It’s playoff time, and while this year’s COVID-19-inspired format leaves a lot to be desired, it’s still postseason baseball aka the happiest time of the year!
This year’s Wild Card round features a few coin flips and a few mismatches. Let’s see where we can find value and make some profitable bets.
New to sports betting and using the playoffs as a chance to get your feet wet? Be sure to sign up to PointsBet and use PointsBet promo code BONUS2020 to receive free bets up to $1000.
Let’s get into our expert picks for the series winners of the MLB Wild Card!
Chicago White Sox (-110)
I picked Oakland to win the AL West and think the A’s are one of the best teams in baseball. If this were a 7- or even 5-game series, my pick would be different. But this is a short, 3-game Wild Card that will play into Chicago’s favor. The South Siders boast one of the best offenses in all of baseball, their rotation is perfectly setup for #1-2 starters Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel to start Games 1 and 2, and their bullpen has quietly become one of the best in the Majors. Sorry, Mr. Beane. Your World Series drought is going to last one more season.
Cleveland Indians (-106)
A lot of people think this is a trendy pick, but it is the right one. Cleveland will only have to face Gerrit Cole once in the 3-game series, while the Yankees will have to battle the three-headed, three-right-armed monster of Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco and Zach Plesac. The Yankees rotation has been decimated by injuries, and even if/when Masahiro Tanaka and “TBD” pitch admirably in Games 2 and 3, it’s hard to see how the Tribe won’t scratch together enough run support to take 2 of 3. This has all the makings of a low-scoring series. Cleveland’s pitching depth will be the clear and obvious difference.
Cincinnati Reds (+118)
I picked the Reds to win the NL Central, and even though they finished a few games short, this team is the epitome of a squad “built for the playoffs.” The high-octane Braves bats will have their hands full with Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo and Sonny Grary. The series doesn’t start until Wednesday, giving the Reds an extra day of rest so their rotation will start on their normal schedules. Meanwhile, the starting-pitching-starved Braves will roll out Max Fried and rookie Ian Anderson, then hope for the best. This will be a close, hard-fought series, but the Reds have the arms to get this done. They’ll be one of the more difficult outs throughout the entire postseason.
All Series Picks
I don’t see value in any of these lines, but will share my picks for each series for your own consideration:
- Minnesota Twins (-189) – Losing Josh Donaldson hurts, but the Houston rotation is paper thin. This one might give you heartburn, but the Twins pitching staff is deep and they’ll get the job done in a 3-game series.
- Tampa Bay Rays (-213) – I picked them to win the AL East and I included them as one of my picks to consider as a value pick for World Series winner. This is a deep, balanced, intelligent team that every AL squad should be afraid to face.
- Miami Marlins (+155) – Don’t laugh. This Cinderalla story is going to turn into a pumpkin in the Divisional Series, but if they can take one game from either Yu Darvish or Kyle Hendricks, they’ll enter Game 3 as the favorite. The Cubs are the better team, but this is the better pick to make.
- San Diego Padres (-200) – This squad is head-and-shoulders better than the Cardinals. Keep an eye on that status of Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet. If one is out, the Padres still are a strong pick. If both are out, I’d avoid betting on it unless the line moves considerably.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (-345) – My pick to win the World Series and my pick to convincingly win this series, too.