Are you ready for MLB’s version of the Final Four? We have the Milwaukee Brewers vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series and the defending champion Houston Astros vs. the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship.
I hope you had a successful week in the League Divisional Series, and you did if you got on board with the Under trend that we advised VSiN readers before it happened when I wrote in last week’s betting preview: “look first at the Under in playoff games. You have quality teams facing each other in usually close games, and while there’s a lot of great hitters involved, that’s offset by a lot of great pitching, plus managers tend to play thing close to the vest.”
We certainly saw that play out as Unders went 8-5-1 in the LDS and Unders were 6-2-1 in the games I recommended in the betting preview (and I’m just as proud that Unders were 2-3 in the games where I didn’t recommend a play).
Tuley’s Takes in LDS Round
Unders 6-2-1 for plus-2.7 units/Sides 3-5 for minus-0.9 units
Game 1: Under 8.5 (WIN: Brewers, 3, Rockies 2)
Game 2: Under 8 (WIN: Brewers 4, Rockies 0)
Game 3: Under 9.5/Brewers plus-150 (WIN/WIN: Brewers 6, Rockies 0)
Series: Unders 3-0 for plus-3 units/Sides 1-0 for plus-1.5 units
Game 1: Braves plus-155 (LOSS: Dodgers 6, Braves 0)
Game 2: Under 7/Braves plus-200 (WIN/LOSS: Dodgers 3, Braves 0)
Game 3: Under 8/Braves plus-145 (LOSS/WIN: Braves 6, Dodgers 5)
Game 4: Under 8/Braves plus-135 (PUSH/LOSS: Dodgers 6, Braves 2)
Series: Unders 1-1-1 for minus-1.2 units/Sides 1-2 for minus-0.55 units
Game 1: Indians plus-130 (LOSS: Astros 7, Indians 2)
Game 2: Indians-plus-120/Under 7.5 (WIN: Astros 3, Indians 1)
Game 3: Astros plus-115/Under 8.5 (WIN/LOSS: Astros 11, Indians 2)
Series: Unders 1-1 for minus 0.1 units/Sides 1-2 for minus-.85 units)
Game 1: Yankees plus-160 (LOSS: Red Sox 5, Yankees 4)
Game 2: Under 9 (WIN: Yankees 6, Red Sox 2)
Series: Unders 1-0 for plus-1 unit/Sides 0-1 for minus-1 unit)
We didn’t fare as well on sides and went 0-2 in series picks (Braves and Yankees), but I’m glad I went with only those two series dogs as favorites won all four series. It also reinforces what I’ve often written about preferring to play the dogs in individual games in playoffs series (MLB, NBA, NHL) as the superior teams usually wins out in a best-of-5 of best-of-7 series, but we can usually show profits with spot plays (note: for those curious about why there weren’t as many sides, I only said to take the Brewers as underdogs in that series, which only happened in Game 3; I thought the Indians-Astros series was going to be more evenly matched and suggested the dog in all games, so that’s why I flipped from Indians to Astros for Game 3; and I suggested the Yankees as dogs and that only happened in Game 1 as they were favored in the other three games).
Having said that, let’s again lay out our betting strategy going game-by-game. Lines are from the South Point as of 1:15 p.m. PT Thursday:
Dodgers vs. Brewers (starts Friday, 8:05 p.m. ET)
Series price: Dodgers -160/Brewers plus-140
Game 1: Dodgers -154/Brewers plus-144
Over/under: 7.5 (over EVEN/under -120)
Tuley’s Take: In the National League, all eyes were on the Dodgers and Cubs during the regular season, but the Brewers snuck in to post the best record on the senior circuit (clinched by winning the tiebreaker in Chicago) and that’s why they have home-field advantage. Regardless, the Dodgers are favored, but we get the feeling that’s on reputation (and fan favoritism) as the Brewers are certainly playing as well as anyone after sweeping the Rockies (who forced a tiebreaker in the NL West with these same Dodgers). The Dodgers did win the season series 4-3 and won 2 of 3 in Milwaukee, but the game I feel gives the Brewers the most confidence was the July 21 win over Clayton Kershaw, which snapped a seven-game losing streak. They’re very live home underdogs in Friday night’s opener and it’s looking like we’ll get them as dogs in every game. And we’ll take it. The Brewers have been great in tight games down the stretch, so the Unders should still come out ahead and we’ll be on those again as long as we’re getting 7 runs or higher. Best Bets: Brewers plus-144 in Game 1 and as dogs throughout, plus Under 7.5 in Game 1 and Unders as long as lined at 7 runs or higher.
Astros vs. Red Sox (starts Saturday, 8:05 p.m. ET)
Series price: Astros -140/Red Sox plus-120
Games 1: Red Sox -120/Astros plus-110
Game 1 Over/Under: 7 (over -120/Under EVEN)
Tuley’s Take: As I wrote last week before the Indians-Astros series, “I love both teams and will take the survivor as series underdogs to the Red Sox.” Well, I didn’t actually expect the Astros to be favored over the team that had the best record in baseball this season, but I get it as Houston won the season series 4-3 after eliminating the Red Sox 3-1 last year in the divisional playoffs. With the Astros in the role of favorites, I’ll pass on the series price but looking to take them anytime as underdogs, which we start with Game 1 with the Justin Verlander at plus-110 against Chris Sale. I’ll also continue with the Under in each game, especially in pitcher-friendly Minute Maid Park in Houston, as long as we get it at least at 7 runs like we do in Game 1. Speaking of the games in Houston, I’m assuming the Astros will be favored so I’ll just stick with the Unders in those games. Best Bets: Astros plus-110 and Under 7 EVEN in Game 1, Unders in any other games with total of 7 or higher, Astros in any games as underdogs.