Postseason is here and whether your team is gunning for the World Series, or you’re (unfortunately) looking forward to next season, there’s still the most entertaining baseball stories to come and more importantly, money to be made.
Braves bullpen to win it
St Louis Cardinals – Atlanta Braves
2019 Head-to-head record: 6 games played – one 3-game series both in St Louis and Atlanta, Braves lead 4-2 (.667) winning 2-1 both series with 29 runs scored vs 27 runs against.
Cardinals have have impressed especially in their pitching, but Atlanta are much better offensively and that’s where this game will be won. Atlanta Braves to win the first game on a -2 line looks good at +180, for the first game.
One to look out for: Closer Mark Melancon.
Blighted by injuries throughout his time at Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants, his deadline-day trade to the Braves looked like a bit of a risk, but with his last 15 games stats showing a 1.84 ERA, 9 saves, 15 strikeouts and a 0.82 WHIP in 14.2 IP, the Braves’ bullpen is in safe hands if they have a lead to protect or have to claw back from a run or two down and not allow any more.
One for the upset?
Washington Nationals – LA Dodgers
2019 Head-to-head record: 7 games played – one 4-game series both in LA and a 3-gamer in Washington. Dodgers edge the Nats slightly 4-3 (.571) drawing their home series and winning the road trip 2-1 with 30 runs scored vs 27 runs against.
Is this where the upset of the divisional series is most likely to happen? Dodgers has been on the top of everybody’s list and have been one of the main favorites for both the National League division and the World Series and have only been pipped by the Astros recently to become second favorites.
But the Nats have showed within two series against the Dodgers, that they can go toe-to-toe with them, especially after a confidence boost of getting through the Brewers in the Wild Card. And should- at the least- be able to cover the run line while being the underdog. Nationals +1 @ +110 looks to be the play especially when both starting pitchers have similar stats.
One to look out for: Cody Bellinger
The stupendous jack of all trades, be it offense or defense, his form will be key to LA (as well as how well their pitchers do with postseason pressure). His stats lead any Dodger this season; .305 BA, .406 OBP, .629 SLG, 1.035 OPS and 47 home runs.
Pitching could push it tight
Tampa Bay Rays - Houston Astros
2019 Head-to-head record: 7 games played – one 3-game series in Houston and a 4-game series in Tampa. This is the only divisional playoff where the lower seed leads in the head-to-head, with the Rays holding a 4-3 (.571) record, winning 3-1 at Tropicana Field and losing the away series 2-1. Funnily enough they’ve only scored 27 runs against the Astros but have allowed 40.
One to look out for: The pitching
I mean the first game of this series is Tyler Glasnow (1.78 ERA) v Justin Verlander (2.58 ERA), it’s followed up by the 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell (4.29 ERA) v Gerrit Cole (2.50 ERA) and then Charlie Morton (3.05 ERA), the pitcher that helped his old team, Astros, win Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, faces Zack Greinke (2.98 ERA).
There’s no lack of quality on the mound, and while the Astros are favorites, expect it to be tight in the first and third game. Look to go for the unders especially if it’s around 8.5.
Big bats to lead the story
Minnesota Twins – New York Yankees
2019 Head-to-head record: 6 games played – one 3-game series both in Minneapolis and New York, Yankees lead 4-2 (.667) winning 2-1 in both series with 43 runs scored vs 38 runs against.
One to look out for: The batting
2018 Yankees broke the Home Run record in a season. The 2019 Twins broke that. These are two teams that pride themselves on batting hard or going home with the likes of New York’s DJ Mahieu (.375 OBP, .518 SLG, .893 OPS) and the Twins’ Nelson Cruz (.392 OBP, .639 SLG, 1.031). Both teams are the top of the batting stats for the regular season and you can only see it continuing. Make sure to back the overs throughout the series.
By Jasmine Baba