We’ve got a big day on tap here in Best Bets. Not only will a leader emerge in the best divisional series, but the Astros are looking to close out the Twins while the Dodgers are desperately trying to stay alive against the upstart Diamondbacks. Most importantly, we’re on a heater here.
Going back to Sunday night, I was in danger of falling to 8-7 here in the playoffs version of Best Bets. But then Yordan Alvarez hit a home run, cashing my prop and sending me to 9-6 instead. We’re now on a good run. Thanks to Jose Altuve and the Rangers‘ offense on Tuesday, making for a tidy 2-0 on plays that didn’t even last past the second inning, we’re 13-7.
Hopefully you’ve been following. If not, there’s still time to get aboard this speeding train.
Not a specific play for this game, but instead a future sprinkle: Whoever wins this game wins the World Series. That’s my call.
Boy, the Braves’ bats really were asleep and then woke up with a vengeance late in Game 2, huh? With an offense this powerful, things can turn on a dime. Pay attention to those live lines if you’re into that sort of thing.
The play: Trea Turner over 2.5 H+R+RBI (+120) and Over nine total runs (-111)
It was only a matter of time before the line bumped from 1.5 to 2.5 here. It was a good ride, as we were 4-0 in four Phillies playoff games with Turner on the lower line. It’s a bit tougher to get home on the higher line, but I’m not abandoning ship now. The Braves’ pitching situation is poor heading into Game 3 and Turner hits in the the two-hole, a prime spot in the batting order.
Plus, since Turner got red hot on Aug. 5, he’s compiled, including his four playoff games, 70 hits, 44 runs and 42 RBI in 51 games. That’s an average on this prop of 3.06 per game. Just an average game gets us home.
Also, Elder had a 5.75 ERA in his last 14 starts, a 5.26 ERA in his last 10 and a 9.49 in his last three. He was worse on the road than he was at home, too. I’m expecting the Phillies to score plenty amid their insane atmosphere in Citizens Bank Park.
I’m not isolating the Phillies’ run total, though, because the Braves’ offense is always a decent bet to get us to an over. Aaron Nola has thrown well his last three starts, including one against the Braves, and is much better at home than on the road, so maybe it’ll take until the late innings again. The Braves’ offense is, generally, inevitable, though. Plus, Nola hammers the bottom of the strike zone with fastballs and sinkers and the Braves feast on those pitchers (as noted here by my astute colleague, R.J. Anderson). Ronald Acuña Jr. and Austin Riley, in particular, have worn Nola out in their careers.
Game 4: Astros (+105) at Twins (-125), 7:07 p.m. ET
Starting pitchers: RHP José Urquidy (3-3, 5.29) vs. RHP Joe Ryan (11-10, 4.51)
I’ve made a big deal about the Astros’ shocking home woes in the last several weeks, so it’s only fair to point out they are road warriors. In the regular season, they went 51-30 on the road, closing with a 5-1 stretch against the Mariners and Diamondbacks to steal the AL West from the Rangers. Then they went into Minnesota and obliterated the Twins in Game 3 in front of a rowdy crowd.
The play: Alex Bregman over 1.5 H+R+RBI (+100)
After a slow start, Bregman morphed back into his old self. He hit .290/.394/.507 in the second half. His OPS was nearly 80 points higher on the road, which was a theme with this ballclub. The Astros continued the theme with a nine-run explosion in Game 3 and Bregman went 2 for 5 with a homer, two RBI and a run. Hitting in that second spot is so good for this prop, as he’s between Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for both RBI and runs.
Plus, Bregman is 3 for 6 with a double and home run in his career against Ryan. His last two plate appearances were a home run and single on May 30.
Game 3: Dodgers (-145) at D-backs (+123), 9:07 p.m. ET
In the regular season, the Dodgers were 100-62 while the Diamondbacks were 84-78. In the playoffs? The D-backs are 4-0 while the Dodgers are 0-2 and have to win three straight in order to avoid being bounced in the NLDS yet again (that would make it three of the last five years).
The play: Over 9.5 total runs (-115)
Lynn has allowed 44 home runs this season in 183 2/3 innings. He pitched better after joining the Dodgers, but his rate of allowing home runs actually went up, believe it or not. Even being “better” with the Dodgers, Lynn still posted a 4.36 ERA in 11 starts with a low strikeout rate. With the Diamondbacks coming home (where they hit 19 points in batting average and 49 in OPS better during the regular season), I love this spot for them.
I also think the Dodgers’ offense will wake up. They had to deal with Zac Gallen in the early innings in Game 2 and also failed to get the big hit with so much traffic in the middle and late innings. While it’s slight, the Dodgers actually averaged more runs on the road this season than at home (0.59 runs per game higher on the road).
It’s a tough spot for rookie Diamondbacks starter Pfaadt. The Dodgers saw him once in the regular season and it was at Chase Field, where he gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman have hit him well and Kiké Hernández is 4 for 10 with two doubles and two homers against him.
We’re in for some high-scoring action in the desert.