Zylbert: What Does History Tell Us About Game 7 Over/Unders?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Walker Buehler.
Betting odds: Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers
- Over/Under: 7.5
- First pitch: 8:09 p.m. ET
- Probable pitchers: Walker Buehler (8-5, 2.62 ERA) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (15-8, 3.50 ERA)
- TV channel: FS1
- Regular Season: 102-73-4, +21.45 units
- Postseason: 6-9-1, -4.75 units
- Yesterday’s Result: Dodgers-Brewers Under 8, Ryu vs. Miley (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
In the waning moments of Game 6 that saw the Brewers even the National League Championship Series at three games apiece, Hall of Fame pitcher and FOX broadcaster John Smoltz commented, “I know this: I like Game 7s. And I’m not looking at one stat for tomorrow. That’s the beauty of it.”
Irony aside (since that’s part of his job as the color commentator), Smoltz does raise a valid point. When it comes to playing in an LCS Game 7, there’s nothing else in the world like it.
You either win and advance to the World Series, or lose and see your season go up in smoke. Thus it is understandable when players react differently, perhaps severely, from their norm facing such monumental ramifications.
Fortunately, I don’t think we have to worry about that too much in this instance, at least as it concerns the starting pitchers. And while Smoltz may disagree, there’s sufficient statistical evidence to back this sentiment.
On the Dodgers’ side, rookie Walker Buehler will make his second start of the series. While it seems like a tall task for a 24-year-old to excel with everything on the line, the 2015 No. 24 overall draft pick has already proven he’s not like most youngsters and can handle the bright lights.
Buehler aced his first test in dealing with postseason pressure when he started in Game 163, ultimately beating the Rockies with six-plus shutout innings to win the division.
Then, in his lone NL Division Series assignment opposite the Braves, Buehler looked impressive outside of one really fluky inning, which he followed up by retiring his final 10 batters.
Buehler started Game 3 of this series on Monday and was relatively strong there, as well. He did get tagged for four runs in the effort, but half of those came in his last inning. He still pitched seven innings and struck out eight.
With all of this under his belt, Buehler seems ready for a Game 7. His moxie figures to help him stick to his normal game, and as long as that’s the case, he’ll be fine.
That’s also what I anticipate from Jhoulys Chacin, who I sense craves these types of big-game assignments.
Earlier in the playoffs, the 10-year veteran glowingly talked about how he couldn’t be happier being in this situation and that just pitching in the playoffs was always his goal. He added that pitching in a World Series is something he “always dreamed about.”
Chacin has made quite the impression in his first taste of playoff baseball. Like his counterpart, he was tasked with winning a division crown in Game 163, which he did by impressively stifling the Cubs on the road.
In his two postseason starts since — including one against Buehler — Chacin hasn’t given up a single run, notching 10 1/3 scoreless frames and a pair of wins.
From that, we can determine Chacin is capable of keeping it going — being someone who is looking forward to toeing the rubber in a Game 7 rather than backing down from it.
If anything, it could be the hitters who are affected most, especially in this series where there hasn’t been much offense. Batters might be pressing and trying to do too much. It could be a leading reason why the Game 7 matchups have seen the under go 15-7-1 in the past 23 instances, dating back to 1987.
And just as important as anything, let’s remember that we’ll have two strong bullpens fully at our disposal. Specifically, we’ll get to lean on dominant All-Star left-hander Josh Hader for two or maybe even three innings.
Oh, and the best pitcher of this generation, Clayton Kershaw, will be lurking, too, if necessary. His potential involvement would certainly be welcomed by under bettors.
I jumped on this under as soon as it opened at 8 Friday night (which, again, is why you should follow my picks in the app), but even if you’re stuck with 7.5, I’d still recommend a play on that number.
Play: UNDER 8 (-120)