Major League Baseball Odds, Picks, Projections: How To Bet Monday’s Four Divisional Series Matchups (Oct. 11)

Major League Baseball Odds, Picks, Projections: How To Bet Monday’s Four Divisional Series Matchups (Oct. 11) article feature image
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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Trea Turner and Buster Posey

Editor’s Note: Monday’s Astros-White Sox game has been postponed because of inclement weather and will be made up on Tuesday at 2:07 p.m. ET.

Throughout the Major League Baseball playoffs, I will provide a daily breakdown summarizing my thoughts on both futures and individual games for that day.

I will also address betting these playoff series, whether on the series moneyline or a game-by-game basis, while using my daily MLB Model projections.

Let’s talk series prices before digging into Monday’s four-game slate — the last day with more than two games on MLB’s 2021 calendar.

Series Moneyline Corner

Here are my updated series ML projections for the divisional round:

To reiterate my points from Sunday’s post on the NLDS matchups:

  • Consider the Brewers’ series price up to -111.
  • Wait for +182 or better to bet the Giants’ series moneyline, though I doubt you’ll see that number come into range.

Boston gained 20% in series win probability with their controversial Game 3 win. I would need odds of -190 or lower to bet Boston. I’m not interested unless we can find a more considerable edge, however, holding a pair of tickets at +165 and +130.

Alternatively, you can consider betting the Rays’ series price at +233 or better.

Chicago gained 11% in series win probability with their Game 3 win. Still, I would need +345 or better to back the White Sox to complete the comeback,

Alternatively, I would consider Houston’s series price at -264 or better to hold them off.

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Brewers vs. Braves, Game 3 (1:07 p.m. ET)

Rather than laying -110 on Milwaukee to win the series, I would rather play their Game 3 moneyline at better odds.

I show value on both the Brewers’ moneyline (to -102) and their First Five Innings or F5 moneyline (to -112) for Monday’s Game 3.

I project a more significant difference — nearly an entire run — between starters Freddy Peralta (2.72 xERA, 3.12 xFIP, 3.40 SIERA) and Ian Anderson (4.30 xERA, 3.96 xFIP, 4.38 SIERA) than I do between these two bullpens (roughly 0.30 runs per game in weighed ERA).

Anderson missed some time over the summer with shoulder inflammation, and after returning in late August, his results were subpar (4.72 xFIP; 7 HR allowed, 26:14 strikeout to walk ratio in 32 1/3 innings).

His average fastball velocity in those starts (93.8 mph) was down a tick from his 20 MLB stars that preceded them. The overall trend line — paired with the inflammation — is an obvious concern:

 

Peralta’s strikeout minus walk rate (24%, eighth among pitchers, min. 100 innings) was more than 10% higher than Anderson’s mark (13.3%), which ranked 89th among that group of 129 pitchers.

Peralta ranked fourth in strikeout rate (33.6%) among those qualified pitchers, ahead of both Gerrit Cole (33.5%) and Robbie Ray (32.1%). And he led all starters in popup rate, so he generates a ton of free-outs in every contest.

And while I seemed to remember him struggling a bit down the stretch, Peralta’s K-BB% (+1%), first-pitch strike rate (+6.6%), zone rate (+1.8%), and swinging-strike rate (+0.3%) were all up over his final 10 starts of the year, as compared to his 18 first-half appearances.

The righty’s fastball/slider combination is one of the best in the game, and he has a wicked curveball too:

Freddy Peralta, 81mph Slider and 96mph elevated Fastball, Individual Pitches + Overlay pic.twitter.com/Nh78TEJd0A

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 5, 2021

Despite my love for Peralta — potentially the best No. 3 starter in baseball, aside from Julio Urías — I would place a wager on the Over 8 (bet to -105).

I projected this total closer to 8.4 and got in early on the Over 7.5 at plus-money, but that line was more than a half of a run too low, and there’s still slight value left at current odds.

A pair of pitcher-favoring umpires in Games 1 and 2 may have influenced the proceedings in those low-scoring affairs. Still, Alfonso Marquez (career 52.9% over) will go the other way if anything and help these offenses to finally get going.

Astros vs. White Sox, Game 4 (3:37 p.m. ET)

Editor’s Note: Monday’s Astros-White Sox game has been postponed because of inclement weather and will be made up on Tuesday at 2:07 p.m. ET.

While I have a couple of series tickets on the White Sox from before Game 1 (+120) and Game 2 (+240), I’m not interested in jumping in again unless I can get Chicago at +334 (22.5% implied) or better, relative to my series projection of 25%. And that doesn’t seem like it will be the case.

Moreover, I don’t show value on either side of the moneyline for Game 3. I would need a price closer to +130 to back Houston or -115 to support Chicago in either half of this contest.

I do project slight value on the total, though I am hesitant to make that play. Technically, the First Five Innings (or F5) Under offers value to 4.5 (+100), but I’m more interested in taking the full game Under 9 up to -120, or 8.5 to -102.

There’s some early blowup potential for White Sox lefty Carlos Rodón, who had an excellent season (2.63 xERA, 3.17 xFIP, 2.96 SIERA) but has struggled with a long history of injuries and saw a velocity downturn late in the season:

Through the end of July, Rodón averaged 95.9 mph on his fastball. In his final five starts of the season, the southpaw averaged just 93.2 mph on the same pitch.

I expect Tony La Russa to have a quick hook with Rodón, who was the AL Cy Young betting favorite at one point this year, largely thanks to the highest fastball velocity (averaged 95.4 mph) of his career by two full ticks.

If anything, the velocity reduction is a sign of regression.

Houston’s José Urquidy (3.87 xERA, 4.38 xFIP, 4.27 SIERA) is one of the more intriguing young pitchers in baseball, with above-average command and four pitches that rate as average or better at the MLB level. The righty owned the sixth-lowest walk rate (4.5%) among qualified starters this season and the third-highest rate of popups, so he doesn’t give up free bases and generates many free outs.

Urquidy doesn’t throw his fastball particularly hard (36th percentile in velocity), nor does it have a ton of late life (43rd percentile in spin), but his four-seamer has ranked as an above-average pitcher in each of his three MLB seasons thanks to his command over the offering.

I’ve already started to lose him in drafts, so I might as well lean in and give you my favorite SP sleeper this year: José Urquidy. No other pitcher was 110+ on both stuff and command. Every pitch does what it’s supposed to do, and he has four of them. pic.twitter.com/ivgdmgOxAg

— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) February 12, 2021

Urquidy’s best pitch is his changeup, and he offers reverse splits, with better numbers against lefties (.247 wOBA) than righties (.308). He should continue to improve and already has playoff experience after pitching in the 2019 World Series.

There are some pretty dramatic winds (15-16 mph) blowing in from right-center for this game, and unless Rodón is entirely shot, I think this game has a good chance of staying under the total.

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Rays vs. Red Sox, Game 4 (7:07 p.m. ET)

To reiterate my point from before Game 1, Eduardo Rodriguez was extremely unlucky in 2021 (.363 BABIP; 128th out of 129 qualified pitchers, vs. .311 career) while sporting the best-expected indicators (3.55 xERA, 3.43 xFIP, 3.64 SIERA) of his career. The lefty pitched significantly better than his base stats (4.74 ERA) might otherwise indicate.

I expect the Rays to use some combination of Collin McHugh (2.31 xERA, 3.06 xFIP, 2.87 SIERA), Josh Fleming (4.73 xERA, 4.36 xFIP), Michael Wacha (5.55 xERA, 3.91 xFIP), and their Game 2 starter Shane Baz to accumulate innings in this contest, and I project them as slight road favorites down 2-1 in this series.

To reiterate, I would need -190 or lower to bet Boston to win this series; and I would consider the Rays’ series moneyline starting at +233.

As for Game 4, I would bet Tampa Bay to -104 for the First Five Innings (F5) or +105 for the whole game. My price targets on Boston would be +122 and +112, respectively.

I would consider betting an Over 9 up to -110 or an F5 Over 4.5 to -120.

It’s difficult to pin an exact projection on this game since the pitching situation for both teams is a bit murky. It’s worth noting that McHugh has been elite this year while going to his slider 53% of the time and his cutter 33% of the time; an increase over 2019 by nearly 30% and 23% on those pitches, respectively:

That said, the righty hasn’t gone past the three-inning mark since May of 2019.

The main factor here is the Rays’ potent bats against left-handed pitching. After acquiring southpaw-killers Jordan Luplow (career 139 wRC+ vs. LHP) and Nelson Cruz (career 152 wRC+ vs. LH) at the trade deadline, their offense has led the league against lefties (139 wRC+).

Nobody has hit them better than Mike Zunino (242 wRC+ in 2021); who has 26 extra-base hits in 114 at-bats, with a 1.287 OPS against southpaws.

Giants vs. Dodgers, Game 3 (9:37 p.m. ET)

I bet the Dodgers’ series price before Game 1 at -147, foreseeing them as 62% favorites with a split in San Francisco and a chance to clinch this series at home.

I would set my price targets before Game 3 at the same level as before Game 1, looking for -150 on the Dodgers or +182 on the Giants, with either bet representing a 2.5% edge compared to my projection.

Unfortunately, neither side has come back into range just yet; but there’s a slight chance that the Giants might get there.

Similarly, neither side of the moneyline — either for the First Five Innings (F5) or full game — offers actionable value. However, the Giants are starting to approach my target at certain books; I would play their moneyline starting at +194.

 

In the rare chance that the juice on the Over 7 drops to -103, or preferably even money, I would have to consider a play. The F5 Over 3 would garner attention at -110.

The Dodgers will insert Albert Pujols (147 wRC+ vs. LHP in 2021) into their Game 3 lineup ahead of Cody Bellinger, whose offensive struggles have carried over to the defensive end (-3 Defensive Runs Saved) too.

The 41-year-old, future Hall-of-Famer will try to help solve Alex Wood (3.87 xERA, 3.44 xFIP, 3.60 SIERA), who excels with a sinker (46.4%), slider (31.%), and changeup (22.1%) mix.

Interestingly, Wood is throwing a higher percentage of changeups (27.7%) to same-sided hitters than ever before. Still, his herky-jerky delivery messes with opponents timing, and durability is typically the most significant issue standing in his way of stardom:

Alex Wood, Filthy 85mph Changeup. 😷 pic.twitter.com/tVS64CZEwA

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 15, 2021

Max Scherzer is back for Game 4 after an early exit in the NL Wild Card Game. His season-long metrics are eye-popping (2.89 xERA, 3.24 xFIP, 2.90 SIERA), including strikeout minus walk rate (28.9%), which ranks as the second-best of his career (30.3% in 2019).

Scherzer’s fastball-slider combination might be the best in baseball, ranking fourth in fastball pitch value on a per-pitch basis and fifth in slider value. And his changeup (11th in pitch value) helps to tame lefties.

I project the Dodgers as the better team everywhere in this matchup; nearly a run for Scherzer against Wood, an additional tenth of a run in the bullpen,  three-quarters of a run per game offensively, and twice as good defensively. Moreover, they have a home-field advantage.

I have seen the Dodgers rally from behind consistently for the past few seasons, but I would have zero confidence down a run against Camilo Doval at this point. Since returning to the Giants’ bullpen in mid-August, Doval has pitched 17 1/3 shutout innings while allowing just eight hits and three walks against 26 strikeouts.

Doval has looked completely untouchable:

Nasty slider, 97 mile per hour heater and the best hair in the #SFGiants bullpen.

This is Camilo Doval. pic.twitter.com/4r7NCs0iBw

— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) March 3, 2021

If Wood can stay within a run of Scherzer, I like the Giants’ chances, but I would need to wait for a better price to bet this game.

Summary

I will update this post immediately after tracking plays in the Action Network App. If you want bet notifications right away, make sure to follow me there.

The Bets

  • Milwaukee Brewers (bet to -102)
  • Milwaukee Brewers, First Five Innings (bet to -112)
  • Brewers/Braves, Over 7.5 (bet to -115)
  • Astros/White Sox, Under 9 (bet to -120) or 8.5 (bet to -102)
  • Tampa Bay Rays, First Five Innings (bet to -104)

Watching

  • Brewers — Series ML (value to -111)
  • Astros/White Sox, F5 Under 5 (bet to -120)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (bet to +105)
  • Rays — Series ML (bet to +233)
  • Rays/Red Sox, Over 9 (bet to -110)
  • Rays/Red Sox, F5 Over 4.5 (bet to -120)
  • San Francisco Giants (bet to +192)
  • Giants — Series ML (value to +182)

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