The second round of the MLB playoffs gets underway on Monday with two ALDS contests. It starts with the Athletics vs. the Astros at 4:07 p.m. ET and wraps up with the Rays vs. the Yankees at 8:07 p.m. ET. Both matchups will be played at neutral sites, so there will be no home field advantage for any of these ball clubs moving forward.
Let’s dive into two of my favorite bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Thursday’s slate.
Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros
This series will feature two AL West division rivals, and both teams will be sending quality starters to the mound in Game 1.
The Astros will hand the ball to Lance McCullers, who will be making his first postseason appearance since pitching 2.1 scoreless innings in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. He was solid during the regular season, pitching to a 3.93 ERA and 3.70 FIP, but he really turned things on down the stretch. He didn’t allow a single run over his final three starts, while racking up 24 strikeouts over 17.2 innings.
The A’s will turn to Chris Bassett, who was dominant over 63.0 innings in 2020. He pitched to a 2.29 ERA thanks in part to his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark. He allowed an average of just 0.86 home runs per nine, which is impressive in an era where HRs are being hit at a historic pace. Overall, his mark ranked 12th among qualified starters this season.
Both offenses were also merely mediocre this season vs. right-handed pitchers. The A’s ranked 14th in that department, while the Astros ranked 16th. With that in mind, this game could be a bit lower scoring than expected.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees
This should be a fantastic series. The Rays have had the Yankees’ number all season — they’ve gone 8-2 over 10 matchups — but they Yankees still remain the favorites to represent the American League in the World Series.
Part of that is due to Gerrit Cole, who was their big-money addition during the offseason. He was brought in specifically to pitch in games like this, and he’ll get the ball in Game 1 of this series. He dominated in his first playoff appearance with the Yankees, racking up 13 strikeouts over just seven innings.
The thought of getting Cole as an underdog is obviously tempting, but Cole hasn’t historically fared well as a dog throughout his career. He’s posted a mark of 14-20 in that situation, resulting in a return on investment of -10.0%.
The Rays aren’t exactly sending a slouch to the mound in this contest, either. They will hand the ball to Blake Snell, who allowed just one hit over 5.2 innings in his first start of the postseason. It appears that the sharp bettors are interested in Snell and the Rays early, as they’ve garnered 81% of the moneyline dollars compared to just 51% of the moneyline bets.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.