As promised in Point Spread Weekly, here’s our Tuley’s Takes Extra! betting preview of the MLB divisional playoffs. With the way the wildcard games fell on Tuesday and Wednesday, it didn’t work to put this in PSW (plus I didn’t have any strong opinions on those games, except that I would have preferred if the A’s has survived as I had them at 50/1 to win the World Series at the All-Star break while I have “only” 25/1 on the Rays from before my PSW column before the season).
What I like to do is give my series pick as well as Game 1 recommended bet(s) as well as making suggestions for how we might the rest of the games in each series. If I feel the need to update my predictions, I’ll post another Tuley’s Takes Extra at vsin.com (and notify everyone in the VSiN newsletter). If one or more series go to a Game 5 next Wednesday or Thursday, I’ll preview those in PSW on Wednesday (and then have another TT Extra! for the League Championship Series, etc.).
Cardinals vs. Braves
Series: Braves -140/Cardinals 120
Game 1: Braves -132/Cards 122, O/U 9
Tuley’s Take: I have a bias here as I’m also holding a 14/1 World Series ticket on the Braves from my midseason column. I really like how the Braves can beat you by manufacturing runs as well as the long ball like everyone else. I still feel that way and I’m not tempted to take the Cardinals as series underdogs. Likewise, I’m not taking the Cards in Game 1 with Miles Mikolos (9-4, 4.16 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) vs. Dallas Keuchel (8-8, 3.75 ERA, 1.37 WHIP). If I’m going to place a straight money line wager on an individual game, I’ll wait to see if the Braves are road dogs in Games 3 or 4. As for Over/Unders, I’ll go Under any game with a total of 9 like we get in Game 1. Best Bets: Braves -140 to win series, Under 9 runs in Game 1 and anytime total is 9, Braves as road dogs.
Nationals vs. Dodgers
Series: Dodgers -210/Nationals 185
Game 1: Dodgers -165/Nats 152, O/U 7.5 U-120
Tuley’s Take: The Nationals rallied to beat the Brewers 4-3 in Tuesday’s NL wildcard game and now draw the NL’s No. 1 seeded Dodgers. As per usual of a No. 1 seed vs. a wildcard survivor, the Dodgers have the far better record and most statistical edges, however, I give the Nationals a huge shot to pull the series upset as they’re the hottest team heading into the playoffs and are playing with house money after trailing nearly the whole game to the Brewers before pulling it out in dramatic fashion. The Nationals, written off by many after losing Bryce Harper to free agency, have come together as a team and have nothing to lose, so they can just play loose while all the pressure is on the Dodgers. Washington used Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg in the wildcard game, but saved Patrick Corbin for the Dodgers (whose struggle with lefties is well-documented). The Nats split the four games in L.A. and I’m looking for at least a split in Games 1 and 2. If I get the win with the Nationals/Corbin in Game 1, I’ll pass in Game 2, but otherwise will take the Nats anytime as dogs in this series. I’ll probably pass on the totals as I expect them to be set low like it is in the opener at 7.5. Best Bets: Nationals 185 to win the series, Nats 152 in Game 1 and Game 2 only if losing Game 1, Nats as dogs any game thereafter.
Rays vs. Astros
Series: Astros -320/Rays 260
Game 1: Astros -210/Rays 190, O/U 7 O-120
Tuley’s Take: As mentioned above, I personally have a bias with my 25/1 World Series future-book ticket on the Rays, but I can’t help thinking the Rays have a shot here against the AL’s top-seeded Astros as they won the season series 4-3, including winning 2 of 3 in Houston the last week of August despite going against Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke. The loss was against Verlander, the pitcher they’ll face in Game 1 (and they only scored 1 run in two losses vs. him this season); however, I like that the Rays are sending Tyler Glasnow against him as he beat the Astros in his only start against them. I’m not going to take the Rays on the series price, but instead take them 190 in Game 1 with Glasnow. If the Rays win, I’ll pass on Game 2 against Cole but will take them if down 0-1. When the series moves to Tampa, I’ll take the Rays as home underdogs. Best Bets: Rays anytime as underdogs, except Game 2 if up 1-0.
Twins vs. Yankees
Series: Yankees -230/Twins 190
Game 1: Yankees -190/Twins 175, O/U 8.5 O-120
Tuley’s Take: I also have the Twins at 25/1 to win the World Series from back in April, but I’m not as confident in their chances here against the Yankees, who won the season series 4-2 and I don’t see any reason it won’t work out around the same here. I might consider the Twins if they’re home dogs in Games 3 and/or 4. In the meantime, I’m planning to bet the Over in every game. Again looking to the regular-season meetings, the Over was 5-1 and no matter who is pitching for either team, I doubt I’ll be afraid to go Over the total, which is 8.5 for Game 1. Best Bets: Over 8.5 in Game 1 and anytime the total is less than double digits; potential plays on Twins as home dogs in Games 3 or 4.