Thursday MLB Wild Card Betting Preview


Two and you’re through.
Or something like that.
A couple of teams have made quick work of their first-round opponents in the best 2-of-3 pandemic playoffs.
The Yankees and Rays will face each other unfortunately in the traditional best-of-7 ALDS. The Astros stunned the playoff win-thirsty Twins to adance. One more will join them on Thursday.
The National League could see all or none of its four opening-round series end tonight.
REDS at BRAVES (-130, 7.5) – Early betting shows a public lean to the Braves with Anderson on the money line, but more than seven of every 10 run line tickets were coming in on Cincinnati.
Not much from the sharps on the side early on, but a significant move to the Under seems pretty solid with the decent pitching matchup considering how pressed the offenses were in the opener, going a record number of scoreless innings.
The matchup for Anderson seems pretty strong actually against this Reds lineup, while Castillo’s matchup really doesn’t suit that great in our eyes here despite the fact that he has been one of the game’s best hurlers this season.
The Braves have pounded Castillo a couple of times now in the head-to-head matchup.
If it ends up another low-scoring game, the Braves bullpen could win out once again.
MARLINS at CUBS (-180, NL) – The total came on the low side on Wednesday and so did the result as the Marlins stunned the Cubs behind Alcantara and homers from Dickerson and Aguilar.
But now they have to face Yu Darvish and bring their rising star Sixto Sanchez to the duel. 
The Marlins still have no business being in this game, considering their woeful bullpen and surely playoff-worst offense.
But bettors know how they’ve been rewarded by this team this season. The Marlins are up over 11 units for their backers, going a reasonable 22-25 as an underdog this season.
On paper, you could argue that the Cubs – with Darvish – should be a two-dollar favorite or higher, even though the Cubs haven’t hit that well this season. Darvish has held the Marlin lineup just an average in the low .200s in head-to-head matchups.
But at this point, it may just take a few breaks if Sanchez continues to prove his future stardom.
The winds will be blowing from left-to-right tonight at Wrigley, opening up at about 12 mph.
Money line tickets were relatively split in early betting.
WHITE SOX at ATHLETICS (NL) – Both teams will be throwing all the arms they have left to try to get the last spot in the ALDS.
Both teams were non-committal of a starter overnight but it shouldn’t matter. I think most will agree that the A’s pitching should be slightly stronger as a staff here in this game but the Chicago bats figure to have the edge over Oakland.
Figure the A’s to use a flurry of right-handers, including possible starter Fiers, as the White Sox have been stellar against left-handed pitching. 
The White Sox could come with Dunning followed by the likes of Cordero and Foster, or even recent first-rounder Crochet. Talk about wild.
These two teams had played to five-straight Unders against one another, until Wednesday’s 5-3 A’s win, which topped the 7 1/2 total.
Oakland really has dominated this series at home and has faired well as a favorite going 33-17, while the ChiSox are just 7-17 as an underdog.
CARDINALS at PADRES (-155, 8.5o20) – The Padres are getting favoritism once again despite the Cards’ win in the opener. St. Louis owns a 10-1 all-time record over San Diego in the postseason.
Maybe the Padres would like to reconsider starting Paddack in Game 1, or maybe not. They need Davies here to be as good as he has been all season. Richards could be standing by should they get to Game 3.
The Padres would seem to hold advantages in this game in starting pitching, bullpen, and offense. But, they’ll have to overcome those self-doubts going up against a near-perennial postseason contender.
The sharps seemed to make an early move on the Over in this game, while the public had a slight early lean to the Over, as well.
Nearly two-thirds of the overnight money line tickets were coming in on St. Louis, while the Padres were taking a slight edge in run line bets.
BREWERS at DODGERS (NL) – The Dodgers won the late finish on Wednesday night, 4-2, and comeback with Clayton Kershaw in Game 2.
No, not that Clayton Kershaw, who won’t even be the better pitcher – at least this season – on the mound Thursday night.
Still, Kershaw figures to bring his playoff intensity along with his still strongly-better-than-average craftsmanship.
The Brewers’ Woodruff has been good this season but has been touched up by this lineup before. Kershaw hasn’t been too stellar against the Milwaukee bats either. His reverse split against Yelich (9-for-18, 2 HRs) has to be considered more than a coincidence.
Still, the Dodger bats seem to be far the better offense but you figure to be laying still a pretty steep price by morning.
The L.A. bullpen could figure to make the difference here again. Milwaukee has done a nice job of the ‘pen this year, as well, but not as strong as the Dodger ‘pen has been.
Prior to the opener, the last matchup between these two teams featured this starting pitcher matchup, won by the Brewers, 6-5, in Milwaukee, as the teams combined for 23 strikeouts by the end of the game.
Six of the last seven meetings between the two teams have gone Under, with that game being the lone Over.

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