The Major League Baseball divisional series begins on Thursday with the Colorado Rockies at the Milwaukee Brewers. The Los Angeles Dodgers are hosting the Atlanta Braves in the second game.
On Friday there are four games as the Rockies and Brewers, as well as the Dodgers and Braves play Game 2. The New York Yankees will be at Boston for Game 1, and Houston hosts Cleveland in their first game.
The four divisional series offer some interesting straight bets, as well as propositional wagers. We take a look at five of the ones that could be beneficial to gamblers.
NLDS Game 1 Atlanta (+165) at Los Angeles (-175)
The sharps jumped all over this line as soon as it was announced that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw wasn’t starting the opener of the National League Divisional series. The line opened at +190 for Atlanta and -215 for Los Angeles, but was quickly bet down.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is getting the nod, and will this be another postseason decision by LA manager Dave Roberts that is second-guessed?
The Braves performed well against left-handed pitching, ranking fourth in on-base plus slugging (OPS). With Ryu injured for a big chunk of this year, he only logged 82 innings. Atlanta might be able to take advantage of Ryu and get a much needed road victory.
Take Atlanta at +165.
NLDS Winner Colorado +140 or Milwaukee -160
Both teams come into the playoffs on hot streaks. The Rockies were 19-9 in September, including winning their last nine of 10 games of the season. The Brewers went 19-7 in September, and by winning the NL Central, had the luxury of a day of rest, while Colorado had to play the Cubs in the wildcard game.
Still the Rockies could have the edge. The team hit better at home than on the road, but still managed a 44-38 road record.
The nod with starting pitching definitely goes to Colorado, and that might be the deciding factor. Besides the value for the Rockies is too good to ignore.
Take Colorado at +140
Boston +175 to win AL Pennant
The Red Sox were arguably the best team during the regular season, posting a MLB best record of 108-54.
They have the pitching, hitting and bench to make a run to the World Series, but first have to get past their nemesis, the New York Yankees. If the do that, the road gets much easier. They won the regular season series between the two clubs, 10-9. It will be difficult, but Boston will get past New York, and then defeat the winner of Houston or Cleveland.
Take Boston at +175.
Total bases Nolan Arenado +110 or Christian Yelich -130
Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich is a big reason the Brewers are in the playoffs, and is the even money favorite to win the NL MVP award. He has put up great numbers, including a league-leading .326 batting average and 34 home runs.
Colorado’s Arenado, though has been just as effective, and one could argue he was more valuable to his team than Yelich. Arenado led the NL with 38 homers, and had a batting average of .297.
Yelich is the player most teams would take over Arenado, but this is the first playoff appearance for Yelich, and he could suffer some nerves.
Take Arenado at +110.
First Five Innings Cleveland +125 or Houston -140
Justin Verlander will get the start for Houston, and has been billed as a stud in the playoffs. Only problem is he has struggled against Cleveland. He didn’t face them this year, but last year with Detroit he got shelled in his four starts.
The right-hander gave up 19 earned runs in 30 innings, including five home runs. In two games he didn’t last more than four innings.
He might not get chased by Cleveland, but they should score against him. Conversely Corey Kluber has dominated Houston this season in two starts. He posted a 1.35 ERA in 13.1 innings, allowing 13 hits.
Take Cleveland at +125.