Saturday MLB Playoff Betting Picks, Predictions: How to Bet Astros vs. Rays Game 7
Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Correa and George Springer
- The Houston Astros take on the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday night. First pitch is set for 8:37 p.m. ET.
- Mike Vitanza explains how he's betting Astros vs. Rays below.
To the dismay of most baseball fans, the Astros have come all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit to force an ALCS Game 7 tonight. To bettors, though, that comeback may be leading to some welcomed elimination-game value.
Our staff has found three bets worth making tonight — including one on tonight’s ALCS Game 7. Let’s take a look.
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
BJ Cunningham: Braves Moneyline (+125) vs. Dodgers
Max Fried has been one of the best starting left-handed starting pitchers in baseball this season. The 26-year-old put up a 2.25 ERA and allowed only a .209 average to opposing hitters. Fried tossed six innings of one-run ball in Game 1, which included nine strikeouts.
Fried’s fastball/curveball/slider combination is as lethal as anyone’s in baseball. He’s able to bring mid-90s with his fastball and can drop in his curveball with almost 20 mph less velocity to keep hitters off balance. Of his main arsenal, Fried has held opponents to under a .290 wOBA on each pitch.
Even though he shut down the Dodgers in Game 1, he’ll have a tough matchup against this Dodgers lineup since they’ll be seeing him for a second time. However, much of the Dodgers’ success has come against right-handed pitching, as they have a .355 wOBA and an MLB-best 126 wRC+ against righties, compared to only .335 wOBA and 113 wRC+ against lefties.
On the other side, Walker Buehler has a full arsenal of nasty stuff. His fastball can top out at around 100 mph, and he knows how to use it effectively. Buehler’s heater has produced a 26.1% whiff rate and 23 strikeouts in only 36.2 Innings of work. However, he’ll need to be on point with his fastball today, because the Braves are the best fastball-hitting team in baseball, recording 55.2 weighted fastball runs during the regular season.
Buehler also has a nasty cutter that has limited hitters to a .273 wOBA and produced a 35.3% whiff rate. His Achilles’ heel has been the long ball, as his HR/9 rate is all the way up at 1.72.
The Braves were able to knock Buehler out after five innings in Game 1, as the Dodgers’ starter allowed five free passes.
The Braves have the best 1-2-3 hitters in baseball in Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna, and have shown in the first five games of this series how they were able to combine for 45 home runs and 138 RBIs and all have a wOBA over .400 this season. Freeman has especially been on fire this series.
Even though the Dodgers lineup has been rolling the last two games of this series, I think Fried will be able to cool them down. I’ll take Atlanta to close out this series at +125.
Michael Arinze: Braves Moneyline (+125) vs. Dodgers
The Dodgers opened as -150 favorites and that carries a 60% implied probability. Perhaps I could buy that if Buehler was at full strength, but he’s struggling to pitch deep into games due to his blister.
A 60% implied probability is too high when you consider how many outs the Dodgers bullpen might be asked to get tonight.
My model takes into account the expected workload for relievers in each game and that makes the Dodgers a much shorter favorite for me at -120. The current market price is offering me some value on Atlanta and PointsBet is currently trading them at +125. I can only look to the dog in this spot as these teams are much closer in price than the odds would suggest.
Mike Vitanza: Rays F5 Moneyline (-115) vs. Astros
Charlie Morton has been excellent for the Tampa Bay Rays this postseason as evidenced by the 2.19 FIP and 9.9 K/9 he’s posted so far. He also comes in with a perfect 2-0 record.
Morton has gone five innings in each of his postseason starts, yielding just one earned run on nine hits. That also includes five shutout innings against this same Astros team back on Monday. He’s a big-game pitcher that has continuously shown up in the big moments. In fact, he had nearly identical numbers in last year’s postseason where he went 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA
On the other side, Lance McCullers Jr. gets the start for Houston. McCullers Jr. was strong in his last start against the Rays, pitching seven innings and allowing just one earned run while striking out 10. He did, however, allow four runs in that game — three of which were unearned. Overall, though, he’s struggled in this postseason, pitching to a 6.74 FIP and allowing 4.09 HR/9.
I like Charlie Morton to keep this powerful Astros offense at bay early and expect the Rays’ bats to be able to get to McCullers Jr. I’m comfortable betting this down to the -120 range.