MLB playoffs: Best bets for NLCS Game 2 and ALCS Game 1

Welcome back, fellow gamblers. Those tuning in likely had a good day yesterday. Depending upon how much action we put on Aaron Judge and/or Bryce Harper, it was a strong-to-quite-strong night. Just going with a home run on each alone was +580 and hopefully many of you loaded up on the runs, RBI and total bases props as well. We missed on Juan Soto and the over in the ALDS side, but it’s not realistic to hit everything. 

Our sights now turn to the first day with two LCS games and that’s fun. We have the relative newbies on the NLCS before the Yankees and Astros do battle for the third time in the last six ALCS (and it’s the sixth straight for the Astros). 

Stick with Bryce

Ever since I saw Bryce Harper homer in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series, I’ve been preaching that he was going to get, and then remain, hot. In his last six games, he’s 11 for 24 with three doubles, four home runs, seven RBI and six runs. If anyone has been riding the hot hand to this point, that person is way up. 

Padres starter Blake Snell is left-handed and Harper doesn’t hit lefties nearly as well. Harper is just 1 for 7 in his career against Snell, but that one hit was a two-run homer in 2021 and then Snell’s errant pitch broke Harper’s thumb this year. I feel like it’s time for “revenge” on the field. 

Take a look: 

  • Over 0.5 runs (+117)
  • Over 0.5 hits (-208)
  • Over 1.5 total bases (+139)
  • Over 0.5 RBI (+168)
  • Home run (+500)

Juan Soto OVER 0.5 runs (+102)

It’s a tall order to face Aaron Nola the day after getting completely shut down by Zack Wheeler, but I am not seeing the Padres getting shut out again. As I pointed out before Game 1, Soto really started to swing the bat well in the NLDS and it feels like there’s a breakout lurking. I’m not going to count on him for a big game, but he’s seen Nola 47 times in his career and has hit .273/.489/.606. Yeah, take note of that average/OBP split. He’s walked 14 times against Nola. That’s why we don’t necessarily want to count on hit, home run or RBI props, but getting him on base in front of Manny Machado seems like a decent path to winning the run scored prop. We’ll take it. 

Yankees vs. Astros OVER 7 runs (+100)

Look, we’re up for the playoffs as a whole, so the fact that I have taken it on the chin from the Yankees on the over three times so far doesn’t deter me here. 

The Yankees are starting Jameson Taillon and he’s the type of pitcher on which the Astros feast. They already have, in fact. On June 23, they nailed him for six runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. And though the Monday off and great work from short-rest Nestor Cortes on Tuesday helped, that’s still a bullpen that is tired and relatively unreliable. 

On the Astros side, Justin Verlander and a fully relaxed and loaded bullpen await the Yankees. I still think the Yankees will score some runs. Verlander was shelled by the Mariners — a lesser offense to the Yankees — in Game 1 of the ALDS. Much was lazily attributed to “rust” because he went from Oct. 4 to Oct. 11 without pitching. 

In the regular season, however, Verlander went June 29 to July 7 and allowed just one earned run in six innings in the latter outing. Then he went six scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts on July 16. Then it was one run in seven innings (against the Mariners!) on July 23. It sure doesn’t seem like rust was an issue in July. 

Verlander is also 39 years old and has now thrown 179 innings coming off Tommy John surgery. If he gets hit again, expect people to blame anything other than the most simple explanation: He’s 39 years old and coming off major arm reconstruction. 

Look to Yordan 

Yordan Alvarez homered in both of the Astros’ home playoff games so far, including the series-altering Game 1 walk-off, and is 2 for 6 with a home run against Taillon in his career. I expect Lou Trivino to be one of the main Yankees relievers in this one and Alvarez is 3 for 4 with a home run and two doubles off him. 

Take a look: 

  • Over 0.5 runs (+100)
  • Over 0.5 hits (-218)
  • Over 0.5 doubles (+334)
  • Over 1.5 total bases (+115)
  • Over 0.5 RBI (+162)
  • Home run (+340)

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