By Edward Eggros
FOX Sports MLB Betting Analyst
The MLB wild card round has advanced to Game 2 and I’m calling you from a betting perspective.
I will guide you through these playoffs by giving you daily study material. This task consists of previewing each game with some bets I like for the daily coupon.
That’s the school bell, which means class is back!
Here are my favorite bets for Saturday, with odds via Fox Bet.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Cleveland Guardians (12 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN2)
One thing we’ve already seen this postseason is starters going deep into games. Both starters for Tampa Bay and Cleveland went at least seven innings Friday.
If this trend doesn’t hold, the Guardians will have the bullpen advantage. Cleveland has an expected independent pitching average of 3.47, second best in the majors. The normally highly ranked Rays come in at 15th (3.88).
Emmanuel Clase, Trevor Stephan & Co. they can retain what should be dominant pitching from Triston McKenzie, who has one of the lowest walk rates in baseball (5.9%).
I like the Guardians to do enough to win on the run line. Tyler Glasnow going six strikeouts is also a bet I’m leaning toward.
CHOOSE: Guardians run line (+140 at FOX Bet)
Seattle Mariners @ Toronto Blue Jays (4:00 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN)
Aaron Nola was one of the most effective pitchers in baseball. Righties have done a great job of chasing down hitters and preventing good contact. His four-seam fastball has a lot of horizontal movement and his curve can stay tight in the strike zone. But that might be a bad matchup for Nola, as the Cardinals have thrived against quads and broken fingers. FanGraphs’ weighted numbers rank the Cardinals in the top five in MLB against each pitch type.
We’ve already discussed the hot bats the Phillies bring with them. Bet the total to advance.
CHOOSE: Over 6.5 Total Runs Scored by Both Teams Combined (-120 at FOX Bet)
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San Diego Padres @ New York Mets (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN)
We use Statcast data instead of regular frame rate data because the physical elements of the game are more predictive than the hits and runs themselves. However, while the Blue Jays were shut out in Game 1, only once all season did Toronto hang back-to-back goose eggs. There’s a reason why Wladimir Guerrero, Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, Matt Chapman, and Beau Bisset all have over 50% hard hit rates.
Robbie Ray of the Mariners has a hard hit rate allowed of 39.1%, which is in the bottom half of MLB because his sinker has not been optioned. Too many good hitters for both bats not to produce runs.
I like Over.
CHOOSE: Over 7 runs scored by both teams combined (-110 at FOX Bet)
Philadelphia Phillies @ St. Louis Cardinals (8:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN2)
One thing that makes the Mets hitting so annoying is their 19.7% strikeout rate, third best in MLB. With batting champ Jeff McNeil leading the way (10.4% strikeout rate), New York is destined to get into an opposing bullpen early, ranking second in plate appearances.
Pete Alonso (40 home runs) and Daniel Vogelbach each have wRC+ ratings over 140, so they can generate plenty of offense in different ways. While San Diego has great pitching that carried them into the postseason, the Mets have enough at-bats to take Game 2.
My frugal is the Mets moneyline.
CHOOSE: Mets running line
Edward Egros is a sports broadcaster/writer, sports betting analyst, data scientist and assistant professor of statistics at Pepperdine University. These passions led him to become a cold brew enthusiast. Edward previously worked in local television, primarily at the Fox affiliate in Dallas, covering the Rangers, Cowboys and high school football. Follow him Twitter @EdWithSports.
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