MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday ALCS and NLCS 10/19

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

October 19, 2022 11:51 AM
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The ALCS begins and the NLCS continues on Wednesday, as Game 2 of Phillies/Padres takes place this afternoon and Game 1 of Yankees/Astros rounds out the evening. The Padres suddenly find themselves in a precarious spot after losing Game 1 and everybody knows how the Yankees are up against it given their travel schedule and the condensed schedule. I wrote my series preview for Astros/Yankees yesterday, but now Game 1 takes center stage.

Hopefully it will be a better day after my Guardians were bounced from the playoffs and the Phillies won 2-0 over the Padres to put a real dent in my series wager. While the playoffs are still ongoing, I’ve begun my preseason prep work for next year, looking at possible free agent destinations, thinking about tough roster decisions and ascertaining which teams could surprise and which teams could fall flat.

There are still games to be played, but I’ve got one eye towards 2023 already.

Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres (-115, 7)

Kyle Schwarber hit a ball that hasn’t landed yet to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead and it stood up in Game 1. Bryce Harper hit a solo shot to start the scoring, as Yu Darvish only gave up three hits, but two left the yard. He could’ve thrown shutout baseball and it wouldn’t have mattered because Zack Wheeler was excellent over his seven innings with just one hit allowed.

Manager Rob Thomson pulled the plug at the right time. Even though Wheeler only threw 83 pitches, his velocity was waning. His last two fastballs of the game were 94.7 and 94.6 mph. It is impossible to say enough about the job that he has done since taking over for Joe Girardi. Many probably questioned turning it over to the Phillies bullpen, as Jose Alvarado and Alec Bohm made it interesting in the ninth, but Wheeler was tapped out and Thomson was proactive while throwing the pitch count out of the equation.

On the whole, Wheeler’s velo was up across the board, but it fizzled quickly. I guess we’ll have to see if that plays into a potential Game 5 handicap, but I would say that it definitely keeps him from pitching on short rest in this series.

Anyway, the Padres felt like Wheeler threw one of the best games of the season against them in Game 1. Now they have to face Aaron Nola, who I believe has more upside than Wheeler. Nola has allowed an unearned run in 12.2 innings with 12 strikeouts against three walks and only nine hits allowed. In the regular season, Nola had his lowest Hard Hit% since 2018 and lowest BB% of his career, while continuing to maintain an elite K%.

The Phillies hit the two homers against Darvish and did what they needed to do, but their offensive projection looks a lot better for today’s game against Blake Snell. Snell has allowed three runs on nine hits with 11 strikeouts and eight walks in his 8.2 innings in the postseason. More importantly, he is a left-handed pitcher and the Phillies bashed lefties during the regular season (and also smashed Max Fried in the NLDS). Philadelphia was fourth in wOBA and sixth in wRC +, so this was easily their better offensive split. They were fifth in SLG and third in BABIP. They have a golden opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in the series. If I’m Bob Melvin, I have Snell on a shorter leash, even if he pitched a lot better against the Dodgers.

I made a miscalculation and also read an information source wrong thinking that Joe Musgrove would pitch Game 2. One of the sources I use had him listed, but that would’ve been just three days rest, so it makes sense that Snell is going. I sincerely apologize for that.

I stared at Phillies 1st 5 for a while this morning wondering why I couldn’t pull the trigger right away, given that it’s essentially a coin flip with -110 both ways (-115 both ways at DraftKings). Up until this season, Nola had run a league average or higher HR/FB% for four years running and all but one of his MLB seasons. As we’ve seen, the playoffs are all about hitting home runs. Can the Padres catch a couple mistakes in the zone? Will that be enough to offset the traffic from Snell, who has occasionally had home run issues of his own?

I’m still thinking about this one at time of publish and have a little time before the game.

Lean: Phillies 1st 5 (-110)

New York Yankees at Houston Astros (-195, 7)

The Yankees are really up against it for Game 1, as they eliminated the Guardians about 24 hours prior to when first pitch is scheduled for the series opener. They’re also up against it because Jameson Taillon takes the ball with a very short bullpen. This will be a Taillon/Domingo German game as the Yankees just hope to hit a few home runs off of Justin Verlander and keep this interesting.

It certainly could happen. Verlander allowed six runs on 10 hits over four innings last time out against the Mariners. He only allowed 12 homers during the regular season with a deader ball for 2022, but he has had a knack for allowing the long ball as a fly ball pitcher that is constantly around the plate.

While the Yankees ultimately knocked out the Guardians, New York batted .182/.273/.370 against Cleveland. The nine home runs that New York hit are tied with San Diego, but the Padres have played three more games. The long ball was the great equalizer to say the least. New York struck out 53 times over the five games. As I wrote about in my preview, the highest ERA for an Astros pitcher was 3.94 during the regular season and Houston was the second-best team in home run prevention by HR/9 and the best by HR/FB%. (Cleveland was 14th in HR/9 and 16th in HR/FB%)

The Guardians actually out-hit the Yankees in every game, but the Yankees hit home runs and Cleveland didn’t, hence the final outcome in the series. Houston, as mentioned in my series preview, is effectively Cleveland, but with power. The Astros don’t strike out much, but hit a lot more home runs. That means that Taillon has a tall task tonight. He had a 3.91 ERA with a 4.20 xERA and a 3.94 FIP in his 177.1 innings of work. He hasn’t started since October 4 and only faced three batters in Game 2 of the ALDS.

Clay Holmes is said to be unavailable on back-to-back days, at least according to his manager. Wandy Peralta has pitched four of the last five days. Otherwise, the Yankees aren’t in awful shape from a rest standpoint, but injuries have really weakened the talent level of this pen. That isn’t a concern for the Astros, who have had plenty of time to recover from the Game 3 marathon against the Mariners and used Luis Garcia for five innings to further spare the bullpen.

As far as Game 1 goes, I won’t have a bet, but I will be hoping for a Houston win. As written about in the series article, the Astros series price, along with Astros in 4 or Astros in 5 are things I took a look at. The Astros series price ballooned north of -200 at DraftKings. The Astros are 8/1 to win in a sweep and + 475 to win in five games. That’s more of what I’m looking at here.

No Game 1 bet

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