MLB playoffs betting odds, picks: Why the Reds are the go-to underdog on a jam-packed postseason day

What a glorious Wednesday this is. 

Wait, what? When in the history of humanity have we ever said that, right? Here’s the thing, though: There are eight Major League Baseball playoff games on Wednesday, Sept. 29. For the gambling folk out there, let’s grab some best bets from the day, courtesy of the odds from William Hill Sportsbook. 

NL Wild Card Game 1


Atlanta (-1.5)

12 p.m.



AL Wild Card Game 2 


Minnesota (-1.5)

1 p.m.



NL Wild Card Game 1  


Chi. Cubs (-1.5)

2 p.m.



AL Wild Card Game 2 

Chi. White Sox

Oakland (-1.5)

3 p.m.



AL Wild Card Game 2 


Tampa Bay (-1.5)

4 p.m.



NL Wild Card Game 1  

St. Louis

San Diego (-1.5)

5 p.m.



AL Wild Card Game 2 

N.Y. Yankees (-1.5)


7 p.m.



NL Wild Card Game 1  


L.A. Dodgers (-1.5)

10 p.m.



All lines via William Hill Sportsbook

I love the money line here putting the Reds as the underdog. I picked the Reds coming into the series and seeing the Braves favored in Game 1 makes this all the juicier for me. 

Offensively, the Reds rate out pretty well below average in nearly every category, but they have gotten things going here in the final two weeks of the season. The Reds finished winning 11 of their last 14. Their team OPS improved by nearly 50 points during the hot streak and they are sending possible NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer to the hill. 

Now, let’s be clear: The Braves have the best offense in the National League and the Central teams don’t have very strong offenses. It’s entirely possible Bauer gets knocked around the yard in Atlanta, but I think his stuff is on another level this season and that carries the day. 

Bauer’s counterpart, lefty Max Fried (7-0, 2.25 ERA) gave up two homers against six batters faced in his final tuneup for the playoffs, but he is a formidable opponent and the Reds don’t hit lefties well. 

I think it’s going to be a close game and the Braves being the favorites is absolutely justified, but I like the Reds in this series and it’s gotta start in Game 1. They’re the pick. 

Here’s my pick for the fastest game of the day. The Cubs are starting Kyle Hendricks, who has a career 2.98 ERA in 51 1/3 postseason innings. He started Game 6 of the NLCS and Game 7 of the World Series in 2016 and was brilliant in both clinchers. He’ll step up against a Marlins team that ranked 11th in the NL in runs scored. 

Likewise, the Cubs’ offense has been struggling for nearly the entire season, save for a few big games during their hot start. They did seem to wake up last weekend against the White Sox, but it’s hard to trust three games so many more games of what we saw for two months. On the season, the Cubs hit .220/.318/.387 and piled up a huge number of strikeouts (only two NL teams struck out more often).

Now, it’s possible the wind will be blowing out quite strongly, in which case this is a tenuous bet, but bear in mind that both Kyle Hendricks (47.1 percent) and Sandy Alcantara (49.1 percent) are among the most prolific ground-ball pitchers in the game. 

Yankees at Cleveland, over 8.0 runs

The Yankees just got done absolutely eviscerating Cy Young winner (it hasn’t been awarded yet, but he will win it) Shane Bieber in his home ballpark, where he’s dominated all year. The Bronx Bombers bats are officially awake and I think we’re set to see them mash for a deep playoff run. They face off against Carlos Carrasco, who has good numbers, but look at the competition. Here are the opponents Carrasco has faced this year, along with their rank in wRC+, MLB-wide: 

The Yankees ranked fourth, by the way, and they dealt with injuries to their big guns for stretches and all of those guys are set to be in the lineup on Wednesday. 

The Yankees are starting Masahiro Tanaka and while he’s a quality pitcher, we aren’t in danger of seeing him throw a shutout or anything, so the Tribe will help with at least a few runs here. I love this over. 

Longshot bonus: Cardinals get shut out, +675

The Cardinals were shutout five times this season, which is a touch over 10 percent of the times they played. They scored exactly one run eight times. They can be stymied. Petco Park, though not as extreme as it once was, is still a pitcher-friendly park, checking in at 23rd out of 30 in park factor for runs scored this season. 

For the Padres, Chris Paddack gets the ball. He’s been incredibly inconsistent this season and hasn’t pitched in weeks, but he is an absolute bulldog on the mound. He’s never been one to shy from big moments and I’m betting on him stepping up in this one. 

Further, manager Jayce Tingler is fully aware this is the biggest game in San Diego baseball in a long, long time. He’ll be aggressive in taking no chances in order to get the win, which means even if it’s a four- or five-run lead, we’re going to see the big guns at the back-end of the bullpen, the likes of Trevor Rosenthal (who has a 0.00 ERA since being acquired) and Drew Pomeranz

To be clear, I don’t think the Cardinals are going to get shut out. I do think there’s a decent enough chance that a gambler who likes the +675 line should go for it. It’s called “gambling” for a reason, after all. 

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