Top MLB Playoff Betting Picks for Friday, October 8th (2021)

Oct 8, 2021 - 11:41 AM

Today marks the first day of the Major League Baseball playoff schedule where we get all four playoff series being played on the same day. The two ALDS matchups have played their opening games, while this is our first look at the two NLDS matchups. The clear highlight of the four-game schedule is the NL West battle between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, who were the two best teams in baseball this year. However, we turn to the other National League series for our better bet and focus on a total from one of the ALDS games.

Here are my best bets for Friday’s ALDS and NLDS action. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 185-153-8 (+15.91 units) 

White Sox-Astros UNDER 8.5 runs (-105)

The Houston Astros jumped on the Chicago White Sox early in Game 1, amassing a 6-0 lead at the end of five innings. However, both offenses put on the brakes after that and finished the game with seven combined runs. There are plenty of trends to support the under tonight, as the under is 6-1 in Houston’s last seven playoff games and is 5-0-1 in Chicago’s last six games as a road underdog.

The White Sox face Astros starter Framer Valdez (11-6, 3.14), and the Astros are 0-4 in Valdez’s last four starts against teams with a winning record. Chicago also ranked sixth in OPS and seventh in batting average against lefties in the regular season. However, managers have short leashes with starting pitchers in the playoffs, and Dusty Baker will not allow Valdez to face the White Sox lineup a second or third time if he gets into trouble in the middle innings.

Because Houston jumped out to a big early lead yesterday, the White Sox have a fresh Michael Kopech, Liam Hendriks, and Craig Kimbrel, and there is little doubt Tony La Russa will use them to back up Lucas Giolito (11-9, 3.53), no matter what the score is. Giolito had an excellent finish to the regular season, not losing any of his last seven starts while pitching to a 2.39 ERA. In addition, he won his only career postseason start, allowing just one earned run over seven innings, so we trust that he will keep Houston’s scoring down.

Atlanta Braves ML (+135)

While half of the Divisional Series matchups featured wild card winners at a disadvantage, having used their aces in a one-game playoff, the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers start this series on equal footing. Though Atlanta finished 5.5 games worse in the standings than the Brewers, the Braves had a run differential 19 runs better and had the third-best run differential in the National League. Milwaukee is glad to have won the NL Central, as they are in the postseason for the fourth consecutive season but are making an NLDS appearance for the first time since 2018.

Today’s pitching matchup between Charlie Morton (14-6, 3.34) and Corbin Burnes (11-5, 2.43) is fascinating. Morton was dominant down the stretch for Atlanta, pitching to a 2.43 ERA in his last seven starts and not allowing an earned run in his previous 9.2 regular season innings. Morton also raised his strikeout totals, as he recorded at least seven strikeouts in his last three starts where he threw at least six innings. Burnes knows a thing or two about strikeouts, as he led the league with 12.61 K/9 and finished first in the National League in ERA and second in WHIP (0.94).

Burnes should be well-rested, as the Brewers went to a six-man rotation for the last couple of months in the regular season to keep their starting pitchers’ innings down. This year, he did not fare well against Atlanta, allowing a season-high five earned runs on nine hits and two walks over four innings in Milwaukee’s 9-5 road victory on July 30.

The Braves are 7-0 in their last seven games against teams with a winning record, with four of those games coming on the road. Burnes has made six postseason appearances, but this is his first-ever start as he has not thrown more than two innings in any prior playoff outing. Conversely, Morton has made 12 postseason starts and has pitched to a 3.38 ERA in 61.1 postseason innings. Again, Burnes has been fantastic this year, but we like that Morton has much more postseason experience and think that plays a significant role in Atlanta stealing Game 1 on the road today.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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