What are your best bets for the first round of the MLB playoffs? How can you best take advantage of betting lines and cash bets? Let’s take a closer look!
Cleveland Guardians (92-70) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (86-76)
Game 1: 10/7/2022: 12:07pm CST.
Shane McClanahan (LHP) vs. Shane Bieber (RHP)
Game 2: 10/8/2022: 12:07pm CST.
Tyler Glasnow (RHP) vs. Triston McKenzie (RHP)
Game 3 (if necessary): 10/9/2022: 4:07pm CST.
TBD vs. Cal Quantrill (RHP)
Series Betting Odds: Guardians (-120) vs. Rays (+100)
The Major League Baseball Playoffs kick off with this series between the AL Central winning Guardians versus the Wild Card Rays. Both teams will be sending their pitching aces to the mound in game one but after that, it is a bit up in the air. Let’s see how they match up.
The Rays’ starting pitchers over the entire season have the league’s third-best starting pitching ERA with a 3.45. For the Guardians their starters were in the top ten in the league with a 3.73 ERA. The Rays have the slight edge here in season-long statistics but over the past month (which may matter most in the playoffs) the Guardians have the third-best starter ERA with a 2.69 while the Rays are sitting at 23rd in baseball with a 4.50 ERA.
Backing up their starting pitchers out of the bullpen are two top relieving units in the league. The Guardians over the length of the season rank fifth in baseball with a 3.05 ERA and the Rays are seventh in the league with a 3.36 ERA. Over the past month though just as their starting pitchers declined, the Rays’ bullpen dropped to 17th overall with an ERA of 3.67. The Guardians stayed consistent with the sixth-best bullpen ERA over the past 30 days with a 2.82 ERA.
On the other side of the diamond on offense, neither team is as formidable as they are on the mound. On the season the Guardians are 18th in the league in terms of team wOBA with a .306 average. The Rays are sitting at 23rd in baseball with a .302 wOBA. Their past month’s statistics match up with how the season ended for each team.
The Guardians fought back and climbed up their division standings to take the division from the Twins and White Sox. Over the past month, the Guardians’ offense was 9th in baseball with a .322 wOBA. While the Rays who were challenging the Yankees for the division fell off toward the end of the season. They are sitting at 25th in baseball offensively with a .289 team wOBA over the past month.
The Guardians’ odds to win this series started as the underdog and have slowly crept up to being the slim favorite. It appears the Guardians at this point have the better bullpen, the better offense, and a starting pitching staff that can keep up with the Rays’. Take the Guardians to win this series and move on to the next round.
St. Louis Cardinals (93-69) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (87-75)
Game 1: 10/7/2022: 1:07pm CST.
Zack Wheeler (RHP) vs. Jose Quintana (LHP)
Game 2: 10/8/2022: 7:37pm CST.
Aaron Nola (RHP) vs. Miles Mikolas (RHP)
Game 3 (if necessary): 10/9/2022: 7:37pm CST.
Ranger Suarez (LHP) vs. Adam Wainwright (RHP) OR Jordan Montgomery (LHP)
Series Betting Odds: Cardinals (-135) vs. Phillies (+110).
In a rematch from the last time these Phillies were in the playoffs in 2011, they will face off against the NL Central Champion St. Louis Cardinals to kick off their playoff run. They will be looking to get revenge over a devastating series loss that derailed their championship hopes for a decade. Can they do it? Let’s dive in.
The Phillies’ largest advantage in this series may be in the starting pitching matchups. On the season the Phillies starting pitchers rank 14th in baseball with a starting ERA of 3.80. On the other side of the matchup, the Cardinals are just a few spots back in 16th place with an ERA of 3.92. Philadelphia has a slight matchup advantage in the past month as well in their starting pitchers as they are 13th in baseball with a 3.88 ERA over the past month while the Cardinals starters are below league average at 18th place with a 4.29 ERA.
The other half of the pitching staffs on these sides have had their ups and downs throughout the season and might be each side’s weakest points. Out of the bullpen, the Phillies rank just 23rd on the season in the league with a 4.27 ERA, while the Cardinals are 11th with a 3.61 team reliever ERA. The past month has been very similar for each side as the Phillies bullpen over that timeframe is the 27th best in the league with a 5.00 ERA. The Cardinals are ninth in the past 30 days with a 3.28 ERA.
The offense on each side of this matchup may just be each team’s strongest attribute as each team has a top-eight offense in all of baseball on the year. The Cardinals rank fifth in baseball with a .326 season-long wOBA while the Phillies are eighth with a comparable .322 wOBA. The past month’s offensive stats for each side tells a story of how their seasons ended. The Phillies have had to fight to keep their playoff spot until the last series of the season, and they are still at the eighth-best offense with a .322 wOBA in that timeframe. The Cardinals, though, are down to 19th in the past month at a .301 wOBA as they had their division and playoff appearance locked up a few weeks before the end of the year.
This may end up being the tightest matchup of the first round of the playoffs as both sides are very evenly matched. The Phillies won both series these teams played against each other this season. With evenly matched-up starting pitchers and offenses, each game of this series could come down to the bullpens where the Cardinals have the advantage. Take the short favorite Cardinals to advance in this series.
Seattle Mariners (90-72) vs Toronto Blue Jays (86-76)
Game 1: 10/7/2022: 3:07pm CST.
Luis Castillo (RHP) vs. Alek Manoah (RHP)
Game 2: 10/8/2022: 3:07pm CST.
Robbie Ray (LHP) vs. Kevin Gausman (RHP)
Game 3 (if necessary): 10/9/2022: 1:07pm CST.
Logan Gilbert (RHP) OR George Kirby (RHP) vs. Ross Stripling (RHP)
Series Betting Odds: Mariners (+140) vs. Blue Jays (-160).
This series features two teams who took somewhat opposite paths to the playoffs this year. The Blue Jays, determined to take down the mighty Yankees, played the free agency game, signing all the top players they could over the past few years. While the Mariners primarily grew their team from the inside out by developing their starting lineup in their own minor league system. Both strategies have paid off in the past, let’s see who has the better chance to move forward this time.
Both teams have paid high dollars for their starting pitchers this year. This paid off mostly for the Mariners as they have the 11th-best starting pitcher ERA on the season with a 3.75 ERA. The Blue Jays have big-name starters on their roster but over the length of the season, they are just 18th in the league in ERA with a 3.98. Over the past month though the Blue Jays’ starters have improved as they have a 3.85 ERA, good for 12th in the league. The Mariners over the past 30 days are just 20th in baseball with a 4.45 ERA.
Backing up those middling starting pitchers for each side are two bullpens that have had their ups and downs on the year. The Mariners’ bullpen is one of their biggest strengths as a team as they have the sixth best bullpen ERA on the year with a 3.33.
Over the past month, they have stayed consistent with a 3.55 ERA, good for 12th best in baseball. For the Blue Jays, they have been in the middle of the pack all year with their bullpen as they had a 3.77 ERA, good for 13th in the league. In the past month though they have faltered just a bit as they had a 4.13 ERA, 19th best in baseball, as they fought for their playoff spot.
While the Mariners may have the pitching advantage in this series over the Jays, the offense is where Toronto thrives. On the season they have the second-best offense, only behind the Dodgers, with a .331 team wOBA. In the past month, they have been on fire as well with a .346 wOBA also good for second in all of baseball. The Mariners’ offense isn’t anything to scoff at though as in this past month they are sixth in the league with a .324 team wOBA. Overall, on the season though they were middle of the pack offensively with the 14th-best wOBA of .311.
This matchup could very well come down to the bullpens, just like the last matchup. Neither of the top-three starters on either side has allowed more than two earned runs against this matchup. The offenses are both hitting very well right now. The bullpens have the biggest discrepancy between the two teams with the advantage going to the Mariners. Take the value in this tight matchup with the Mariners moving on to the next round as the -160 price for the Jays is too big of a price for evenly-matched teams.
New York Mets (101-61) vs San Diego Padres (89-73)
Game 1: 10/7/2022: 7:07pm CST.
Yu Darvish (RHP) vs. Max Scherzer (RHP)
Game 2: 10/8/2022: 6:37pm CST.
Joe Musgrove (RHP) vs. Jacob deGrom (RHP)
Game 3 (if necessary): 10/9/2022: 6:37pm CST.
Blake Snell (LHP) vs. Chris Bassitt (RHP) OR Taijuan Walker (RHP)
Series Betting Odds: Mets (-175) vs. Padres (+155).
The Mighty Mets who are angry about having to play in this series after losing the division on the last series of the year will be taking on the Padres who have underperformed all year. The Padres won both series versus the Mets this year and each was before the Padres landed superstar slugger Juan Soto. Will that make a big difference in this series against the angry Mets? Let’s dive in.
The Mets may have made the biggest splash in the offseason with a starting pitcher acquisition of Max Scherzer, which is why their starting pitching numbers are towards the top of all statistics. On the year the Mets have the fifth-best starting pitcher ERA with 3.61 ERA. The Padres have spent their fair share of money on starting pitchers, but they rank 13th with a 3.80 ERA on the season. Over the past month though the roles have flipped as the Padres have the seventh-best ERA with a 3.28 ERA and the Mets are at 17th best with a 4.25 ERA.
Backing up all of these starting pitchers out of the bullpen are two very comparable reliving units. On the season the Mets have the tenth-best bullpen with a 3.55 ERA and the Padres are 14th with a 3.83 ERA. They have remained consistent over the past month as well as the Mets are still slightly better at eighth in baseball with a 3.20 ERA and the Padres at 13th with a 3.57 ERA. These teams seem to be evenly matched here with the slight edge going to the Mets.
Offensively the Padres have spent the past few years shoring up their starting lineup by signing big named players to long-term deals. Unfortunately, though on the season they rank just 15th in baseball offensively with those pieces as they have a .308 wOBA. The Mets though are sixth in the league with a .326 team wOBA. In the past month though the Mets’ offense has been even better as they are the best offense in baseball in that timeframe with a .350 team wOBA, while the Padres rank just 13th with a .309 wOBA.
The Mets have the advantage across the board in this matchup and unfortunately for the Padres are coming out of the gates hot after being embarrassed at the end of the season by the now division-winning Atlanta Braves. Take the Mets to come out with something to prove and take down the Padres in the first round.
Wild Card Playoff Round Best Bests
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