MLB Playoff Odds & Picks: How to Bet Yankees vs. Rays & Padres vs. Dodgers

Credit:

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Zunino and Peter Fairbanks

  • Two more Divisional Series matchups are on tap for Wednesday night, with Yankees vs. Rays Game 3 starting at 7:10 p.m. ET.
  • Yankees-Rays is followed by Game 2 of the NLDS series between the Padres and Dodgers. Where does the value lie in this matchups?
  • Sean Zerillo breaks down everything you need to know before betting these two games below.

Wednesday presents our first elimination game of the divisional round, as the Oakland Athletics fight for the playoff lives against the Houston Astros — who have yet to lose in October.

We’ll also see a pair of Game 2’s in the National League, as the Braves and Dodgers remain on a collision course for an NLCS matchup.

The Rays vs. Yankees series is easily the most intense matchup of this round, however, and with a pivotal Game 3 on deck, we are set up for another exciting day of playoff baseball.

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 market.

Where can we find actionable value on Wednesday?


Marlins vs. Braves Game 2 Odds

Pablo Lopez vs. Ian Anderson

Marlins Odds +170 [Bet Now]
Braves Odds -215 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8.5 (-125/+105) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 2:08 p.m. ET
TV MLB Network

Odds as of late Wednesday 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: 40.5% (+147 fair odds)
  • Braves probability: 59.1% (-147)
  • Projected total: 8.2

Following their Game 1 loss, the Marlins’ projected series chances dropped to 23%, implied odds of +335 — and I would now play Miami’s series moneyline for a half unit at +400 (implied 20%) or better which represents a 3% edge.

Furthermore, the Marlins offer a Game 2 betting edge, listed at odds of +181 (implied 35.5%) or higher as of writing, more than a 5% edge compared to my projection (40.5%).

The Braves preseason rotation came apart, but they were able to win to the NL East and advance to the divisional round due partly to rookie Ian Anderson, who posted a 3.45 xFIP in six regular-season starts, before a dominant Wild Card outing against the Reds (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K).

The 22-year-old righty leans primarily upon his fastball (48.7%, 94 mph), and changeup (30.5%, 87.4 mph), while his big curveball (20.8%, 80.2 mph) has been slightly less effective to date; though, some scouts considered it the better secondary pitch.

Pablo Lopez excelled for the Marlins in 2020 while making some tweaks to his arsenal, introducing a cutter (8%) and increasing his changeup usage (+7.8%) while dialing back his curveball (-12.4%).

His strikeout-minus-walk rate improved by 2.6%, his xFIP improved from 4.28 to 3.09, and his expected ERA (xERA), per Statcast, improved from 4.57 to 3.28  during the shortened 2020 campaign.

Lopez threw more first-pitch strikes (+3.9%), and batters made less contact on his pitches inside of the zone (-4.6%) relative to 2019.

There is value on the Marlins moneyline, and Lopez’s new pitch mix, down to +170 for Wednesday.

I already have a half-unit bet on Miami at +180, but I’m going to wait to see if it climbs over +200 before flattening out my wager to one unit.

In regards, to the total, this game fits the following BetLabs system for Under bettors:

Recommended Bets

  • Marlins Series Price (Risk 0.5 units at +400 or better)
  • Marlins Moneyline (1u at +170 or better)

Astros vs. Athletics Game 3 Odds

Jesus Luzardo vs. Jose Urquidy

Astros Odds -106 [Bet Now]
Athletics Odds -125 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (+100/-120) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 3:35 p.m. ET
TV TBS

Odds as of Wednesday 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)

  • Athletics probability: 51.7% (-107 fair odds)
  • Astros probability: 48.3% (+107)
  • Projected total: 8.13

Down 0-2 in the series, I give the Athletics an 11% chance (implied odds of +809) of ripping off three consecutive wins to advance to the ALCS.

They’ll give the ball to Jesus Luzardo with their season on the line. The Baby Lizard didn’t fully realize his enormous expectations in 2020, pitching to a 4.19 xFIP and 4.3 xERA, but his arm talent remains elite, and he still has the chance to blossom into something special — the comp remains Johan Santana.

Luzardo throws harder (95.5 mph) than any left-handed starter in the game, edging out Blake Snell (95.1 mph), and he pairs that heat both with a sharp slider and with one of the better changeups you will ever see from a young pitcher:

On the flip side of the matchup, Jose Urquidy is one of the most underrated young righties in the game, displaying excellent command (1.91 BB/9) over 14 appearances in the bigs.

Urquidy was also extremely calm under pressure both in the 2019 World Series and in his first appearance of the 2020 postseason against Minnesota (4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K).

He utilizes a changeup (20.5%), slider (13.1%), and curveball (11.9%) behind his fastball (93.1 mph, 54.5%), consistently throwing strikes (54.6% zone rate) while allowing a high number of flyballs (44.7%). However, a large percentage of those flyballs are actually popouts (11.8%) — so Urquidy has a bit of Mike Fiers to his game (career 12.3% Infield Flyball rate).

I would need to see +1011 (implied 9%) or better to consider making a series wager on Oakland, but the line is listed around -800/+675 in favor of the Astros; and I don’t expect to find a fair price.

As for Game 3, I would bet Oakland small at +106 (implied 48.5%) or better, which represents more than a three percent edge relative to my projection.

Recommended Bets

  • Athletics Moneyline (0.5u at +106 or better)
  • F5 Under 5 (0.5u at -108 or better)
  • Under 9 (0.5u at -105 or better)

Yankees vs. Rays Game 3 Odds

Masahiro Tanaka vs. Charlie Morton

Yankees Odds +107 [Bet Now]
Rays Odds -124 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (-118/+100) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 7:10 p.m. ET
TV TBS

Odds as of Wednesday 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)

  • Rays probability: 51.7% (-107 fair odds)
  • Yankees probability: 48.3% (+107)
  • Projected total: 8.26

The Rays staff (and the Yankees lineup) set the postseason record with 18 strikeouts on Tuesday, as Tyler Glasnow and the Tampa Bay bullpen secured a sweaty win for their team; evening this best of five series at one game apiece.

I made the Rays a 56% series favorite before Game 1, and I revised that projection to 54% before Game 3. I would now look to bet Tampa Bay at even money or better to win the series. 

I’m not personally looking to add more on their series line, however; holding a +130 ticket from before Game 1.

However, I project the Rays as Game 3 favorites, and I would play their moneyline to +106 (implied 48.5%) or better, which represents more than a three percent edge relative to my projection.

In 2020, Charlie Morton finished with his worst FIP (4.01) since 2012, but he dealt with an early-season velocity dip, was placed on the IL in August, and mostly returned to form in September (25 K, 6 BB in 21.1 IP):

Morton’s September velocity (93.9 mph) was still a half-tick below his 2019 average (94.4 mph), which declined from his 2018 season (95.7 mph), but his plate discipline metrics have remained very consistent; the pitches are just returning off the bat a little bit harder than they were previously.

Masahiro Tanaka’s metrics held fairly consistent with his own 2019 season, seeing slight improvements in his xFIP (4.29 to 4.19) and xERA (4.41 to 4.01), without a full regression to his peak form (3.43 xFIP from 2017-2018).

Tanaka’s swinging strike rate (14%) did rebound from a down 2019 season (10.7%) while regressing towards his career average (12.6%) and figures from both the 2017 (15.1%) and 2018 (14.1%) seasons.

In 2020, batters swung less frequently on his pitches outside of the zone, but they also made significantly less contact (-13.2%) relative to 2019, while also making less contact (-3.4%) on pitches inside the zone too.

Tanaka has elite command, ranking in the top 10% of starters for walk rate allowed during each season in MLB.

This is a tight matchup, but I have Morton rated around 0.08 runs better than Tanaka per nine innings, and despite the Rays’ heavy bullpen usage through two games, none of their relievers worked consecutive days.

Per my projections, the Rays should once again be a slight favorite, and you can continue to bet them at plus money.

Recommended Bets

  • Rays Moneyline (1u at +106 or better)

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Padres vs. Dodgers Game 2 Odds

Zach Davies vs. Clayton Kershaw

Padres Odds +185 [Bet Now]
Dodgers Odds -235 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8.5 (-115/-105) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 9:08 p.m. ET
TV FS1

Odds as of Wednesday afternoon 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: 36% (+178 fair odds)
  • Dodgers probability: 64% (-178)
  • Projected total: 8.49

Mike Clevinger’s Game 1 start was pretty much a full-blown disaster, and it actively harmed the Padres’ chances of pulling the upset in this series.

Perhaps Jayce Tingler and the Padres should have saved a Clevinger prayer for Game 2 when they had a better idea of the series layout following a Game 1 start from either Chris Paddack or Zach Davies.

Now, even after using nine pitchers (and two managers) on Tuesday (including all three of their best multiple-innings options) the Padres are still down a game in the series — and their pitching situation for the next four days is nothing short of precarious.

The  Padres absolutely need LENGTH from either Paddack or Davies (or both) over the next two days in order to put themselves in a position to win two consecutive games with a rested bullpen.

And on Tuesday, they also need to find a way to score against Clayton Kershaw, who had a bounceback 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 was extremely effective in his lone start against the Padres (6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 9 BB, 9 K) — and Kershaw typically loves to see the Friars in the batter’s box — with a career 21-7 record and 2.03 ERA against San Diego (40 starts).

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

 

Following their Game 1 loss, I only give the Padres a 20% chance (implied odds of +400) to win three of the next four games in order to advance, and I would need +450 or better to consider adding onto their series moneyline.

Assuming that Paddack starts Game 2, I could only bet the Padres at +190 (implied 34.5%) or better, a 3.4% edge relative to my projection. I would raise that bar to +208 if Davies pitches for the Padres.

Recommended Bets

  • TBD

Recommended MLB Playoff Bets (Oct. 7)

  • Marlins Series Price (Risk 0.5 units at +400 or better)
  • Marlins Moneyline (1 u at +170 or better)
  • Athletics Moneyline (0.5u at +106 or better)
  • Astros/Athletics, F5 Under 5 (0.5u at -108 or better)
  • Astros/Athletics, Under 9 (0.5u at -105 or better)
  • Rays Moneyline (1u at +106 or better)

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

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