Yankees vs Astros Prediction, Pick, Projections on Wednesday, October 19 for ALCS Game 1
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: The Astros work out at Minute Maid Park.
- Today's MLB playoff slate features Phillies vs Padres in NLCS Game 2 and Yankees vs Astros in ALCS Game 1
- The home squads are favored in both games, as San Diego and Houston are projected to come away with the victories.
- Should they be, though? Our expert breaks down how he's betting both games below.
Throughout the Major League Baseball playoffs, I will provide a daily breakdown summarizing my thoughts on both futures and individual games for that day.
Below, I will address how to handle betting on these playoff series, whether on the series moneyline or a game-by-game basis, while using my daily MLB Model projections.
You can also shop for the best lines on our odds page.
Using my projections, where can we find actionable value on Wednesday?
Series Moneyline Corner
First, let's take a look at my updated projected series prices for the two League Championship Series before Wednesday's contests:
The Phillies' pennant probability improved by 16.3% with their Game 1 win.
Depending upon the book, their pennant and series odds reopened between -185 and -210 after Game 1. And I would typically look to bet them up to -183 (64.7% implied), at a two percent edge compared to my number.
That -185 (at Caesars) is close to my price target; however, we already have a series bet on the Phillies and stand to win more from their futures too, so I see no reason to double down. And I'm not going to hedge with the Padres at a -EV price.
Conversely, we could technically hedge our Astros AL pennant ticket (+175 before the playoffs) with a +EV series bet on the Yankees. I would generally bet the Yankees' series price or their AL pennant odds at +141 (41.5% implied). However, I'm not personally hedging against a one-unit position on the Astros.
The Yankees currently stand between +135 and +165 (Caesars), depending on the book. If you don't have a bet on the Astros, a series play on the Yankees (above +141) is a viable approach.
However, I would search for a better price after Game 1; the pitching matchups should be significantly closer in the remaining games.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Diego Padres, 4:35 p.m. ET
Aaron Nola vs. Blake Snell (full projections here)
I discussed Zack Wheeler's fastball velocity and the Padres' struggles with fastballs (23rd on a per-pitch basis) in Tuesday's preview.
Wheeler continued to cook in Game 1, sitting at 97.2 mph on his four-seamer, right in line with his other playoff starts and 2021 levels (97.1 mph 2.79 xERA), and in contrast to his reduced stuff during the 2022 regular season (95.8 mph, 3.10 xERA).
Wheeler tossed that blazing four-seamer on 54% of his pitches against the Padres and surpassed that usage twice in 26 regular season starts.
Aaron Nola has seen a similar velocity bump down the stretch, sitting a tick above his season average of 92.8 mph; compared to 93.9 mph in his playoff-clinching start against the Astros, 93.8 mph against the Cardinals, and 94.3 mph against the Braves.
Among 140 qualified pitchers (min. 100 innings), Nola ranked in the top five in fastball value on a per-pitch basis this season, and I'd expect him to pump four-seamers and sinkers into the zone to get ahead of hitters on Thursday.
Nola had a 70.1% first-pitch strike rate this season, second in baseball behind Ross Stripling. He ranked eighth in called-strike rate (19.7%), just behind Padres' Game 3 starter Joe Musgrove. And Nola posted a 3.6% walk rate, second behind Corey Kluber (3%), while recording the most strikeouts in a season (235) with fewer than 30 walks since the late 1800s — when walks required six balls.
Like Wheeler, Nola can frustrate the Padres' offense with well-placed fastballs and use those to get ahead in counts to deploy his curveball and changeup.
Aaron Nola, 94mph Fastball and 79mph Knuckle Curve, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/KLGF2bBrs1
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 14, 2022
After the Juan Soto trade, the Padres stopped swinging the bats completely; they had the lowest swing rate overall (45%) and on pitches inside and outside the zone, alongside the second-highest called-strike rate and the lowest first-pitch strike rate.
They might be able to wait out pitchers like Ranger Suarez, Noah Syndergaard, Bailey Falter and Kyle Gibson. Still, Wheeler and Nola can consistently put them behind in counts if they're not going to swing.
Concerning player props, Jake Cronenworth and Soto should find desirable splits against handedness and pitch types. Soto has a .489 OBP against Nola in 47 plate appearances.
Blake Snell finds himself in a sub-optimal matchup against a Phillies offense that crushed left-handed pitching (123 wrC+, 3rd) after the deadline. Snell's velocity and slider usage peaked late in the season, but both have reverted toward his 2022 baseline in two playoff starts.
Based on his handedness and pitch mix, I'll look closely at player props for J.T. Realmuto and Alec Bohm.
I projected the Phillies as 54.1% favorites (-118 implied) for the first five innings (F5) and 52.4% favorites (-110) for the full game on Wednesday. You can bet those to -109 (52.1%) and -101 (50.1%), respectively.
I'm also interested in an F5 Over 3.5 at +103 or better.
New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros, 7:37 p.m. ET
Jameson Taillon vs. Justin Verlander full projections here)
The Yankees will play for the fourth time in five days — and after a quick turnaround following their divisional series win over the Guardians on Saturday. They had to fly into Houston on Tuesday night to face an Astros team that has been off since Saturday.
Bullpen rest points towards Houston for Game 1, with Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta having pitched at least three times since Friday.
And Houston gets to line up its No. 1 starter in Justin Verlander (2.66 xERA) against the Yankees' No. 4 starter, Jameson Taillon (4.20 xERA).
Houston has a slightly better offense and a superior bullpen, while the Yankees are the better team defensively.
However, the Yankees own the superior splits against right-handed pitching for the season (113 vs. 107 wRC+) and since the trade deadline (100 vs. 99 wRC+).
Houston rated much better against fastballs and changeups this season than it did against sliders and curveballs, so I'd expect to see Taillon rely on his breaking pitches on Wednesday.
Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker stand out as the two hitters most likely to succeed against Taillon's arsenal.
The Yankees ranked as a top-five offense against Verlander's pitch types (fastball/slider/curveball). Current Yankees hitters own just a .515 OPS against him. Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge are the two hitters most likely to find success against his pitch types.
I projected the Yankees as +163 underdogs (38% implied) and would need +178 (36% implied) or better to play their moneyline. And I would consider betting an Under 7 at -110 or better, but I will have to wait for that price to come into range.