Prior to the 2020 season, the best playoff baseball day of the year was only guaranteed to happen on the first Friday of October. We got four playoff games. If we were lucky, both series in the league played first went to five games while the other league ran theirs to at least four games in the divisional round and there were two days with four playoff games. This season? We've already had an eight-game day and Wednesday will mark the third day with four games. What better way to keep up with the playoff overload than to keep tracking some good ol' fashioned gambling?
For whatever reason (it's actually just a total coincidence), I've been bad on the first day of each round and great elsewhere. If you took away day one of the AL Wild Card Series and Day 1 of the ALDS, I've gone 7-2. So that definitely means the below picks will be awesome, right?
Regardless, after hitting two of three on Tuesday, the overall record stands at 8-6. Time to stay hot.
NLDS Game 2
ALDS Game 3
ALDS Game 3
N.Y. Yankees (-1.5)
NLDS Game 2
L.A. Dodgers (-1.5)
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
Padres vs. Dodgers: Under 8.5
Much to the chagrin of curmudgeons everywhere, the 2020 version of baseball is as reliant on the home run as the game has ever been. Guess what two teams were most reliant on scoring via the longball in 2020? Ding ding ding! It's the Padres and Dodgers. They are relegated to playing their entire series in what might well be the most power-crushing venue in all of baseball.
We've only had 61 games that count in order to judge, but the new Rangers ballpark (Globe Life Park) was by far the most HR-suppressing park in baseball this season. Anyone see the balls dying Tuesday night? Apologies to A.J. Pollock and Max Muncy at the very least, no?
Further, the Dodgers are sending Clayton Kershaw to the mound and he's been a beast this season. He went 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. He allowed either zero or one run in seven of his 10 starts. He coughed up three runs twice and had basically one bad outing (4 ER on 7 H in 4.1 IP), all the way back on Aug. 8. But the playoffs! Look, the Playoff Kershaw Narrative is misguided without pointing out he's been a mixed bag. There are plenty of failures, but there are also a lot of gems. He just threw one last round (8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K).
Meanwhile, the Padres will do whatever it takes to avoid going down 0-2 in the series, which means a quick hook on the starter and using all the top bullpen arms.
I think I'd have been comfortable going under 6.5 here. At 8.5, I love it.
Rays vs. Yankees: Over 9
I'm surprised the over/unders haven't jumped too much with the Yankees. All four of their playoff games have hit the over while they've scored 12, 10, nine and five runs, respectively, in games started by Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow. They even got four runs off Glasnow, who was utterly filthy.
On the Rays' end, well, they can hit a little bit, too. We saw as much with them scoring three runs off Gerrit Cole in six innings (no easy task) and then seven runs in Game 2.
The starting pitchers are both plenty capable of good outings, but I don't think either inspire confidence if you're looking for a dominant outing. Masahiro Tanaka is good but can be hit, as he was in Game 2 of the ALDS (though the rain delay might've messed with him). The Yankees pitching staff isn't nearly as deep as they would like and it led to bad decision-making in Game 2. Charlie Morton will still miss bats, but he was mostly mediocre in 2020, even after returning from injury.
Plus, the ball is jumping at Petco Park, especially before nightfall when the vaunted marine layer hits. I don't think we see either pitcher get embarrassed or anything, but there will be more than nine runs scored by the time we're done seeing one team secure a 2-1 series lead.
There's a reason the Braves are going off at +210. They are clearly the superior team here and they showed in Game 1 that the Marlins can only scrap so much against a team with such a loaded offense and a deep bullpen. They even got to ace Max Fried and it still didn't work. Also, that 28-0 record when leading after six innings was a bit misleading. They won 10 seven-inning games as part of doubleheaders. The bullpen wasn't fully tested and we saw what happens yesterday when it is forced to get more outs against a team like the Braves. Even if it's close for a bit, don't sweat this one. Braves cruise.
Bonus: Randy Arozarena hits a home run
The bet here depends upon how crazy you want to get. Arozarena just hitting a home run carries +450 odds. In 64 at-bats in the regular season, Arozarena homered seven times. So far in his eight ALDS at-bats, he has homered twice, once in each game. Now, there's plenty of reason to believe that evens out and even more reason to cry "small sample" and deride the hot hand theory, but we're gambling here, people. Players stay hot. Confidence and swagger are real things. The ball is flying out of Petco Park in this series and we know there will be more home runs Wednesday. Why not stick with Giancarlo Stanton (+200, by the way) or Aaron Judge (+175) or Arozarena? Yankees starter Tanaka allowed at least one home run in seven of his last eight starts with two of those games being multi-homer affairs.
Now, if you want an odds boost, it's available. If you wanted to bet on Arozarena hitting a homer and the Rays winning the game, the odds jump to +850. Anyone who feels even relatively strongly the Rays are going to win the game should jump all over this one.
We've gone two for five in bonus picks, thanks to correctly calling Marcell Ozuna and Sean Murphy home runs. I'll gladly hit .400 in these.