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MLB Playoff Odds & Picks: How to Bet Tuesday’s 4 Divisional Round Matchups

MLB Playoff Odds & Picks: How to Bet Tuesday’s 4 Divisional Round Matchups article feature image

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Eric Hosmer #30 and Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres.

With up to four Divisional Round games scheduled over each of the next four days, I wanted to examine where we stand in each of the four divisional series matchups as of Tuesday, including two Game 1’s in the National League, and two Game 2’s in the American League.

There is plenty of actionable value up for grabs if you approach these 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-price market.

Marlins vs. Braves Game 1 Odds

Sandy Alcantara vs. Max Fried

Marlins Odds +170 [Bet Now]
Braves Odds -200 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-120/+100) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 2:08 p.m. ET

Odds as of late Tuesday morning 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)

  • Marlins probability: 34% (+194 fair odds)
  • Braves probability: 66% (-194)
  • Projected total: 8.43

Both Alcantara (6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K) and Fried (7 IP, 6 H, 0 R,0 BB, 5 K) impressed in Game 1 of their Wild Card round matchups, helping their teams to a sweep of the Cubs and Reds respectively.

But Fried (2.99 expected ERA or xERA) is unquestionably a better pitcher than Alcantara (4.03 xERA), and he gives the Braves a sizable projection edge in Game 1.

Max Fried, death by Curveball. ☠️

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 30, 2020

Fried, a master of generating weak contact, finished in the 98th percentile for both exit velocity and hard-hit rate allowed, thanks in part to that big hook.

I don’t see value on either side of the full game moneyline, but I do see a slight edge on Atlanta’s first five innings (F5) moneyline, which I projected at 69.5% and would play to -195 (implied 66.1%) at a 3.4% edge .

Conversely, I see value on the Marlins to win the series at listed odds of +240 (implied 29.4%) relative to my projection at +186 (implied 35%). Given the discrepancy in the Game 1 matchup, however, I’m going to avoid making a series play on the Marlins for now.

The Braves went 6-4 against the Marlins in 2020, but they finished with a +24 run differential – leading to a Pythagorean record of 7-3.

The Marlins were the slightly better defensive team this season (+1 to -8 Defensive Runs Saved), but the Braves are better everywhere else, especially on offense (121 vs. 95 wRC+) and in the bullpen (4.48 vs. 5.39 xFIP).

Furthermore, the Marlins have a righty-heavy pitching staff, and the Braves’ offense is tied with the Dodgers and Mets with a 126 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season.

The matchups favor the Braves who, despite suffering significant injuries to their starting staff this season, should have the bullpen depth to navigate up to five games over five consecutive days.

Their lack of starting depth should be exposed in a seven-game series against the Dodgers, for instance, but their offense and bullpen should be enough to win three out of five games in this round.

With a Game 1 win, I would move the Braves’ series odds to 77% (+12%), but with a loss, their chances would drop to 40% (-25%) – which is why I will look for series value on the Marlins after Game 1.

Recommended Bets

  • Atlanta Braves F5 Moneyline (Risk 1 unit, play to -195)

Astros vs. Athletics Game 2 Odds

Framber Valdez vs. Sean Manaea

Astros Odds -105 [Bet Now]
Athletics Odds -115 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (+100/-120) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 4:37 p.m. ET

Odds as of Tuesday morning 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)

  • Astros probability: 51.3% (-105 fair odds)
  • Athletics probability: 48.7% (+105)
  • Projected total: 8.19

I didn’t want to bet the Astros in Game 1 – both because they are the Astros, and I have a World Series future on the Athletics – but you have to take value when you see it, and Houston was clearly the correct side.

Houston’s series chances increased by 20% (from 49% to 69%) with a Game 1 win, but I don’t see value on either side of their series line (listed -210/+180) as of writing.

Furthermore, I don’t see any actionable value on the Game 2 moneyline or total – so this game appears to be a full pass while I root for Oakland to even the series.

Houston (+8 DRS) is the superior defensive team to Oakland (-20 DRS) and that was evident in Game 1.

Both offenses are just about league average, and Oakland’s bullpen was significantly better (4.27 to 4.82 xFIP) in 2020 – but over the final month of the season the Astros’ rookie arms started to find their form (4.54 xFIP) while the A’s relievers tailed off (4.65 xFIP) – and I don’t think that the bullpen gap is as wide as you might expect, given the A’s actual bullpen production.

This is a case of past performance overriding future projection value, as it’s easy for the people to point out the A’s regular-season bullpen stats and say, “they have the best bullpen.”

In fact, I project the A’s (4.01) bullpen to be about 0.4 runs better than the Astros (4.42), but I see both reliever groups as a step down from what the Rays (3.49) or Yankees (3.83) currently offer.

Both teams will try to get length from their starters as Framber Valdez (career 3.76 xFIP) faces Sean Manaea (career 4.21 xFIP). Valdez improved his K-BB% from 7.3% to 20.8% year over year, and he’s emerging as one of the more underrated pitchers in the game while relying heavily upon two pitches (sinker 55.3%, curveball 33.7%).

Framber Valdez is the first reliever to throw 5 scoreless in a #postseason game since MadBum’s epic WS Game 7 in 2014.

(MLB x @mgmresortsintl)

— MLB (@MLB) September 30, 2020

Recommended Bets

  • Pass

Yankees vs. Rays Game 2 Odds

Deivi Garcia vs. Tyler Glasnow

Yankees Odds +105 [Bet Now]
Rays Odds -125 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-115/-105) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 8:10 p.m. ET

Odds as of Tuesday morning 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)

  • Yankees probability: 40.5% (+147 fair odds)
  • Rays probability: 59.5% (-147)
  • Projected total: 7.75

After the Yankees’ Game 1 win, my revised series projection makes them a 64% favorite, implied odds of -178, and there is currently some value on Rays at a series price of +215 (implied 31.8%). However, I need +225 or better in order to make another series play.

Instead, I’ll look to bet the Rays again in Game 2, both on the F5 and full game moneylines, at respective edges of 5.75% at -120, and 6.5% at -113. I would play the F5 moneyline to -130, for a half unit, and the full game moneyline up to -127.

After a dominant 2019 campaign, Tyler Glasnow continued to improve in 2020, increasing both his strikeout minus walk rate and whiff rate by 2%, while lowering his xFIP from 2.94 to 2.75; even though his xERA increased from 2.3 to 3.13 as a result of additional hard contact.

The righty increased his curveball usage from 29.2% to 34.8%, likely on the recommendation of Tampa Bay’s analytical scouting staff.

Tyler Glasnow's curve is so filthy. 🤮

(MLB x @HankookTireUSA)

— MLB (@MLB) September 19, 2020

21-year-old Deivi Garcia was incredibly impressive for the Yankees in his debut season, while walking six batters over six starts (34.1 innings pitched). He mixes in a changeup (17%), curveball (14%), and slider (9%) behind his fastball (92.3 mph, 60%), but only the fastball and changeup returned a positive pitch value in his debut season.

Garcia beat his projected FIP (4.81) by more than half a run (4.15), and his curveball remains an extremely promising out-pitch if he can learn to command it better and throw it for strikes instead of whiffs:

This Deivi Garcia curve: 2,900 rpm
MLB avg. curveball spin: 2,527 rpm

He got 63.6" of vertical break here

— David Adler (@_dadler) August 31, 2020

He’s still a couple of tiers below Glasnow at present, however, and Tampa Bay remains the value side on Tuesday.

Recommended Bets

  • Tampa Bay Rays F5 (0.5u, play to -130)
  • Tampa Bay Rays Moneyline (1u, play to -127)
  • Under 8.5 (0.5u, -105 or better)

Padres vs. Dodgers Game 1 Odds

Mike Clevinger (unofficial) vs. Walker Buehler

Padres Odds +132 [Bet Now]
Dodgers Odds -155 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-112/-107) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 9:38 p.m. ET

Odds as of Tuesday morning 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)

  • Padres probability: 40.8% (+145 fair odds)
  • Dodgers probability: 59.2% (-145)
  • Projected total: 7.86

The Padres have yet to announce a Game 1 starter, and unless Dinelson Lamet is suddenly feeling better I would imagine that they send out Chris Paddack for the start, despite his poor effort (2.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 1 K) in Game 1 of the Wild Card round against the Cardinals.

Paddack has been shaky in 2020, seeing both his FIP (3.95 to 5.02) and xERA (3.39 to 5.11) drop off following a strong rookie season.

He has retained excellent command, with a walk rate in the top 10% amongst pitchers, but Paddack has also allowed a ton of hard contact too (47.4%), ranking in the bottom 5% of all pitchers.

The Sherriff is primarily a fastball-changeup pitcher, and until he develops a better third pitch, batters will continue to sit on his fastball and make-outs when he sets up his changeup appropriately.

Have you spent any time yet today appreciating Chris Paddack's changeup? Time to fix that…

— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) June 29, 2020

Walker Buehler also struggled a bit in 2020, and he dealt with blister issues on his hand down the stretch, which led to a change in pitch mix – as Buehler started throwing fewer cutters and sliders.

He wasn’t very sharp in Game 1 against the Brewers (4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K), and I would expect the Padres’ top-5 offense (115 wRC+) to make him pay in a similar effort.

The Dodgers do have the slightly better offense (122 wRC+), and the better defense too (29 DRS to 6 DRS), but the Padres’ bullpen was elite after the trade deadline, finishing first in baseball with a 3.42 xFIP after Sept. 1 (Dodgers 6th, 4.03).

If San Diego can get some length from Paddack and likely Game 2 starter Zach Davies, they can keep this series close.

The Dodgers won the season series 6-4, with a +12 run differential, and I make them a 65% favorite (implied -186) to win this best of five postseason series.

While I don’t see any Game 1 value on the board, I’m interested in taking a shot on the Padres’ series price at +223 (implied 31%) or better, which represents a 4% betting edge.

Hopefully, they brought a Grand Slam or two with them to Texas.



— Fox Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) September 9, 2020

Recommended Bets

  • Padres Series Moneyline (+230, 0.5 units)
  • Under 8.5 (0.5u, +100 or better)

Recommended MLB Playoff Bets (Oct. 6)

  • Atlanta Braves F5 Moneyline (Risk 1 unit, play to -195)
  • San Diego Padres Series Moneyline (risk 0.5u, play to +223)
  • Tampa Bay Rays F5 (to win 0.5u, play to -130)
  • Tampa Bay Rays Moneyline (to win 1u, play to -127)
  • Rays/Yankees, Under 8.5 (0.5u, -105 or better)
  • Dodgers/Padres, Under 8.5 (0.5u, +100 or better)

[Bet any team at PointsBet today and win $125 if they get a hit. Seriously.]

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