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Zerillo’s MLB Projected Odds & Picks for Rays vs. Astros, Braves vs. Dodgers (Thursday, Oct. 15)

Zerillo’s MLB Projected Odds & Picks for Rays vs. Astros, Braves vs. Dodgers (Thursday, Oct. 15) article feature image

Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves.

Both the Astros and the Dodgers won their first games of the championship series round on Wednesday – but the wins had dramatically different impacts on their overall chances of advancing.

Still down 3-1 against the Rays, the Astros’ chances of winning the ALCS improved by just four percentage points — from 3% to 7% — following their Game 4 win, but their World Series chances doubled, from 1.1% to 2.3%.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ NLCS odds increased by 18 percentage points (from 26% to 44%) following their blowout win in Game 3, and their World Series odds — which slipped to the third position (15.7%) after Game 2 — have rebounded to the second choice at 27%.

There is plenty of actionable value up for grabs if you approach these respective games and series on an individual basis, checking both series moneyline prices and game moneyline prices between each contest.

As a result, certain playoff series are only worth betting on a game-by-game basis, while others offer more significant value in the series market.

Where can we find actionable value on Thursday?

Rays vs. Astros Game 5 Odds

John Curtiss vs. Luis Garcia

Rays Odds -140 [Bet Now]
Astros Odds +120 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8.5 (-120/+100) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 5:07 p.m. ET

Odds as of Thursday at 12 p.m. and via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.

Model Projection (full projections here)

  • Rays probability: 58.5% (Fair odds of -125)
  • Astros probability: 41.5% (+125)
  • Projected total: 7.32

The series price, which now lists Tampa Bay as a -1400 favorite (implied 93.3%) appears to have appropriately adjusted following the Astros’ Game 4 win.

The Rays will use fastball/slider specialist John Curtiss as an opener on Thursday, to get through the Astros right-handed hitters in the first inning.

Whatever the Rays decide to do next, they should have a full complement of relievers available — including lefty Jose Alvarado, who looked dominant in his Wednesday appearance:

José Alvarado vs. Maldonado

This might be the front runner for Cruelest AB of the Year.

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 15, 2020

Josh Fleming could be the second man up. The southpaw was a pleasant surprise for the Rays this season. He never struck out more than seven batters per nine innings in the minors, but he displayed impeccable command (3.57 K/BB) in the majors this season, despite possessing a relatively low strikeout rate.

He is primarily a fastball/slider/changeup pitcher, whose velocity (90.6 mph, 18th percentile) disguises his ability to generate weak contact (87th percentile in exit velocity).

Josh Fleming was lights out for @RaysBaseball this afternoon.

— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 27, 2020

And when you have the ability, as Kevin Cash does, to follow Fleming with a, “stable of guys who throw 98” the perceived increase off of a finesse starter like Fleming only makes the late innings more difficult for the opposing offense.

Good luck adjusting to Nick Anderson’s 95 mph heat up in the zone:

Nick Anderson up for the #Rays. Won't get much easier for the #Yankees #RaysUp

— Michael Augustine (@AugustineMLB) October 10, 2020

The Astros don’t have many starting options left – since they will attempt to save Framber Valdez for a possible Game 6.

Rookie Luis Garcia (5.22 xFIP) likely factors into their Game 5 plan. He hasn’t pitched above High-A ball prior to the 2020 season, but he would have led the minor leagues in strikeout rate in 2019 (13.9 per nine innings) had he qualified for the title.

Garcia offers a high-spin fastball that touches the upper 90s (sits 94-95), with a changeup, slider, cutter, and curveball. The ability to locate his fastball in order to set up his offspeed stuff makes the 23-year-old an exciting prospect:


Based upon early odds, I don’t see value on either side of Thursday’s Game 5 moneyline.

I would, however, play under 8.5 down to -117, or Under 8 to -103, given my projected total at 7.32.

Additionally, you can play F5 Under 5 to -120.

Umpire Tim Timmons (career 48.3% to the Under, -25.85 units for a consistent $100 bettor) is not particularly pitcher-friendly, however – so I’m going to keep the play small.

Recommended Bets

  • F5 Under 5 (0.5u, play to -120)
  • Under 8.5 (0.5u, play to -117) or Under 8 (0.5u, play to -103)

Braves vs. Dodgers Game 4 Odds

Clayton Kershaw vs. Bryse Wilson

Dodgers Odds -225 [Bet Now]
Braves Odds +180 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (-115/-105) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 8:08 p.m. ET

Odds as of Thursday at 12 p.m. and via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up, AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.

Model Projection (full projections here)

  • Dodgers probability: 63% (Fair odds of -170)
  • Braves probability: 37% (+170)
  • Projected total: 8.36

Clayton Kershaw will take the ball in Game 3 for the Dodgers, after being scratched from his Game 2 start with back spasms.

His presence has to be reassuring for both the Dodgers and their fans. Despite Kershaw’s past playoff struggles, this Dodgers team is relatively short on reliable starting pitching, and they need to get about 10 innings in each series from both Kershaw and Walker Buehler in order to avoid over-extending their bullpen for the remaining games in that series.

Buehler only pitched five innings in Game 1, before he was subsequently replaced by Dustin May and then Brusdar Graterol. Tony Gonsolin started Game 2, then Alex Wood pitched in relief, and did so again for the second consecutive day on Wednesday.

As a result, unless Buehler goes on three days rest in Game 5, or Gonsolin on three days rest in Game 6, the Dodgers would likely want to save both Graterol and May to piggyback through those innings in one of those two games. That makes it even more vital that Kershaw pitches at least six innings on Thursday.

The southpaw had a bounce back 2020 season (3.05 xFIP, 3.11 xERA) after a relatively tougher 2019 campaign (3.50 xFIP, 3.68 xERA) by his elite standards, anyway.

Kershaw’s 24.4% strikeout minus walk rate this season was his best mark since 2017 (25.3%), and he regained some lost velocity (increasing back from 90.5 mph to 91.6 mph) after the 2017 dropoff (93 mph).

He remains primarily a fastball/slider pitcher, throwing the combination more than 80% of the time while mixing in a curveball every fifth pitch.

Clayton Kershaw, 93mph Fastball (Called Strike) and 89mph Slider (Swinging K), Individual Pitches + Overlay

You can see why that combo is lethal.

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 2, 2020

If Kershaw’s back is right, and he pitches to his standards, the Dodgers should be fine — and this matchup really comes down to Braves’ starter Bryse Wilson, and his fastball command.

A former fourth-round pick, Wilson was drafted below his talent level due to signability concerns, but the Braves convinced him to join the organization with a well-above-slot $1.2M bonus.

Wilson throws five pitches (fastball, sinker, changeup, curveball, slider), and both his curveball and slider returned a positive pitch value in his limited 2020 sample.

He had a lot of minor league success, blowing through A-ball in 2017 (3.20 FIP, 3.76 K/BB), Double-A ball in 2018 (2.73 FIP, 3.42 K/BB), and Triple-A in 2019 (3.68 FIP, 4.54 K/BB), but Wilson has yet to carry the full weight of that performance to the big leagues.

His start against the Marlins on Sept. 22 (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K) was his best to date, but Wilson also hasn’t pitched since Sept. 27, when he was lifted after three innings against the Red Sox.

He has a bulldog mentality on the mound and goes right at hitters with his fastball, using it aggressively in the zone. It’s exactly what you want to see. There is no place for fear on a postseason pitching mound:

Biggest thing I’ve seen with the pitching this post season…those who are successful are fearless in the zone. You have to be aggressive and ahead in the count in the post season, but it’s the most daunting time of year to do it.

— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) October 14, 2020

If Wilson doesn’t have command over his fastball in the first inning, it could be another long night for Braves pitching.


I would bet the Braves moneyline down to +199, a 3.5% edge relative to my projection.

Furthermore, I would continue to play the Braves series price at even money (+100) or better, a 6% edge compared to my projection.

Lastly, I would bet under 9 in this matchup down to even money (+100), or Under 9.5 down to -112.

Umpire Dan Iassogna (career 53.1% Under, +12.9 units for a consistent $100 bettor) will be behind the dish, with double-digit winds blowing in from Center Field. 

Recommended Bets

  • Braves Series Price (play to +100)
  • Braves Moneyline (1 unit, play to +199)
  • Under 9 (0.5u, play to +100) or Under 9.5 (-0.5u, play to -112)

Recommended Bets (Oct. 15)

  • Astros/Rays, F5 Under 5 (0.5u, play to -120)
  • Astros/Rays, Under 8.5 (0.5u, play to -117) or Under 8 (0.5u, play to -103)
  • Braves Series Price (play to +100)
  • Braves Moneyline (1 unit, play to +199)
  • Braves/Dodgers, Under 9 (0.5u, play to +100) or Under 9.5 (-0.5u, play to -112)

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