Greetings sports fans, it's Chris Bengel back in the saddle with you.
The Major League Baseball postseason is officially set after the Braves clinched the National League East division title on Tuesday. It's a fairly open field with quite a few intriguing teams that you could place futures bets on. I, for one, am happy to see the Mariners back in the playoffs for the first time since 2001. It's always fun to see a franchise back in the postseason that hasn't been there in several years. Maybe the Mariners or Guardians upset the apple cart and make a deep run at the World Series this year. Either way, it'll be awesome to watch.
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Let's get to Wednesday's picks.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: Central Florida is 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a ATS loss
- The Pick: UCF -2.5 (-165)
This game had to be rescheduled twice due to Hurricane Ian hitting the state of Florida. Now it's finally being played, so we get some Wednesday night football, which certainly isn't the worst thing -- especially with no MLB night games.
It's likely going to be a game that comes down to the wire, but I'm riding on the Central Florida side of a very small spread. The main storyline here is that safety Isaiah Nwokobia, defensive back Chace Cromartie and wide receivers Roderick Daniels Jr. and Jayleen Record are . It's hard not to like the Knights in this spot. It also doesn't hurt that SMU has dropped back-to-back games to Maryland and TCU that have been decided in the fourth quarter.
When it comes to Central Florida, John Rhys Plumlee -- a former Ole Miss signal caller -- is getting it done both on the ground and through the air. Plumlee is averaging 5.9 yards-per-carry and currently leads the Knights in rushing with 404 yards on the ground. Through four games, the Central Florida defense has only yielded 48 total points, which is part of the reason that they've raced out to a 3-1 start. The Knights are allowing just 169.8 yards-per-game through the air, which is good for third in the AAC. Consider how SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai likes to spread it around, the defense is going to need to continue to be on their toes in this one.
💰 MLB picks
Royals at Guardians, 4:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Over 7.5 (-115): -- With Wednesday being the final day of the regular season, it seems only fitting that I'd ride with a team that has won us a significant amount of bets throughout the year in the Guardians. While I don't mind the moneyline, there's better value in the over.
The over is 6-0 in the Royals' last six contests and 5-0 in the Guardians' last five games. That's hard to argue with. Royals starter Jonathan Heasley owns a 4-9 record to go along with a 5.00 ERA and has surrendered at least four runs in two of his last four starts. In addition, the right-hander is fresh off of an outing in which he allowed four earned runs on six hits and struck out just one batter in just 4 2/3 innings against the Tigers. It also doesn't hurt the Royals have the third-worst bullpen ERA (4.64) in all of baseball, so even if Heasley doesn't get lit up, runs are still very much in play.
Meanwhile, Guardians starting pitcher Aaron Civale has a 5.04 ERA on the season and did allow a pair of home runs in his last start, which ironically came against the Royals. Civale also owns a 3.92 while pitching at home this season, so the potential for runs on both sides is a very large possibility.
Key Trend: The over is 6-0 in the Royals' last six games
Angels at Athletics, 4 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Shohei Ohtani Over 6.5 Strikeouts (-164): -- It's truly remarkable watching Shohei Ohtani. He has produced another exceptional season on the mound, so we'll ride with his strikeout prop to cap off the regular season.
The Angels ace has recorded at least seven strikeouts in each of his last four starts in addition to five of his last six. In his three starts against the Athletics this season, Ohtani has racked up at least seven strikeouts in two of those outings, including a 10-strikeout performance against the A's in his most recent start on Sept. 29. Ohtani has also been victorious in each of his last four starts, so he's clearly been throwing the ball extremely well. The A's rank 14th in the majors in terms of strikeouts, so the opportunity for swing-and-misses is certainly going to be present in this one.
Key Trend: Ohtani has registered at least seven strikeouts in five of his last six starts