Division Series Betting Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 4 Best Bets, Including Red Sox vs. Rays, Dodgers vs. Giants (October 8)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Mookie Betts
Things begin in the American League where the White Sox will send Lucas Giolito to the mound in an attempt to even their series with Framber Valdez and the Astros.
Next, the Braves-Brewers kick off the NLDS in Milwaukee with a stellar pitching matchup of Charlie Morton vs. Corbin Burnes.
After that, we’re back to the ALDS and a Game 2 matchup of rookie Shane Baz and the Rays against Chris Sale and the Red Sox, with Boston looking to tie the series at one game apiece.
The nightcap features the NL West rivals Los Angeles and San Francisco tangling in Game 1, where Walker Buehler will meet Logan Webb.
We’ve got betting picks on each game tonight, with a a pair of first full-game moneylines and two more first five innings plays.
Here are our best bets for Friday’s MLB postseason slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
|9:37 p.m. ET|
White Sox vs. Astros
DJ James: The Houston Astros have made the decision to pitch a soft-tossing lefty in Framber Valdez against Lucas Giolito and the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox should also be able to silence the Houston crowd early in Game 2, something they failed to do in Game 1.
Valdez has been somewhat lucky this season. His 3.14 ERA is far superior to his 3.76 xERA, which isn’t necessarily a bad number, but an Average Exit Velocity at 90.8 mph and Hard-Hit Percentage at 44.4% in concerning against a team that crushes lefties. In addition, his 10.1% walk percentage is concerning with patient hitters like Yoán Moncada and Yasmani Grandal in the lineup.
Andrew Vaughn will likely start at designated hitter for the White Sox with his ability to hammer lefties, compared to his splits versus righties. Eloy Jiménez and Moncada have slumped a bit since August 1 against southpaws, but the Sox have enough firepower at the top of the order in Tim Anderson, José Abreu and Luis Robert.
Giolito has been spectacular lately for the South Siders. He has a 3.27 xERA and 34.2% Hard-Hit Percentage on the season. He only allowed four earned runs in 15 1/3 innings in September, and this should give him a clear advantage over Valdez.
Braves vs. Brewers
Collin Whitchurch: Of all the Friday games, the Braves are the most significant underdog. They’re also the underdog whose chances to win I like best. Go figure.
It’s amazing that Charlie Morton doesn’t get more love. The 37-year-old, who pondered retirement following last season with Tampa, is somehow still among the most underrated pitchers in baseball, and is a worthy choice to start Game 1 and go toe-to-toe with Corbin Burnes among a rotation that also sports Max Fried and Ian Anderson.
Since the All-Star break, Morton has allowed more than three earned runs once — on August 24 against the Yankees. He faced the Brewers during that span and allowed two runs in six innings while striking out six and walking zero.
Corbin Burnes has had a phenomenal year, but he was hardly infallible in the second half of the year, and got dinged up by some of the better offenses he faced down the stretch, including the Dodgers, Cardinals and even these very same Braves right before the trade deadline.
This pitching matchup is a wash to me when I’m looking at the edges, particularly when you factor in Morton’s past postseason success. Where the edge comes for me is in the offense. Atlanta’s got better as the season went on, while Milwaukee’s has reverted back to its pedestrian early-season form of late. I can see the Braves scratching together a few runs against Burnes. I have a hard time imagining the same from the Brewers against Morton.
Red Sox vs. Rays
Michael Arinze: Even when it was clear that the Tampa Bay Rays would win the division, I’m not sure anyone had Shane Baz pitching Game 2 of the ALDS. Baz is a 22-year old rookie out of Texas who has only three major league starts on his resume. Yet, he’s 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP.
It’s not like he faced a bunch of tomato cans, either. In two of his three appearances, he faced the Blue Jays and Yankees — ranked second and ninth, respectively, with above-average wRC+ values.
It doesn’t hurt that the Rays also won all three of his starts this season. However, it’s probably too early to have a strong affirmation on Baz as a major league pitcher this early in his career. But I’m going to trust a Rays organization that won 100 games this season despite having the fifth-lowest payroll at $70.8 million.
Baz could provide an element of surprise against a Boston team that’s never faced him before. In contrast, the Rays’ players have 111 at-bats against Red Sox starter Chris Sale. Their current lineup has a .306/.364/.486 line against him with a .180 ISO.
I’m always looking to back teams with superior bullpens in the postseason, and the Rays certainly fit that mold. Their 3.24 ERA and 3.59 FIP were the lowest in the regular season, whereas the Red Sox had a 3.99 ERA and a 4.06 FIP.
While I’ve been impressed with Sale, who is 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA, his 1.34 WHIP is a bit high, and that could be problematic in a playoff series where runs will be at a premium.
Dodgers vs. Giants
|9:37 p.m. ET|
Brad Cunningham: Walker Buehler has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, posting a 3.08 expected ERA. While his K/9 rate is down from years past, he’s lowered his BB/9 rate down to 2.25 and his HR/9 rate down to 0.82. His main two off-speed pitches of curveball and slider have been dominant, allowing under a .200 xBA and under a .225 xwOBA. That’s going to come in handy against a Giants lineup that struggles against those two pitches with a combined -20.2 run value.
Logan Webb has been arguably the Giants’ best starting pitcher this season, posting a 3.22 xERA. However, Webb mainly utilizes a sinker, slider, changeup combination, which is going to be a problem against the Dodgers lineup that has a combined +36.3 run value against those three pitches this season.
Additionally, the Dodgers are much better against righties than lefties, putting up a .328 wOBA this season, which was the sixth best mark in MLB.