MLB Betting: Championship Series Preview

MLB Betting: Championship Series Preview

This article is part of our MLB Betting series.

Division Series Results

I went 3-for-3 on my DS picks: Rays +114, Astros +116 and Dodgers -220, all on FanDuel. I recommended staying away from the Braves/Marlins series, as I felt the Braves should have been closer to -160 — the best you could do was -194. 

I also liked Houston +1200 to win the AL, along with Dodgers +350, Rays +700 and Astros +2500 to win the World Series before the playoffs started. 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

6 Astros vs. 1 Rays (at Petco Park)

The only notable recent injury for either team is Oliver Drake (flexor strain) being unavailable out of the Rays' bullpen going forward. I think it's safe to expect Blake Snell, Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow to pitch twice in this series on short rest if necessary and I would expect Zack Greinke to be used on short rest in some capacity in a potential Game 7.

Projected rotations:

Game 1: Lance McCullers vs. Blake Snell (L)

Game 2: Framber Valdez (L) vs. Charlie Morton

Game 3: Zack Greinke vs. Tyler Glasnow

Game 4: Cristian Javier vs. Ryan Yarbrough (L)

Game 5: Jose Urquidy vs. Blake Snell (L)

Game 6: Lance McCullers vs. Charlie Morton

Game 7: Framber Valdez (L) vs. Tyler Glasnow

Road wRC+ vs. RHP: Astros 103, Rays 104

Road wRC+ vs. LHP: Astros 72, Rays 107

The Astros struggled against southpaws on the road during the regular season, but they had no trouble against Jesus Luzardo or Sean Manaea in the ALDS. Even so, the Rays get the edge in Game 1, Game 4 and Game 5, given who the Astros project to start in those three games. Framber Valdez, who is the Astros' secret weapon, will have his hands full against a Rays offense that matches up really well against southpaws. To make matters worse, Houston's ace, Zack Greinke, projects to face Tyler Glasnow in Game 3, and Glasnow looks like the better pitcher in that matchup. The Rays get the bullpen edge in this series as well.

The pick: Rays -167 on Draft Kings

It's tough to make a case for the Astros on paper, so while they were easy money in the first two rounds, I think their run comes to an end here. FanDuel offers some intriguing series bets, and I particularly like the Rays winning the series 4-2 at +380, but betting Tampa to win the series outright is the safe way to go.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

2 Braves vs. 1 Dodgers (at Globe Life Field)

There are no notable injuries for this series. Atlanta will almost assuredly ask its three go-to starters to each pitch a second game on short rest if this series goes long enough, while the Dodgers have luxury of going five deep or utilizing Buehler and Kershaw on short rest in Games 5 and 6, respectively.

Projected rotations:

Game 1: Max Fried (L) vs. Walker Buehler

Game 2: Ian Anderson vs. Clayton Kershaw (L)

Game 3: Kyle Wright vs. Julio Urias (L)

Game 4: Bryse Wilson vs. Dustin May

Game 5: Max Fried (L) vs. Tony Gonsolin

Game 6: Ian Anderson vs. Walker Buehler

Game 7: Kyle Wright vs. Clayton Kershaw (L)

Road wRC+ vs. RHP: Braves 114, Dodgers 106

Road wRC+ vs. LHP: Braves 105, Dodgers 110

The big question in this series is whether rookies Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright can continue to pitch beyond their years, or if their inexperience will finally show against one of the best lineups in baseball. I think these two offenses will show up in Game 1, which makes it a toss up. The Dodgers have the on-paper pitching advantage in Games 2-4, but I would expect the Braves' offense to win at least one of those three games. 

The pick: Dodgers -225 on FanDuel is the best series line, but I'd stay away at those odds.

In the end, the fact that it could be Ian Anderon on short rest vs. Walker Buehler on normal rest in Game 6 followed by Kyle Wright on short rest vs. Clayton Kershaw on normal rest in Game 7 makes this seem like too daunting of a task for a Braves team that has looked unstoppable thus far in the postseason. It's tough to pick against that Braves' lineup, but it's not like the Dodgers' lineup is flimsy. I think this series is actually closer than the ALCS, but the sports books aren't setting the lines that way, so there's not a ton of value on betting the series winner straight up. I'd prefer to bet Dodgers 4-2 at +350 and/or Dodgers 4-3 at +440, both of which are on FanDuel. I also like a Rays/Dodgers World Series at +135, which is on FD and DK.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Anderson
James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast.
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