Wkd Series - LCS Best Bets
October 12, 2018
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MLB Weekend Series Prices Best Bet - LCS Edition
Having ignored the uncertainty of the final weekend of the MLB regular season and the first round of the playoffs, with the LCS Series both beginning this weekend, I thought it was best to bring back this staple piece from the MLB season. This piece ended the regular season on a high note with a +150 win on the Colorado Rockies during that second last weekend, and hopefully it hasn't been too long to carry over that momentum into the playoffs and perhaps get the World Series matchup right?
NLCS: L.A. Dodgers (-165) vs Milwaukee (+149)
The L.A. Dodgers are one half of the equation of a repeat World Series between themselves and the Astros that oddsmakers have favored and I don't really understand why. Neither the Dodgers nor Astros have home field advantage in their respective series' and that means that neither won more games than their opponent this year. I get that regular season win totals don't mean much in terms of deciphering a playoff series, but the games still have to be played out there on the field, and this line is massively disrespecting the Brewers talent level and what they've done as a team in 2018.
Sure, the Dodgers have the experience and are loaded from 1-through-25 on their playoff roster with talented guys both starting on the field and in bench roles. L.A. also has arguably the greatest pitcher of this generation in Clayton Kershaw starting Game 1 (and probably Game 5 and 7 if it goes that far) and he and this Dodgers pitching staff's great reputation is one that you can't ignore. But a -165 road favorite after how this season has gone for L.A? No thank you.
L.A. did win the season series 4-3, but two of those Dodgers wins (11-2 and 21-5) were massive blowout scores that just don't come in playoff baseball. Four of the other five meetings were decided by two runs or less – the teams split those four games – while Milwaukee also has a 5-2 win to their credit over L.A. That tells me that Milwaukee – thanks largely to their phenomenal bullpen – that close games is where they thrive, and in a NLCS, close games are to be expected.
So with home field advantage, the better, more reliable, and deadly bullpen already on Milwaukee's side, I've got to take the Brewers to be the team to get through this round and advance to their first World Series since 1982. I know L.A went out and spent, traded, and claimed whomever they could to make sure they get that one more win this year, but too many cooks in the kitchen can lead to a spoiled meal, and the balancing act manager Dave Roberts has in that regard with giving the right guys the right opportunities while keeping some significant egos in check could end up being L.A.'s unravelling here.
Best Bet: Milwaukee to win NLCS
ALCS: Houston (-131) vs Boston (+118)
I mentioned at the beginning of the NLCS preview that Milwaukee's price of a +150ish underdog made little sense to me, but it still made more sense than this number does. Boston finished the regular season with the most wins in all of baseball, beat the team with the 3rd most wins in baseball rather easily in four games, and now they are a home underdog in a seven-game series against the team with the 2nd most wins? Does a first round sweep of a suspect Cleveland team and the fact that Houston's the defending champs give them that much pull with the oddsmakers here?
I'm not sure if that's the case, but either way I'm not buying it as from a pure value standpoint alone I don't know how you can't side with Boston here. Sure, the Astros have the better pitching rotation on paper, and Boston's rotation gets a little suspect after Chris Sale, but it;s not like that wasn't the case all year long for both teams when they played against one another (Houston won season series 4-3) or just on the whole. Boston dealt with that issue quite well all year long considering they won the most games in the majors and played in the toughest AL division with another 100-win team right behind them (Tampa also had 90 wins in 2018).
Great pitching rotation or not, this Boston lineup puts pressure on opposing pitchers from 1-through-9 like we haven't seen in MLB for a few years now. Every guy in the Red Sox lineup can spray the ball all over the field with power or with placement. It's a methodology of double, after double, after double with this Boston attack, keeping the lineup moving and burying teams with those crooked numbers. Crooked numbers are tough to come by in the postseason and probably even tougher against this Houston staff. But Boston's three wins in the regular season came in Verlander, Morton, and Keuchel starts and att least two of those guys (Verlander, Keuchel) should get starts in this series. So it's not like the Red Sox hitters haven't had success against some of these studs before.
Finally, given these odds and my preference for underdogs in general, I can't ignore the fact that reigning World Series champions haven't gotten back to the Fall Classic since the Yankees did it at the turn of the century. I would guess that part of that being so rare is the idea that champions can lose their hunger to win after reaching the mountain top. In a seven-game series with the stakes as high as they are, it's tough to keep the intensity and focus level as high as it should be if the hunger to win isn't burning as strongly as it once was. It's not like we haven't seen past World Series losers make it in consecutive years (KC in 14/15, Texas in 10/11) either, as the hunger would still persist in that scenario.
So it's got to be Boston at this price in my view, as that World Series rematch that would make such a good story isn't one I'm interested in reading this year. Boston didn't win 108 games by accident this year and I'm sure word has gotten around that clubhouse about the perceived disrespect they've gotten that they are actually the underdogs in this matchup. A motivational tool like that is something I can get behind in this spot as Boston sports fans should get to watch one of their teams in yet another championship contest.
Best Bet: Boston to win ALCS
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