MLB Betting Tips: How To Bet On The MLB Postseason

MLB Betting Tips

The 2019 MLB Postseason is already underway with the wild card games for both the NL and AL taking place. With the Washington Nationals pulling out a late win over the Milwaukee Brewers, they will get to face the Dodgers in the NLDS. In the AL, with a solid win over the Oakland Athletics, the Tampa Bay Rays have earned a date with the Houston Astros in the ALDS.

MLB Betting Tips cody bellinger

Cody Bellinger first basemen for the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch, March 18,2018

There is a ton of action left, and a lot of ways for an enterprising gambler to win some money. The hard part, of course, is going to be figuring out what the good bets are and where you can afford to take some chances.

To that end, let’s examine the matchups and odds for the 2019 MLB Postseason (odds via BetOnline.ag):

NLDS: St. Louis Cardinals (+125) vs. Atlanta Braves (-145)

This series stands to be the most competitive of the bunch. On the one hand, there is the Atlanta Braves, the owners of the second-best record in the NL; a young team expected to be better this season, but not this good.

On the other, there is the St. Louis Cardinals, a team with a lot of promise and potential, making it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. At the midway point in the season, they were 44-44 and did not look like a team destined for postseason glory. But they took care of business in the second half (47-27) and earned their slot.

So– who has the edge?

From a pitching perspective, it has to be the Cardinals. Since the All-Star break, they have had the second-best staff in the league (3.39 ERA) and recorded a league-best 11 shutouts. The Braves, on the other hand, have ranked No. 20 since the break with a staff ERA of 4.20 (and just three shutouts).

But from an offensive perspective, they have been fairly similar. Atlanta scored 364 runs since the break; St. Louis—371. The Cardinals have been hitting .247 and slugging .431; the Braves– .250 and .438. The numbers become more skewed in favor of the Braves if you look at the entire season.

That is because the Cardinals struggled so much in the first half; St. Louis is clearly not the same team.

Prediction:

All five games will be close, but in the end, the Cardinals (+125) win in five.

NLDS: Washington Nationals (+190) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (-220)

It wasn’t looking good for the Nationals in the wild card the other night, but thanks to some late-inning heroics by 20-year old Juan Soto, Washington will get the chance to take on the Dodgers in the NLDS. This will be the second time the two have faced off in the NLDS; the first was in 2016, an exciting series the Dodgers won in five.

But while the Nationals were able to ride a strong second half into the postseason, they are going to be hard-pressed to pull out a win against the Dodgers in the series. While they are No. 1 (Dodgers with 886) and No. 2 (Nationals with 873) as far as run production goes in the NL, the Dodgers pitching staff is much, much better than Washington’s.

The Dodgers staff led the league this year with a 3.37 ERA; the Nationals ranked No. 13 with a 4.27 ERA. But the most glaring difference is in their bullpens. For the season, the Dodgers pen had a 3.78 ERA (fourth in the league); the Nationals– 5.66 (dead last).

Washington’s starting rotation will have to have the games of their lives and go deep into each start for them to have a chance. With guys like Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Pat Corbin taking the mound, it is possible; unlikely, but possible.

When it comes down to it, the Dodgers are in a different class than the Nationals this year.

Prediction:

Dodgers (-220) in four.

ALDS: Tampa Bay Rays (+250) vs. Houston Astros (-300)

The Rays have not been known for their offensive prowess this season (18th in runs scored with 769; 21st in home runs with 217). But when they needed some offense Wednesday night against the Athletics in the wild-card game, they got it.

However, to beat the Astros in the ALDS, they may need to get four home runs every night—which is unlikely to happen.

Tampa Bay has easily one of the best pitching staffs in the league with a 3.65 staff ERA during the regular season (starters—3.64; bullpen—3.66). They were stingy when it came to home runs this season, giving up just 181 (101 by relievers), good enough for third lowest in the league.

So, they might be able to slow the Houston offense down a little, but where they will struggle is in scoring runs themselves. They are not a strong hitting team and will face three of baseball’s best pitchers in the first three games—Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke.

Prediction:

Houston (-300) in three.

ALDS: Minnesota Twins (+190) vs. New York Yankees (-220)

With 101 wins (most since 1965) and their first division title since 2010, it was definitely a good season for the Minnesota Twins. But for it to turn into a great postseason, they are going to have the tough task of taking down the New York Yankees.

Offensively, the two teams couldn’t be much more similar than they are. The Twins led the league in home runs this season with 307; the Yankees finished with 306. Minnesota hit .270 on the season with a slugging percentage of .494 and an OPS of .832; New York was close behind in all three (.267/.490/.829).

FootballThe Twins have five guys with 30+ home runs this season and one with 40+; the Yankees have seven with 20+ and two with 30+. So, it is probably safe to say that this one is going to come down to pitching. Who can keep the other team’s offense from going nuts?

From a season-long perspective, the Twins staff has the edge. They ended the regular season with a 4.18 ERA (4.19 for the starters; 4.17 for the bullpen) and allowed 77 home runs this season.

The Yankees starting rotation struggled throughout the year (4.51 ERA). But they got back Luis Severino towards the end of the year and will be starting James Paton (3.82 ERA) in Game One.

However, the Yankees have stepped it up when it counted accumulating a 3.67 staff ERA in September. Minnesota’s staff was a bit more pedestrian at 4.20. However, with the Twins pitchers giving up more home runs over the last month (32 next to 30 by the Yankees), the overall edge belongs to the Yankees.

Prediction:

Yankees (-220) in four.

National League Odds

The odds on who will win the National League are as follows:

  • Los Angeles Dodgers -130
  • Atlanta Braves +400
  • Washington Nationals +450
  • St. Louis Cardinals +600

This one is not hard to call. The Dodgers have been the best team in the NL by far the entire season. No other team can come close to matching up against their pitching staff or offense. The Cardinals are the only team that had a winning record against the Dodgers in the regular season (4-3) and will give them a good fight in the NLCS.

But in the end, the Dodgers make a third consecutive trip back to the World Series. However, if you are okay with the risk, there is value in the Cardinals at +600.

Prediction:

Dodgers (-130) in five.

American League Odds

The odds on who will in the American League are as follows:

  • Houston Astros -125
  • New York Yankees +275
  • Minnesota Twins +650
  • Tampa Bay Rays +650

The Twins with their offense and the Rays with their pitching staff are both intriguing options at +650. But the AL is going to come down to the Yankees and Astros. It should be a high scoring series with the offensive prowess that both teams have, but in the end, Houston’s excellent pitching staff will win the day.

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The Yankees staff is better than the stat sheet says with the late-season return of Luis Severino, but they need more if they are going to beat the Astros in a seven-game series. Their bats may be good enough to push the series to seven games, but they will not win.

Prediction:

Houston (-125) in seven.

World Series Odds

The odds on who will win the World Series are as follows:

  • Houston Astros +200
  • Los Angeles Dodgers +300
  • New York Yankees +450
  • Washington Nationals +1000
  • Atlanta Braves +1200
  • St. Louis Cardinals +1200
  • Minnesota Twins +1400
  • Tampa Bay Rays +1400

The only three teams worth considering are the Dodgers, Yankees, and Astros. Since Houston will beat the Yankees in the ALCS, you can cross them off. This could be one of the lowest-scoring World Series in recent history with two excellent pitching staffs facing off. But Houston’s offense will give them an edge in the series.

Prediction:

Houston (+200) in seven.