The MLB playoffs pick back up on Monday, with the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers getting things going at 4:00 pm and two more games scheduled to follow. It’s been a weird MLB playoff run to this point, as we had insane wild card games, some games get PPD and even saw the Toronto Blue Jays sweep the Texas Rangers.
Texas is waiting in the next round and we could all be there before you know it, as the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs both lead their series, 2-0. The Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants will both look to stave off the brooms tonight, while the Nats and Dodgers (tied, 1-1) look to gain an edge in the only 2016 MLB playoff series to be truly contested.
Let’s break down all three of tonight’s MLB playoff games and see where your bets should lie:
Nationals (+128) @ Dodgers (-138)
The Nats head to L.A. looking to take a 2-1 series lead tonight. Gio Gonzalez (11-11, 4.57 ERA) destroyed the Dodgers (6 Ks, 1 earned run) the only time he faced them earlier this year, and he’ll toe the rubber for a Nationals team that will look to get their offense cooking on the road.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 10, 2016
That could be easier said than done, as the Dodgers push reliable pitcher Kenta Maeda onto the mound, where he’s gone a solid 7-5 at home on the year. Maeda hasn’t been able to notch a win in either of his last two starts, but perfect in his last four home starts.
Both teams have exchanged solid offense in a split series, but with the series shifting into L.A., it looks like the Dodgers are the friendly favorite. This game (nor any of tonight’s MLB playoff games) offer much wiggle room for MLB betting, but Los Angeles is a solid pick after going a dominant 53-28 at home in 2016.
The big kicker here could be Gonzalez, who is certainly a gifted arm, but also a highly volatile one. Gio specifically had some issues on the road in 2016, going just 4-6 while sporting a worse ERA (4.69) than at home. With both offenses capable of putting up runs, Maeda being successful at home and Gio having some struggles on the road, we’ll take the Dodgers to take the lead and march into a huge game four at home.
Pick: Dodgers 6, Nationals 3
Indians (+139) @ Red Sox (-154)
Boston looked like a legit World Series contender for much of 2016, but that hasn’t really been the case through two games against the Indians. They lost a back and forth game one they probably shouldn’t have, and then couldn’t figure out Corey Kluber. Tonight they should be able to get the sticks going again Josh Tomlin, but there has to be serious concern about Clay Buchholz holding up his end up the bargain.
The Red Sox do tend to be a different team at Fenway Park, but they actually only won one more game at home than they did on the road this year. There is the narrative of David Ortiz’s final ride not yet coming to an end, but the reality is Boston’s defense hasn’t been there and they’re facing a 3-0 sweep tonight.
— theScore (@theScore) October 10, 2016
The saving grace may be Cleveland’s pedestrian 41-39 record on the road this year and the fact that the Red Sox fans could give Boston a massive boost in this one. Buchholz wasn’t good overall in 2016, but Boston fans can at least hang their hat on his late play, where he earned three wins and looked better than usual in his last five starts.
The story isn’t really about Buchholz, however. it’s about Boston showing up in a must-win situation in front of their home crowd and bringing Tomlin down to Buchholz’s level. Given how powerful Boston can be and how favorable this matchup is for them, we tend to ride with them to keep this series alive. While that may end up being the case, the Indians are the better bet here tonight, and quite possibly the best bet of this entire slate.
Pick: Red Sox 7, Indians 5
Cubs (-105) @ Giants (-105)
The last game of the night is a potential pitcher’s duel, with Cubs ace Jake Arrieta trying to shove Chicago into the next round with a 3- sweep and Giants hurler Madison Bumgarner trying to keep his team alive at home. Logic naturally supports the man known as MadBum, as he’s been a total monster in his MLB playoff career and happens to be a staggering 9-4 at his home base (2.14 ERA) in 2016.
Bumgarner has also owned the Cubs (2-0) this year, while managing to nab a win or no decision in each of his last 10 starts.
— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) October 10, 2016
As great as Bumgarner has been and likely will continue to be tonight, there is still the fear that Arietta will match him and a superior Cubs offense will do just enough to squeak out a third straight win. Chicago owned the best record in all of baseball (103-58) for a reason and so far in this series they’ve played elite defense and haven’t even needed their potent offense to get them out of a jam.
While that could turn tonight, the advantage goes to the Giants, who still have the strong narrative of being in three of the last seven World Series. If they’re to make it four in the last eight, they’ll need their top arm to come up big tonight and extend the series. With this game being a total MLB betting toss-up, we’ll side with Bumgarner to get them into game four.
Pick: Giants 2, Cubs 1