Yankees vs Guardians Picks, Best Bets, Odds for MLB Playoffs ALDS Game 1
Guardians vs. Yankees Game 1 Odds
|Time||7:37 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Cleveland Guardians made quick work of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card Round, and their reward is a date with the New YorkYankees, with Game 1 of the ALDS set for Tuesday night in the Bronx.
The Yankees will have their ace, Gerrit Cole, on the mound, and have been installed as heavy favorites. Cleveland — having used its two best pitchers against Tampa — turns to third-starter Cal Quantrill to try to pull off the upset in the opener.
Our analysts have a plethora of bets to recommend on this prime time matchup — most of which are centered around the Bronx Bombers. How will Cole fare? Will the Yankees beat up a vulnerable Quantrill?
Here are our best bets from Game 1 of the ALDS between the Guardians and Yankees.
MLB Odds & Picks
Gerrit Cole Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-146)
DJ James: Gerrit Cole had an underwhelming second half of the season. He posted a 4.12 ERA in 87 1/3 innings, up from a 3.02 ERA in the first half. He also finished the season ranking in the 25th percentile in average exit velocity and the 29th percentile in hard hit rate.
He will face a Guardians lineup that does not necessarily smoke the ball, but will single a pitcher to death and work the count until the pitcher racks up 100 pitches and needs to exit promptly.
Cleveland ranks first in strikeout percentile since August 1 against righties at only 16.9%. The Guardians will battle and force the pitch count the tick up. This will frustrate a pitcher like Cole, who expects to strike out hitters consistently (75th percentile in strikeout rate).
The Guardians finished the season with 1,122 total strikeouts, which was 57 fewer than the second-best team in the Houston Astros. Even though they rank dead-last in average exit velocity and hard hit rate and likely will not take advantage of these issues for Cole, they will pepper him across the field and make him exit early by the sheer number of pitches he will need to get hitters out.
Take Gerrit Cole under 6.5 (-146) strikeouts, and play to 5.5 (+130). The Guardians may not win the game, but they will not strike out.
Giancarlo Stanton Over 1.5 Total Bases (+137)
Nicholas Martin: Giancarlo Stanton playing at his highest level could be a key X-factor this postseason for the Yankees, and thus far in his career Stanton has been quite effective in the postseason with a .734 slugging percentage in 74 plate appearances.
Stanton turned it on down the stretch this season, with a .538 slugging percentage over the last seven games, and we may see him able to ride that strong finish into this series.
Some of Cleveland's excellent pitchers may certainly expose Stanton's horrible whiff-rate this series, but I do not believe it will be Cal Quantrill. Right-handed batters hold the lowest miss-rate in the league against Quantrill among qualified starters.
Quantrill has ran with some favorable luck all season long, with an xERA of 4.31 nearly a full run higher than his actual mark, and his xFIP of 4.38 is another clear indication that Quantrill could be in trouble.
Right-handed batters have fared far better against Quantrill this season, hitting .274 with a .405 slug-rate, and Stanton himself has slugged .492 versus right-handed pitching this season.
At +137 I like a play on Stanton to record over 1.5 total bases in this spot, and I would play that down to +120.
Yes Runs First Inning (+115)
Jim Turvey: This may seem like a crazy pick after the Guardians got done with a series where the final scores looked like soccer matches, but it's a whole new world in the ALDS.
For one, the Yankees are not the Rays on offense, but on the flip side, they also aren't the Rays when it comes to run prevention. And while Cal Quantrill has scrapped his way to a 3.38 ERA this season, he's no Shane Bieber or Triston McKenzie if we're being honest.
Quantrill — he of the 37.8 percent fly ball rate — will likely face Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo and either Gleyber Torres or Giancarlo Stanton in his first inning. Just getting a long ball there in homer-friendly Yankee Stadium isn't a bad chance to begin with.
However, it's the other side of this bet where I think the value comes in. (The +120 YRFI is lower than a lot of the YRFI bets from the Wild Card Round because Quantrill is not up to the level of most of those pitchers).
Gerrit Cole has struggled throughout his career to get settled into games, sporting a 4.35 ERA in the first innings of his 267 career starts. That's the highest of ANY inning throughout his career, and this season was no different, with a 4.91 ERA being his highest of any inning he threw at least two innings.
Both of these lineups are incredibly top-heavy, with the Guardians top three of Steven Kwan, Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez being pretty sexy in their own right.
That this is the best YRFI number of all the games Tuesday is quite surprising to me, and I would take this number down to +105.
Gerrit Cole Over 4.5 Hits Allowed (+105)
Doug Ziefel: While Gerrit Cole is clearly the A-side of the pitching matchup in Game 1 of this division series, he may not be dominant this evening when you consider the matchup.
The Guardians are a pesky lineup. They had the lowest strikeout rate in the majors this season, and they also finished 13th in BABIP. So what those two numbers tell us is that they will constantly put the ball in play, and at that high contact volume, balls are bound to find some grass.
Cole was excellent this season, but his average exit velocity, hard-hit rate and barrel rate all ranked in the bottom third of baseball. So he did not allow much contact, but when he did, it was hard and had a high probability of being a hit.
Going up against a lineup that constantly puts the ball in play is trouble for Cole, and we are getting decent line value on this prop.
Yankees F5 Team Total Over 2.5 (+115)
Kenny Ducey: Cal Quantrill allowed three runs and nine baserunners all told in his only outing against the Yankees this year, which spanned 6 ⅓ innings, and it’s hard to envision him having much success this time around against New York.
Quantrill’s extremely low 16.6% strikeout rate and poor .417 xSLG are going to catch up to him on Tuesday in a hitter’s park against one of the strongest offenses around. There should be plenty of contact made, and given Quantrill’s elevated 25.5% fly ball rate (2.3% worse than league average and 0.6% worse than his career average), it’s highly probable he gives up some longballs here.
I’m not too keen on figuring out whether or not this Guardians offense will dink and dunk Gerrit Cole to death, given the fact that we’ve seen a mixed bag from the Yankees' ace in recent years, so I’m going to focus on what I know. Quantrill will roll over against the Yankees and put the Guardians in a hole.