Allow me to set the scene. The over/under was 7.5. The Dodgers lead the Rays, 6-1 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in Game 3. Randy Arozarena steps into the box to face Kenley Jansen. The beautiful thing about betting on sports is no one else in the world would care about this plate appearance except anyone who has action on either the under (please just get this out, Kenley!) or the over (hit a home run, Randy!).
The over wins. We took the over and the Dodgers to win by at least 1.5, so we went 2-0, running our record to 5-1 in the World Series and 23-16 in the playoffs.
Earlier this postseason I preached sticking to what works and that's what we're going to do in best bets today. You'll see.
World Series Game 4
Tampa Bay +157
L.A. Dodgers -172 (-1.5)
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
Dodgers to win
In the Game 3 installment of this series, I discussed betting on the 1.5 run line because most games are not decided by one run and that there's no reason to force betting on an underdog you don't believe in. The Dodgers are the best team in baseball and they keep showing us. Why would we fool ourselves into thinking something otherwise just because we see a giant +157 on the money line for the inferior team? Again, I don't see "value" in taking a team I think is going to lose. I've nailed all three winners so far this series and it's precisely because I don't get blinded by odds. Take the better team.
If we want specifics behind the pick, Julio Urias starts for the Dodgers and he's been nearly untouchable for a bit. So far in the playoffs, he's pitched to a 0.56 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 16 innings. In his last three regular-season starts, he allowed just four earned runs in 17 2/3 innings. Basically, he's been putting opposing offenses on total lockdown since Sept. 6. The Rays are unfamiliar with him, too. I expect very few Rays runs through at least six innings here.
Meantime, Ryan Yarbrough starts for the Rays. He threw 19 pitches in Game 1 and this shapes up as a bullpen game. I'm trusting the Dodgers' offense here more than I'm trusting a group of relievers to have every single guy be "on."
The only non-bonus pick I've missed this series is when I bet the under in Game 1. I learned my lesson. This is, again, an awfully low over/under considering how good the Dodgers offense is and how capable the Rays are of running into important home runs. I fully realize the Game 3 score (6-2) would've been a push here, but hey, pushing ain't losing. It'll be close and I'm less enthused about this pick than the Dodgers winning by at least two, but we're sticking with the over. Dodgers win, 7-3.
Bonus: Muncy homers in Dodgers win
We hit Game 1 with Mookie Betts, but whiffed on the next two games. It's funny that before I would never have batted an eye, but now that I'm doing these picks columns, here's the way things go at this point in the Snyder household.
- Justin Turner hits a home run in the first inning.
- *I scowl*
- (in my head): Why the *&!#$* didn't I pick Turner to homer?"
- *Pounds fist on the table*
- "What's wrong? Did you pick the Rays?" my wife asks.
Yep, that's been the 2020 playoffs for me!
I'll go with Max Muncy as the "odds boost" on William Hill. We can get him at +400 there, but it's attached to the Dodgers winning (he's +200 if you just want the Muncy homer). I think the Dodgers are going to win, so I'm going with Muncy to park one. He hasn't hit a long ball since Oct. 14 in NLCS Game 3 (his grand slam in the historic first inning). Since joining the Dodgers, Muncy has 90 home runs in 372 games in the regular season and playoffs combined. That's a home run for every 4.13 games. He's gone seven games without one at this point. As we like to say in this business, he's due.