The wild 2016 MLB playoffs continue on Tuesday night, with two games on the schedule. The Washington Nationals prepare for their second go around in Los Angeles, after rocking the Dodgers en route to a 2-1 series lead. The San Francisco Giants, meanwhile, used some late heroics to prevent a 3-0 sweep by the hands of the Chicago Cubs.

Both the Nats and Cubs can seal the deal tonight with a win, giving us a potentially epic showdown between the two teams. The Giants and Dodgers will look to represent the NL West in the best way possible, however, and if they can nab wins we’ll get two intense 2-2 series with one rubber match to come.

Let’s take a look at tonight’s MLB playoff matchups and see which way you should lean when it comes to MLB betting:

Washington Nationals @ Los Angeles Dodgers

Washington poured it on thick last night, mowing down the Dodgers with an emphatic 8-3 win. That was concerning because they went nuts at Dodger Stadium, but also because they did so against one of the Dodger’s best pitchers. It could be much the same on Tuesday night, when L.A. will either start Clayton Kershaw on short rest or ask rookie Julio Urias to keep the team’s season alive in a high pressure situation.

This would not be an awful spot for Urias, as he showed good stuff during his first MLB season and finished the year 3-0 at home. He didn’t give up a single homer at Dodger Stadium in 2016, while posting a respectable 3.05 ERA and giving up just 13 runs in nine total appearances. His efforts against this Nationals squad were mixed, of course, as he didn’t win or lose in two starts, lasting nine innings with three runs allowed. The Dodgers as a whole have an edge here, too, as they were one of the best teams in the league at home (53 wins).

We’re still not sure what to expect on the other side, as veteran arm Joe Ross could get the start, or some speculate the Nats could turn to rookie, Reynaldo Lopez. Either arm could be problematic, as Ross looked strong in his last appearance and fared well against the Dodgers in one meeting this season. Lopez is a little more volatile, as he’s just 2-2 on the road this year and gave up 10 hits in a no decision against the Dodgers earlier in 2016.

On paper, for the second night in a row, the mild bump goes to the Dodgers. They’re at home, they can force a  massive game five and they’d likely have ace Clayton Kershaw to decide their fate for them. Urias doesn’t need to be elite or go deep here, either. He just needs to get by, while getting a little help from a Dodgers offense that has yet to really come to life in these playoffs.

Due to the lack of knowledge with the pitchers in this one, the betting odds aren’t known just yet. That probably makes this a pick’em, and with weak odds all around, we’ll side with the home team to keep this series alive.

Pick: Dodgers 5, Nats 4

Chicago Cubs @ San Francisco Giants

  • Cubs to Win -128
  • Giants to Win +118

The second game of the night could be a little more intense, especially if last night’s crazy extra-inning win by the Giants is any indication.

There’s little denying the Cubs are the superior team, but the Giants have twice now shown up big with their season on the line. Can they keep the hope alive at home tonight long enough to make it to a decisive game five?

Maybe. The good news is they’re not facing Arrieta or Lester here, as instead they get a beatable John Lackey. Lackey certainly is not a pushover (11-8 on the year, 3.35 ERA) but he tends to struggle a bit more on the road (just 4-4). He did work the Giants in his lone meeting with them in 2016, but a road game with the Giants playing for their season is not going to be an envious position for him. San Francisco also doesn’t strikeout a lot, so if they can get some balls in play early, Lackey could tire out and set this one up for another crazy finish.

Of course, that will likely require Matt Moore to keep it together first. That’s a tall order given Chicago’s stacked offense, but it’s worth noting Moore has been strong at home (4-2) and has been amazing in his last two trips to the mound (2-0 with 17 total Ks). If Moore is that same top shelf pitcher we’ve seen lately, he should be able to keep the Giants in this and allow for more heroics late.

Chicago enters as the favorite on the road, but I’m not willing to give up on the Giants just yet. They seem to be living off of miracles right now and they still have everything a title contender needs. If Moore can hold serve and their offense chips in enough late, they can force a game five.

Pick: Giants 3, Cubs 2

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