MLB Picks: Betting Advice for the Wild Card Series

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MLB Picks: Betting Advice for the Wild Card Series
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All four wild card series begin today, and we give you MLB betting advice and predictions.


Tampa Bay Rays +106 vs. Cleveland Guardians -124

Game 1, 12:07 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Cleveland Guardians have been the second-best AL team since the midpoint of the season, with a 52-29 record resulting in a $2,125 profit for the $100 bettor and a strong 22% return on investment. 

Only the Houston Astros, who had the best record, were better. They posted a 52-29 record in the second half of the season but made only $278 for the $100 bettor and 2% ROI. 

The Guardians averaged a -125 moneyline wager, while the Astros averaged a -194 moneyline wager. So, I see the Guardians as the most undervalued AL playoff team entering this series.

Who Has the Better Pitching?

The Rays will hand the ball to Shane McClanahan, who earned a 12-8 record in 28 starts with a 2.54 ERA and a .926 WHIP, including 38 walks and 194 strikeouts in 166 2/3 innings of work. However, he struggled down the stretch, posting a 7.07 ERA and a 1.643 WHIP over his last three starts, also allowing four home runs.

The Guardians will have Shane Bieber on the bump, and he had a 13-8 record in 32 starts with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.040 WHIP including 35 walks and 198 strikeouts spanning 200 innings pitched. He was solid over his most recent three starts, posting a 3.37 ERA and a 1.125 WHIP and allowing just one walked batter while striking out 14 batters. The pitching edge goes to the Guardians.

The bullpen edge goes to the Guardians, too, as that unit posted a 43-19 record with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.113 WHIP, including 592 strikeouts over 549 innings pitched on the season. The Rays' bullpen went 43-34, converting only 59% of its 76 save opportunities with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.165 WHIP, including 657 strikeouts over 682 2/3 innings of work on the season. It posted a terrible 6.05 ERA and 1.552 WHIP with eight walks and 17 strikeouts over its final seven games.

  • The Guardians are 33-15 making 20 units on the moneyline after having won six or seven of their last eight games this season.
  • The Rays are 11-22 losing 15 units on the moneyline following five or more consecutive road games this season.

I am betting the Guardians to win Game 1 on the moneyline -115 and to win the series priced at -120 at BetMGM Sportsbook.


Philadelphia Phillies +102 vs. St. Louis Cardinals –120

Game 1, 2:07 p.m. ET, ABC

With the Phillies' Aaron Nola in top form and scheduled to pitch Game 2, the Cardinals need to win Game 1 and defeat Zack Wheeler.  

The Cardinals were the last team in the playoffs to name their Game 1 starter and surprisingly they elected to go with left-hander Jose Quintana. 

The Phillies went 28-18 for 61% wins and 13-7 for 65% since the All-Star break when facing a left-handed starter ranking sixth best in MLB.

After eight MLB seasons, Wheeler will make his first career playoff start today. Since joining the Phillies to start the 2020 season, Wheeler has earned a 30-19 record in 69 starts and has posted an ERA of 2.92 or lower in each of those seasons and finished second in last season's Cy Young Award voting.

I am betting the Phillies to win Game 1 and to win the series.

Mariners at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Seattle Mariners are 18-6 for 75% winning bets and making 16 units on the moneyline when having had a day off and playing on the road in games played over the past two seasons. 

I like the Mariners live in-game on the moneyline if the Rays score first in Game 1.

Padres at Mets, 8:07 p.m. ET, ESPN

The last of the four wild card games to start is the matchup between the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets at Citi Field with the first pitch scheduled for 8:07 p.m. 

I am going to bet the Padres using the moneyline currently priced at +132 at FanDuel.

I am going to look to play a live in-game strategy in this game. I will bet 50% of my normal bet size on the Padres using the moneyline and then look for the Mets to score first and if that occurs, 

I will bet the remaining 50% on the Padres using the +1.5-run line, which I expect to be priced at -120 or better with the Mets leading 1-0. 

I will be posting betting strategies throughout the day on my Twitter feed at JohnRyanSports1.


Other Bets to Consider

.Here are some player prop bets to consider today.

  • Bet the Phillies' Wheeler to Over 15.5 recorded outs -110 at BetMGM.
  • Bet the Phillies' Bryce Harper to hit a home run +600 at BetRivers.
  • Bet the Phillies' Rys Hoskins to hit a home run +540 at Unibet.
  • Bet the Padres' Yu Darvish Under 4.5 hits allowed +105 at DraftKings.
  • Bet the Padres' Juan Soto to record an RBI +220 at FanDuel.

In 162 prop bets, I have a 73-89 record, making a profit of $555 per $20 pizza-money wager or $2,775 per $100 wager. That is a 69% return on investment (ROI) for the 2022 MLB season.


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