MLB Odds, Picks, Projections: How To Bet Friday’s Four Division Series Matchups, Including Dodgers-Giants (October 8)
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Taylor after his walk-off homer on Wednesday.
Throughout the Major League Baseball playoffs, I will provide a daily breakdown summarizing my thoughts on both futures and the individual games for that day.
On Thursday, I provided my updated projections in advance of the Divisional round. My projected odds for the NL pennant are still helpful for betting those futures in advance of Friday's games.
Below, I will also address how to handle betting these playoff series, whether on the series moneyline or a game-by-game basis, while using my daily MLB Model projections.
Series Moneyline Corner
Here are my updated series moneyline projections for the divisional round:
The Astros and Rays gained about 17% toward their series projection following their Game 1 wins on Thursday.
I placed series moneyline bets on the White Sox and the Red Sox before those losses.
Unsurprisingly, I still show series value on both of those teams before Game 2. Consider playing either of those series moneylines again, down to +233 (for Chicago) and +285 (for Boston), with either wager representing a three-percent edge.
However, I make these plays in concert with individual game wagers, so make sure to check out my game-by-game approach in the sections below.
As a reminder, if you keep those series bets to a half unit (or less) per play, you can continue to stack your position between games.
The Giants/Dodgers series moneyline has dipped at some shops. I would definitely play the Dodgers series price at -150 or better.
The line for the Braves-Brewers series has remained in lockstep with my projection. I would show actionable value on Milwaukee at -127 and Atlanta at +163.
White Sox vs. Astros, Game 2 (2:07 p.m. ET)
The Astros grabbed an early lead in this series, but a loss in Game 2 would flip the odds back toward a flat-looking White Sox squad, which started an under-the-weather José Abreu at DH and saw their hottest hitter — Luis Robert — take a pitch off of his wrist in Game 1.
Fans may question Tony La Russa's decision to start Lance Lynn in the opener, but I project Lynn about a half of a run better than Game 2 starter Lucas Giolito (3.29 xERA, 3.75 xFIP, 3.72 SIERA).
Astros southpaw Framber Valdez (3.78 xERA, 3.58 xFIP, 3.79 SIERA) owns some very comparable metrics to his Game 2 counterpart.
And I project Game 2, like all five games in this series, as reasonably close to a coinflip on the betting line:
I would play the Over 8 (to -108) for now and hope to have better variance than that bet did on Thursday (combined 3-for-16 with RISP, 15 LOB).
Wait for odds of +113 or better on Chicago to make a moneyline play (+115 for the first five innings).
Lastly, as I mentioned in the previous section, I might tack another quarter or half of a unit onto Chicago's series moneyline (bet to +233).
Braves vs. Brewers, Game 1 (4:37 p.m. ET)
I'm very intrigued by this series since I project NL Pennant value on both teams. I have a preseason World Series future on the Brewers, and I recently added a pennant future on the Braves before the NL Wild Card Game.
I also expected to bet the Braves on the series moneyline, but my series projection (59%, -138 implied) aligns with the listed odds.
The Brewers made the optimal choice in selecting Corbin Burnes (2.01 xERA, 2.30 xFIP, 2.61 SIERA) over Brandon Woodruff (3.29 xERA, 3.05 xFIP, 3.31 SIERA) as their Game 1 starter.
Woodruff is more of a one-to-one match with Charlie Morton (3.32 xERA, 3.31 xFIP, 3.53 SIERA), while Burnes — the current NL Cy Young favorite — represents a slight upgrade relative to both pitchers, and he increases their chances in Games 1 and 5 (if necessary) of this series:
I bet the Brewers' first five innings (F5) and full game moneylines earlier in the week when they opened, and I set the price targets for those bets at -151 (F5) and -138 (full game) in the Action Network App.
Milwaukee's moneyline rode some steam past those markers recently, but I would stick to those price targets and wait to buy back on the favorite if the line dips.
I will also look to bet the Over 7 if the vig dips to -102 or better.
Red Sox vs. Rays, Game 2 (7:02 p.m. ET)
This matchup between Chris Sale and Shane Baz is one of the more exciting and challenging matchups to project in the playoffs.
We have a relatively limited sample on both pitchers at the MLB level. Sale completed a touch more than 42 innings in nine starts this season (3.49 xERA, 3.35 xFIP, 3.44 SIERA) after returning from Tommy John surgery.
Baz (2.55 xERA, 2.86 xFIP, 2.68 SIERA) had a three-start cup of coffee in September but ranked as the second-best pitcher in MLB over that span (between Gerrit Cole and Corbin Burnes), according to Eno Sarris.
My betting model currently rates Baz as a frontline starter — on the same level as a Charlie Morton or Brandon Woodruff — and he gives the Rays a significant projection edge in Game 2:
Health provided, I expect Baz to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award next season and potentially contend for Cy Young votes too.
I would bet the Rays' First Five Innings (F5) moneyline up to -130.
It would be best if you waited for -122 or better to play Tampa Bay's full game moneyline.
Based upon opening odds, I don't show any projected value on the total, but I would look for the Over to fall to 7 (-105) before taking a stab.
Lastly, as I mentioned by my divisional series projections, you may alternatively add another small play on Boston's series moneyline (bet to +285). However, I may bypass that route since I'm taking a position on the Rays in Game 2.
Furthermore, a quick Game 1 exit for Eduardo Rodriguez was the worst-case scenario for Boston's bullpen, and J.D. Martinez seems doubtful for meaningful action in this series.
Dodgers vs. Giants, Game 1 (9:37 p.m. ET)
After a few spicy contests in mid-April, it looked like Dodgers vs. Padres was going to be "a thing" all season long — and potentially for a few years to come.
Still, the Giants hit the ground running and never stopped, winning at least 60% of their games every month while finishing 42-16 (a 117-win full-season pace) after the trade deadline to close out the NL West.
They barely held off a surging Dodgers squad, who went 43-13 (a 124-win full-season pace) over the same span and survived a tight NL Wild Card Game with the Cardinals on Wednesday.
The Giants are certainly the most disrespected 100-win team of my lifetime, and probably of yours too.
Still, I project the Dodgers as 53% favorites, or higher, in every game of this series, even without both Max Muncy and Clayton Kershaw:
I don't see value on either side of the moneyline in either half of this matchup.
I did bet the Over 7 early, and I am still OK with that play at any plus money price, but you may have to wait until closer to first pitch, if at all.
The series moneyline looks like the best way to attack Game 1 of this NL West rivalry.
I have the Giants winning this five-game series, with home-field advantage, less than 40% of the time. You can bet the Dodgers' series price up to -150.
The Giants have improved their power ranking by more than 10 wins since the preseason. Still, their preseason win total opened around 74, so they remain closer to a wild-card team (87-90 wins) in terms of actual talent projections, while the Dodgers exceed 100-wins, and the Brewers are nearer to a 92-94 win club.
For context, I would give Milwaukee and Atlanta respective odds of 40% and 33% in a seven-game series, with home-field advantage, against the Dodgers.
The Dodgers would move to 42% against the Giants if they lose Game 1 but would be 64% if they can at least split the first two games in this series and go home 1-1, with Max Scherzer still left in the barrel.
I'll likely bet the Dodgers' series price again if they drop Game 1 on Friday. I would set that number around +138 (42% implied) if the Giants take the opener.
- White Sox/Astros, Over 7.5 (bet to 8 (-108), 0.5 units)
- Chicago White Sox, Series Moneyline (bet to +233, 0.25u)
- Milwaukee Brewers (bet to -138, 0.5u)
- Milwaukee Brewers, First Five Innings (bet to -151, 0.5u)
- Tampa Bay Rays, First Five Innings (bet to -130, 0.5u)
- Dodgers/Giants, Over 7 (bet to +100, 0.5u)
- Los Angeles Dodgers, Series Moneyline (bet to -150, 0.5u)
- Chicago White Sox (wait for +113)
- Brewers/Braves, Over 7 (wait for -102)
- Tampa Bay Rays (wait for -122)
- Red Sox/Rays, Over 7 (wait for -105)
- Boston Red Sox, Series Moneyline (value to +285)