Let’s start off with the beloved Houston Astros. No Verlander, no more video cameras in centerfield & no more trash cans banging in the dugout? No problem. 99.9% of baseball fans wanted to see this series end with the Twins on top (including myself), but the Twins track record in the postseason should’ve had gamblers foaming at the mouth for some juicy money lines in the Astros favor.
Even with the Twins coming into the series, having lost 16 straight playoff games, the Stros were +145 in Game 1 and +135 in Game 2. Look for that kind of plus money odds in their upcoming series with A’s. The Houston offense has been missing some of that pop this season, but these guys are professional hitters and will continue to grind out at bats, keeping this team in every game they play.
However, starting pitching is a huge question mark for Houston this postseason, so expect for guys like Framber Valdez and Christian Javier to be heavily relied upon if things get rocky early on. I’m going to leave you with this, there is money to be made next series with this Astros club and don’t be surprised if you see them in the ALCS when it’s all said and done.
Next we have the Oakland Athletics, who will be going up against the aforementioned Houston Astros. The A’s squeaked by the offensive powerhouse that is the Chicago White Sox in their first playoff series win since 2006.
The young phenom Jesus Luzardo took the L in Game 1, after finding too much of the plate on a few pitches against Adam Engel and José Abreu. It being his first start in his young playoff career, I expect he’ll bounce back strong in his next outing and you should expect to get some nice odds considering his latest performance (+130).
After getting mowed down by Lucas Giolito, the Athletics were able to take advantage of an over-achieving Dallas Keuchel over his first 11 starts (-140), and a Bambi-eyed Dane Dunning (-103) to take the series victory. Chris Bassitt backed up his stellar regular season performance with an impressive Game 2 outing, while Liam Hendricks tried his best to blow the series in the 9th.
I was surprised to not see Frankie Montas in the rotation replacing Mike Fiers, but expect things to change in their upcoming series. The one stat to keep in mind before you start throwing your dollars on Oakland is this… between the likes of Mark Canha, Matt Olson and Khris Davis, 22 baserunners were left on base. Oakland was out hit in every game and if more of that continues, it will be tough for them to make it out of the next round.
The Tampa Bay Rays took care of business with an easy 2 wins against the Toronto Blue Jays. There was not much value in this series with the Rays being heavy favorites in each of their games (-185 & -150), but if you had the balls to take them at -1.5 (+110 & +148), there was money to be made.
Are the Rays your prototypical #1 seed? Absolutely not. But with a 3 headed monster of Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Uncle Charlie Morton, there’s no reason why they can’t make a deep run this postseason. With their makeshift lineup of young and inexperienced players, runs may be hard to come by, but with the Yankees lackluster rotation depth behind Gerrit Cole, this could be a recipe for success in the series to come.
In two games, Snell and Glasnow combined for 11.2 innings pitched, 7 hits, 2 earned runs and a whopping and 17 K’s. Look to take advantage of first 5 innings bets (unless Gerrit Cole is their opponent) and K props when these two flamethrowers toe the rubber.
The New York Yankees came into this postseason as a 5th seed, but their offense can mask just about any deficiencies they may have in their rotation. Take Game 1 for example; Shane Bieber, your soon to be American League Cy Young Award winner, was shelled for 7 runs in 4.2 innings of work. Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole was his usual self dealing for 7 innings and fanning 13 in the process. Beyond Cole, there isn’t much to be excited about in the Yankees depleted rotation.
Masahiro Tanaka is the epitome of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. The postseason pedigree is there, but it didn’t show in his Game 2 outing giving up 6 earned in 4 innings. With no clear number 2 to really rely on day in and day out, look for Deivi García to get an opportunity in the next series to prove that, at just 21 years of age, he belongs under the bright lights of the playoffs. The Bronx Bombers were in full effect against the Indians, tallying 7 homers in two games.
Names like Judge, Stanton & Voit (MLB homerun leader) come to mind when considering this potent lineup, but the key to the Yankees success this postseason is Gleyber Torres staying healthy and reclaiming his spot at the top of the lineup. When healthy, this guy, currently only 23 years old, has the capability of winning an MVP one day. Through the first two games, Torres had a .800 OBP with a 2.286 OPS, which is a scary addition to an already elite offense.
In this next series for the Rays, expect to get some pretty nice odds in each matchup. Don’t be afraid to rely on the Yanks lineup to carry them throughout the series, while taking advantage of the water downed money line odds due to inept pitching matchups.
In Game 1 of the WCS with Cole on the mound, the Yankees were only -120. Look for that trend to continue if he goes up against Snell or Glasnow in any of his starts. The over will always be in play with this lineup so hammer it any chance you get.
My picks will come out later this morning for the Marlins vs. Cubs and the Padres vs. Cardinals games once the official starters are announced. Hope you enjoyed this ALDS preview and be on the lookout for the NLDS preview once the series are finalized.
- El Niño ‘97