The Major League Baseball card is a bit of a throwback combined with the new as the Wild Card round begins on Tuesday.
The throwback part is when the first game gets underway on national network television harkening back to the days of four division winners and many of the league championship series games being contested in the day.
Before cable, a day game on national television was the norm. I would sneak my transistor radio and earbud in my jacket during elementary school to listen to games involving the Yankees, Royals, Reds and Phillies, among others through those pre-teen years.
The opener between the Astros and the Twins with be broadcast on ABC just like many of those games in the 1970’s.
The new is the 16-team, bracket-style playoff format, including a best 2-of-3 opening round.
Not to mention, all the crazy new rules in baseball that we experimented with this season in pursuit of the all-time tough pandemic championship.
While some of these rules will be scratched once we get back to normal, expect some to continue, including expanded playoffs.
Four games take place on Tuesday, then Wednesday’s eight-game day-heavy card is quite a delight but maybe overthought by MLB. Most of the games will start before 5 p.m. eastern.
ASTROS at TWINS (-165, 7.5u15) – Already strong movement on the Twins, up from an opener of -145. Both Greinke and Maeda have had success against the expected opposing lineup.
No doubt the Twins’ bats had the better regular season.
The sharps appeared to be squarely on the Twins and the Under.
I certainly can agree with them on the total. The Twins went 20-36 to the Under during the regular season and the Astros finished the season going Under in nine of their last 13.
I probably can get behind the move on the Twins but to lay .20 cents more than the opener certainly would have me limit my exposure there.
Usually, I would fade such a move during the regular season but Maeda has been very strong, while Greinke has given up three or more earned runs in seven-straight starts.
Also, interested in Twins F5 and Under F5.
The public is all about laying the run-line early and not even considering the money line. In fact, a high majority of the money line cash was coming in on the Astros despite being on only 2 of every 5 ML tickets.
Meanwhile, these types of unpopular road underdogs are usually pretty strong at covering the handicap, and the postseason is often little exception.
Two-thirds of the public bettors were going Over in overnight wagering, but the money was heavy on the Under thanks to those sharps.
There was some widely-reported steam Under 8 both offshore and in Las Vegas but that number was hammered down quickly.
WHITE SOX (-120, 7.5) at ATHLETICS – The White Sox were 14-0 against left-handed starters during the regular season and certainly, the matchup heavily favors the Chicago bats against Luzardo.
Giolito had a very good season, obviously, and his matchup against the Oakland starting bats is good-to-neutral. Olson and Lamb have touched him up a couple of times but he should be able to knock down the righties after he finished with double-digit Ks in his last start.
Oakland reportedly took sharp action on Monday afternoon but there had been little indication of interest by pro bettors in Chicago, interestingly.
Sharps registered a move on the Over early on Tuesday morning.
Oakland was taking a slight majority of the run line tickets in overnight betting, while the White Sox were taking a little more than 3 of every 5 tickets on the money line, although the money itself was relatively split.
The public was also shaded to the Under.
BLUE JAYS at RAYS (-190, 7.5u15) – Not seeing much professional-looking action here, yet, with the Rays laying close to two dollars.
To me, the splits favor the Jays and the Over but I want to wait and see what pro bettors do here. The Jays already enjoyed regular-season success against the top-seeded Rays after years of treating the Trop like a graveyard, .
It should be noted, however, that both starters have enjoyed some pretty good success against the opposing starting lineups.
The big difference comes in the ‘pen as Tampa relievers finished the regular season with the majors’ best WAR.
Snell’s advantage in this game rates much lower than the price in my ratings.
Money line tickets were virtually split in overnight betting but the Blue Jays were taking most of the bigger bets, resulting in a somewhat overwhelming amount of the overnight money on the underdogs. That should change but the action looked somewhat sharp, nonetheless.
The Rays were the heaviest used team in overnight public parlays.
Slightly more than 4 of every 5 public tickets were coming in on the Over, but a matchup like this can profitably run the other way with such a heavy public play on the total if the line moves with the squares.
YANKEES at INDIANS (-105, 6o20) – This total is widely available at 6.5u20, as well, as elite hurlers Cole and Bieber close out the card in the obvious marquee matchup.
Sharps seemed interested in laying that 6 1/2 number, resulting in a move lower at many widely-used shops here and offshore.
Cleveland went 21-35 to the Under this season but the Yankees are getting healthy at the right time.
And Cole has flat out dominated the Indians’ lineup in the past and his splits are pretty superb here, as well.
Bieber’s season needs no explanation and he has fared decently against the expected Yankee lineup. The splits aren’t in his favor, obviously, but Bieber is no ordinary right-hander.
First five Unders are likely in order here, and first five team totals Under, as well.
Getting the Yankees at this price with an elite starter like Cole in a playoff game is a pretty interesting deal.
And although the game was relatively a pick’em, note that the Yankees were widely considered the run line favorite laying the -1 1/2, with the Indians returning around .25 more to cover that handicap.
The Yankees were taking slightly more than two-thirds of the tickets on the money line and an overwhelming amount of the overnight money line dollars.
The public had a slight lean to the Over in early totals tickets.