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MLB Postseason Line Drive: October 12 free picks, betting odds and analysis

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The Nationals stole Game 1 of the NLCS thanks to an outstanding performance from Anibal Sanchez. And now the Cardinals have to deal with Max Scherzer, while Masahiro Tanaka toes the rubber against Zack Greinke in Game 1 of the ALCS. We break down the odds for both of these contests with in-depth analysis, betting notes and predictions in our MLB postseason Line Drive.

DOUBLE-PLAY PICKS

WASHINGTON NATIONALS AT ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (+125, 7 @ BETAMERICA)

Nationals lead series 1-0

The Nationals will send ace Max Scherzer to the mound for Game 2. Scherzer went 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.03 ERA during the regular season. In the postseason he’s pitched to a 2.77 ERA with 16 strikeouts through 13 innings.

Adam Wainwright gets the start for St. Louis. The 38-year-old went 14-10 with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP during the season but he had some of the most extreme home/road splits in the majors. At home he was terrific with a 9-4 record and a 2.56 ERA.

Wainwright pitched against the Nationals twice during the regular season. He allowed two runs through 6 1-3 innings in a 3-2 victory on the road back in April, and threw seven innings of shutout ball at home against the Nats last month.

With two strong pitchers on the hill, the Under looks like the smart play. But Washington’s bullpen, which had a 5.66 ERA during the regular season and has a 6.63 ERA during the postseason, gives me pause for concern. Especially against a St. Louis lineup that isn’t consistent but can go off in an inning. Don’t forget that 14 of the 26 runs they scored in their five-game NL Division Series came in two innings.

We’re much more confident in taking the Under on the first five innings.

Pick: Under 3.5 First Five Innings

NEW YORK YANKEES AT HOUSTON ASTROS (-160, 9 @ BETAMERICA)

Series tied 0-0

The American League’s best do battle for the Pennant as Game1 of the ALCS sees the 107-win Houston Astros host the 106-win New York Yankees.

The Yankees made an interesting decision by handing the ball to Masahiro Tanaka for Game 1. With all the rest between series for the Yanks, they essentially could have gone with any starter, but chose the Japanese right-hander despite his struggles on the road.

Tanaka had a 6.05 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP away from Yankee Stadium, but New York is trusting in his recent track record against the Astros and his postseason excellence. Tanaka has a 2.32 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP in his last five starts against the Astros, which includes three games at Minute Maid Park.

But its his postseason stats that are truly outstanding. Tanaka owns a 1.54 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP and is limiting opponents to a .164 batting average in six playoff starts.

Meanwhile, the Astros counter with ace No. 3 in Zack Greinke. The cerebral right-hander has been a little more inconsistent than we’re used to since getting traded to the Astros, but he’s still capable of throwing a gem at any time. Greinke actually faced the Yankees twice this season as a member of the Diamondbacks, allowing just three runs on seven hits over 12.2 inning pitched.

Despite the fact this is a matchup of the two best lineups in baseball, we’re going with Game 1 being a pitcher’s duel.

Pick: Under 9

POSTSEASON STARTER STAT OF THE DAY

Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals (14-10, 4.19 ERA, $486): Wainwright is obviously the elder statesman of the Cardinals rotation and they’re banking on his postseason experience giving them an edge in Game 2. The right-hander has a career 2.79 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 25 postseason appearances. While in the NLCS he owns a 2.51 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. He can keep the Nats Under their team total in this one.

3 STRIKES

SCHERZER VS A PAIR OF STREAKING SLUGGERS

The Cardinals top two sluggers both had an incredible series against the Braves in the NLDS. Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna went a combined 18 for 42 at the plate, with seven doubles and four homers.

Over his career though, Goldschmidt has been absolutely owned by Scherzer. The six-time All-Star has just two hits (both singles) and one walk in 25 at bats against Scherzer. Ozuna has more success against Scherzer; racking up 10 hits, including two homers and five doubles in 36 plate appearances versus the Nationals flame-thrower.

BLUSTERY AT BUSCH?

It will be a little warmer for Game 2 of the NLCS after a bit of a chilly night in St. Louis for Game 1. Temperatures are forecast in the high 50’s for game time, but bettors should take note that hitters could be given a hand by mother nature in this one. There is expected to be a 10 mile per hour wind gusting straight out to center field. The total is currently 7.

BUCKING THE CS TRENDS

Both the Yankees and Astros don’t have pleasant experiences in the Championship Series. The Astros are 0-4 in their last four League Championship games after dropping four straight to Boston last season, while the Yankees are just 2-12 in their last 14 ALCS road games. With the home team claiming six of the seven meetings between these two juggernauts, we’re leaning towards the Astros in Game 1.

Running up the points with Rockets, and the college football bets you need to make in Week 12

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Are you ready for some more MAC-tion? Because there are two more games on the schedule Wednesday night. We break down the best bets for these games and take a look at the weekend ahead in college football – from sides and totals to props and everything in between.

ROOM TO ROAM

The Toledo Rockets might be only slight favorites for Wednesday night’s MAC tilt with visiting Northern Illinois, but they have a significant advantage in at least one area – and it could turn this one into a bit of a laugher. The Rockets come into the game with the nation’s No. 12 rushing offense, averaging nearly 251 yards per game on the ground – and they’ve been especially dominant over their previous two games, racking up a combined 664 rushing yards in narrow victories over Eastern Michigan and Kent State. The Huskies, meanwhile, are coming off getting routed 48-10 to Central Michigan in which the Chippewas posted 327 rushing yards.

An edge like this makes Toledo a terrific option in a variety of different bet scenarios; we recommend buying a few points in their favor and taking an alternate line of -6.5.

MIAMI (OH) FOR 3

The Miami (OH) Redhawks should have little trouble filling the board Wednesday night as they host a Bowling Green defense that ranks among the worst in the nation in points allowed. But while the Falcons have surrendered a mind-boggling 33.8 points per game so far this season, the Redhawks might not necessarily be headed for a parade to the end zone. Miami (Ohio) has one of the worst touchdown-to-field-goal ratios in the country coming into Week 12, having scored 22 TDs compared with 16 FGs – six of those coming over the course of their current three-game winning streak.

Miami (Ohio) is a big-time favorite here, and is a good bet to open the scoring given BGSU’s 2.5 first-half-points-per-game average on the road this season. We like the Redhawks FG to kick off the point parade.

GILBERT  GETTING BACK

Kansas State’s premier rushing threat might be back on the field this weekend. Wildcats senior James Gilbert practiced on Tuesday and is trending in the right direction as he recovers from an undisclosed ailment that kept him out of last week’s 27-24 loss to the Texas Longhorns. It was originally thought that Gilbert would be in the lineup vs. Texas, but he was a late exclusion – and Kansas State struggled in his absence, finishing with a paltry 51 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Gilbert ranks ninth in the Big 12 Conference in rushing yards (558) while adding five touchdowns on the ground.

Gilbert’s return would invigorate a Kansas State rush attack that has a favorable matchup against a West Virginia defense allowing 173 rushing yards per game. We recommend the hosts ATS if Gilbert is deemed fit to return.

WAKING NIGHTMARE

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have seen their season take a terrible turn with word that standout wide receiver Sage Surratt will miss the remainder of 2019 with an undisclosed injury. Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson confirmed Tuesday that Surratt, who wasn’t featured on the team’s depth chart ahead of its Week 12 encounter with Clemson, would be out for the rest of the season – though he wouldn’t specify what was wrong with the star wideout. Surratt finishes the year with 1,001 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 66 receptions as the premier target for quarterback Jamie Newman.

The absence of Surratt should give bettors even less of a reason to bank on Wake Forest, which has seen the line shift as far as four points in Clemson’s favor. Look for the Tigers to keep the undermanned Deacons below their team total.

Too late to start fading the Fins, and the NFL bets you need to make in Week 11

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This may require a double-take, but listen up. The Miami Dolphins have been the best bet in the NFL since the start of October. Yes, those Miami Dolphins. We break down the odds and let you know what bets we like in Week 11 of the NFL as we dive into sides, totals, props and more. 

STAYING HOT IN Q1

The hottest team in the league right now is Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens. After knocking off the Patriots in Week 9, they turned their crosshairs on the winless Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10. The Ravens ran just 48 offensive plays but managed to put up 49 points. Lost in the 49-13 win was the fact that Baltimore moved to 8-1 against the first-quarter spread after winning the first 15 minutes 14-0.

This week, Baltimore is a 4-point home favorite versus a Houston team that is coming off their bye. If you don’t trust a team coming off a blowout win versus the worst team in the league and/or covering their last three games, take a look at the 1Q Ravens -0.5 (-105) as an alternative.

Baltimore is second in the league in first quarter points per game at 9.5 and third in the league in points against in the first quarter at 3.67 while the Texans are 0-3-1 on the road this year in the first quarter. Take the Ravens 1Q -0.5.

FEAST AWAITS EVANS

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face a very motivated New Orleans Saints team Sunday, but NOLA will be without their top cornerback in Marcus Lattimore. The third-year CB is week-to-week with a hamstring injury meaning Bucs WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will face sub-par corners in P.J. Williams and Eli Apple.

As Brad Evans pointed out on twitter, this is especially great news for Mike Evans who has struggled over his career versus Lattimore. Evans put up a donut early this year in Week 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and averaged 9.5 targets for three catches and 34 yards in two games in 2017 (last year Lattimore struggled following up his 2017 DROY but has been much better this year).

Even with Jameis Winston getting sacked nearly four times a game, Evans is averaging 139 yards a game over his last four contests. Jump on Evans’ receiving yard total on any number below 85 and check in on his reception total, hitting the Over on any number below 7.

LOADING SCREEN

No team in the league relies on the screen game more than the Minnesota Vikings. Per ESPN, Minnesota is averaging 9.8 yards per screen attempt which is 3.5 yards more per attempt than the No.10 team.

The beneficiary of this is running back Dalvin Cook who gashed the Cowboys in primetime every time he got the ball with blockers ahead of him. Over the last three games, Cook has amassed 193 yards receiving and will face a Denver Broncos’ defense that is giving up 8.6 yards per pass to RBs since Week 8.

Grab the Over on Cook’s receiving yards on any total less than 40 yards.

LOADING SCREEN PT. 2

If you’re tailing the Cook receiving yards play and want some action on the other side of the ball, maybe look to fade the Broncos’ backfield in receiving yards. Denver is the worst team at generating yards on the screen game (3.7 yards per attempt) and neither Phillip Lindsay nor Royce Freeman has topped 17 yards receiving in the last two weeks. In the only game Brandon Allen has started at quarterback, Lindsay wasn’t targeted at all and Freeman saw one target which he lost a yard on.

Feel confident in taking Lindsay’s Under receiving yards on anything greater than 19 and Freeman’s Under on any number greater than 25.

AIN’T FADING THE FINS NOW

The best team ATS over the last five weeks has been the Miami Dolphins. The former 0-7 team has rattled off five-straight wins ATS and face a Buffalo Bills team that has zero offensive identity of late and trailed the Dolphins by five points heading into the fourth quarter just four weeks ago.

We are a little bearish on Miami hitting a sixth-straight win ATS but have no problem fading Josh Allen’s Bills who are putting up just 288 yards of total offense over the last three weeks, good for sixth-worst. Their once stellar defense now sits 12th in Wtd DVOA — 9th against the pass and 27th against the run.

The Bills needed 22 4th-quarter points in their last meeting to cover their team total and we don’t see Brian Daboll’s offense clearing 23.5 points since they are 2-5 O/U that total in their last seven.

Get on the Bills’ team total Under 23.5 now, as it may drop under this key number later in the week.