The 2023 Major League Baseball playoffs begin Tuesday afternoon and we've got four games on tap here in the Wild Card Series. Each is a best-of-three series, so grabbing Game 1 is urgent. Three of the four series were sweeps last season. In addition to our extensive coverage of the postseason, I'll also be throwing out some gambling plays on a daily basis throughout the postseason.
The Rays were 53-28 at home this season while the Rangers went 40-41 on the road. Speaking of home/road splits ...
The play: Yandy Díaz o1.5 H+R+RBI (-155)
Díaz won the AL batting title this season and hit a ridiculous .363 at home. He hit .355 against lefties with a .432 on-base percentage and .669 slugging. He's likely to hit leadoff and if he gets on base -- which we're expecting here -- the odds are pretty good he finds a way to score at least one run. There's juice on this one, but it'll be worth the squeeze. Yandy leads the Rays in this one.
Starting pitchers: Kevin Gausman (12-9, 3.16) vs. Pablo López (11-8, 3.66)
So much focus on this game will revolve around the Twins' 18-game playoff losing streak that extends all the way back to 2004. Prepare to see several graphics about it on the broadcast and that's just how things are going to be until they break it.
The play: Bo Bichette over 1.5 H+R+RBI (-135)
Bichette's a hit machine. He led the AL in hits in 2021 and 2022. This season, he only played in 135 games and still recorded 175 hits to finish fourth in the league. He hit .325 on the road this season compared to .287 at home, so the road game here helps.
He'll be in a prime run and/or RBI spot in the order, too. Oh, and earlier this season, Bichette faced López in Minnesota, going 2 for 3 with a triple and home run in the head-to-head matchup.
Diamondbacks (+150) at Brewers (-178), 7:08 p.m. ET
The rookie against the 2021 Cy Young winner in this one. The Brewers head into the playoffs knowing that they lost Brandon Woodruff due to a shoulder injury, but Burnes is fully capable of putting them on top for the series here.
The play: Corbin Carroll o.0.5 R (+120)
Burnes actually had a 4.28 ERA at home as opposed to 2.77 on the road this season. On June 19, the D-backs roughed him up for seven runs in five innings on eight hits. Carroll got on base twice and scored both times that game. He scored 116 runs in 155 games this season. He gathered 30 doubles, 10 triples, 25 homers and stole 54 bases. Unless he's completely kept off the bases in this one, the odds are very good that he'll cross home plate.
A sprinkle (a quarter of your usual bet, if not less): Carroll over 0.5 stolen bases (+185)
Only four teams allowed a higher percentage of successful stolen bases than the Brewers this season, who allowed 121 steals and only caught 23 would-be thieves. Runners were 11 of 13 in steals against Burnes, who doesn't hold runners on well.
If Carroll just gets on base once, we're going to hit these steal and run props.
Starting pitchers: Jesús Luzardo (10-9, 3.63) vs. Zack Wheeler (13-6, 3.61)
The Phillies went 49-32 at home this season and are better built for the postseason than the regular season. The Marlins won the season series, though, seven games to six. The Marlins were a ridiculous 33-13 in one-run games.
The plays: Phillies over 3.5 runs (-140) and Trea Turner over 1.5 H+R+RBI (-130)
The Marlins won both of Luzardo's starts against the Phillies this season, but he wasn't overly dominant or anything (3.65 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) and I don't see it as a trend. Plus, he had a 4.48 ERA on the road this season while being much better in Miami.
Anyway, this 3.5 total is low. The Phillies averaged 5.16 runs per game at home this season. Even if they don't explode -- which they might -- I love the over to hit here.
Turner hit .339 with a .677 slugging percentage in his last 47 games. In that stretch, he had 64 hits, 42 runs and 41 RBI, meaning he averaged 3.13 H+R+RBI over the course of nearly two months. We just need to get to two here in a game where he'll be in the two hole for what I expect to be a strong offensive game for the team.