from Sunday night, but they should be able to get a couple across early on McCullers. The home crowd should help the South Siders. Take the first five moneyline at -115 and play to -135.
Brewers vs. Braves
Editor’s Note: Charlie Morton will start on short rest for Atlanta today instead of Huascar Ynoa.
Sean Zerillo: The Brewers have a few different ways to approach Game 4 from a pitching perspective, and I hope they attack this playoff like the 2019 Nationals — using their big three on short rest whenever possible. Their championship window seems reasonably limited, and you might as well step on the gas if you’re already in the thick of the race.
The aggressive option is to use Corbin Burnes on short rest in Game 4 and Brandon Woodruff on full rest in Game 5 if they make it that far. The conservative approach would be to try to win Game 4 without the strength of your team — its top three pitchers — and to save two of them for Game 5.
If Burnes (2.01 xERA, 2.30 xFIP) doesn’t start on short rest, lefty Eric Lauer (3.92 xERA, 4.26 xFIP) would seemingly fit the bill. Lauer offers a five-pitch mix, and each offering except for his fastball (44.6% usage) returned a positive pitch value this season.
The Brewers have realized the need to tweak his pitch mix, and those advancements are already underway; the fastball usage is trending downward, and the slider has become a much more significant part of the plan:
Lauer didn’t deploy the slider this season until early July. Over his final 13 starts, it ranked second in his arsenal in usage (17.3%) and showed an average velocity (87.3 mph) more than two mph above its career norm.
While I give the Brewers the starting pitching advantage with Lauer facing Huascar Ynoa (4.30 xERA, 3.40 xFIP), I would still favor the Braves in this game, for the first time all series.
I have never been high on Ynoa. He’s a two-pitch guy (45.1% fastball, 48.2% slider) with shaky command (career 3.03 BB/9) whose high-octane fastball (average 96.5 mph) rates as slightly below average, likely due to mediocre spin (28th percentile).
Ynoa can throw the fastball all over the zone and locate his plus slider down and in to lefties (or down and away from righties), but that’s about it. He’s also a reverse spits pitcher as the slider is more effective against lefties (.210 xwOBA) than righties (.259):
The Brewers just haven’t come up clutch in this series. In the past two games — a pair of shutout losses — they are 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position and have left 14 men on base, continuing a recent trend of NL Central contenders in the postseason.
I would bet the Brewers at +114 or better on the moneyline, and +111 or better for the first five innings (F5).
Author’s note: With the news that the Braves will start Charlie Morton on short rest instead of Huascar Ynoa, the recommended bet here would be on the Brewers only at +135 or better.
Giants vs. Dodgers
Editor’s Note: Walker Buehler will start on short rest for Los Angles tonight instead of Tony Gonsolin.
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Author’s Note: Even with the news of Buehler starting over Gonsolin, a Giants First Five Innings play is still the recommendation at +130 or better.
Collin Whitchurch: As of this writing, we don’t know who Los Angeles is starting in this do-or-die Game 4 of the NLDS. If the Dodgers do as expected and start Tony Gonsolin, there’s plenty of value on the road underdogs here once again.
We DO know that the Giants will be starting Anthony DeSclafani, and he’s been rock solid for San Francisco all year and a big part of why they surpassed expectations in so many ways.
DeSclafani isn’t a big strikeout guy, but he cut his walk rate by nearly four percent from a year ago, and the best way for the Dodgers’ offense to beat you is with its insane patience that ranked second in the majors in walk percentage.
The Dodgers could go with Walker Buehler here on short rest, but even if that’s the case, I trust DeSclafani more than the ace pitching at less than full strength.
The Giants continue to be underdogs despite winning 107 games and now taking two of the first three games against the NL West rivals. The full-game line here worries me given LA’s propensity for late-game heroics, but I’m comfortable backing the Giants through the first five innings at +130 or better.