The long Labor Day weekend is here and there’s nothing better an action-packed Saturday full of baseball. We’ve officially eclipsed the ¾ mark of the season and it’s coming down to the wire for some teams.
You already know what’s on tap in this Wicked Wagers article: divisional games and matchups with potential playoff implications. The Yankees are at the Rays today and the questions loom, will the Yanks ever get back on track? Will the Rays stay at the top of American League Wild Card Race?
The Astros have the division and AL locked up, but they face the Angels with Shohei Ohtani on the mound. It’ll be a lovely game to watch with the superstar starting. In Southern California, the San Diego Padres visit Los Angeles. The Padres look to at least be competitive against their big brothers, the Dodgers. Follow along for this Saturday’s Wicked Wagers!
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6:10PM EST New York Yankees (+118) @ Tampa Bay Rays (-140)
Starting Pitchers: Clarke Schmidt (NYY) vs Corey Kluber (TB)
New York is in the middle of one of the worst meltdowns in baseball history. Two months ago, they were unstoppable, and the AL East was theirs for the taking. They slowed down a bit before the All-Star break and then it carried over. Since then, they seemingly forgot the fundamentals of the sport altogether.
Their pitching tanked and everyone except for Aaron Judge stopped hitting. Friday night was representative of their struggles. Their offense went missing and the pitching staff gave up 9 runs. There are 30 games left and the Rays are in prime position to surpass the Yankees for the division. But at some point, the Bronx Bombers will have to come back to life.
This evening, the Yankees have the edge in the starting pitching staff and that’s why I’m betting on them. Schmidt has been respectable this season with a 5-3 record and 2.89 earned run average. He won’t shut down an offense for 5 or 6 innings, but he’ll keep the Yankees in the game and that’s all they need right now. Kluber has bounced around the league since leaving the Cleveland Guardians and he’s way past his prime. This year, he’s 9-7 with a 4.21 ERA.
The Yankees will put some pressure on the old pitcher and get out to an early lead.
Wicked Wager – New York Yankees ML (+118)
9:07PM EST Houston Astros (-110) @ Los Angeles Angels (-110)
Starting Pitchers: Luis Garcia (HOU) vs Shohei Ohtani (LAA)
The Astros will cruise to yet another division title with an 11-game lead in the AL West. On the other hand, the Angels, like the Yankees, forgot how to win. They were a competitive ball club for the first half and looked like they could compete for at least a wild card spot. However, they now find themselves almost 20 games under .500. Their saving grace is Shohei Ohtani and he’s almost the only reason why anyone will watch them. The other reason is Mike Trout, but he’s not in the starting line up every night – alright enough with the Angel hate talk.
Ohtani is doing things that we’ve never seen before. I know Babe Ruth is the golden standard for two-way players. However, if you objectively look at both players, the Japanese star is the much more talented out of the two. When Ruth way playing, he was competing against guys who held 9-5 jobs and played baseball when they clocked out. Ohtani is putting up incredible numbers facing opposition who eat, sleep, and breathe the game. Ohtani has a 2.67 ERA and will keep the Astro hitters at bay for as long as he takes the mound. Mix this in with the lack of Angels offense going up against Luis Garcia, who has been mediocre this year.
This has low scoring affair written all over it.
Wicked Wager – Total Runs u7.5 (+100)
9:10PM EST San Diego Padres (+180) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-220)
Starting Pitchers: Sean Manaea (SD) vs Julio Urias (LAD)
Last night, San Diego dominated the Dodgers from start to finish. Dustin May was off, giving up 6 runs in his second start of the year. Let’s not put too much emphasis on the bad outing since he missed 1.5 seasons due to Tommy John surgery. LA’s offense took the night off and the final score was 9-1. Given the success of the Dodgers against the Padres, I’m betting LA bounces back behind an explosive offensive performance. They struggled in the series against the Mets and it’s only a matter of time before they wake up.
With a 14-7 record and 2.37 ERA, Julio Urias has been great this year for LA. He’s quietly been one of the best pitchers in the National League. It seems like everyone on the Dodger’s pitching staff has been injured at some point in time. Through it all, Urias has been their much-needed iron man.
Sean Manaea was acquired to bolster the Padre’s starting rotation, but saying he’s been disappointing would be an understatement. In the month of August, his era was 7.88 and he’ll face a hungry Dodger offense tonight.
Expect him to get tagged up early and often which is why I’m hammering LA run line and the full game over.
Wicked Wagers – Dodgers Run Line -1.5 (-105) / Total Runs o8.5 (-110)
How to Bet Baseball
Unlike other popular sports, most wagers placed on MLB games do not involve a point spread. Instead, bettors typically wager on the moneyline, looking to predict the winner of the game straight-up.
The less-popular cousin of the moneyline bet in baseball is the runline wager. The betting favorite will be assigned a -1.5-run handicap, but oddsmakers will offer an appropriate amount of “juice” to make laying the 1.5 runs with the favorite more appealing.
Totals wagers in baseball work very much like totals wagers in other sports. Oddsmakers will assign an Over/Under figure to every game, leaving bettors to determine whether the game in question will be a home run derby or a pitcher’s duel. Totals of 8.5 runs are typical of MLB games, though totals as low as seven runs and as high as 10 runs will pop up throughout the season.