MLB Best Bet Today: Our Expert Picks Tuesday 10-17-23

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MLB Top Bet Today: Phillies vs. Diamondbacks

Phillies Money Line Victory

The NLCS continues with Game 2 taking place at Citizen’s Bank Park tonight after the Phillies clinched the first game 5-3. It was evident that the reigning NL champs had control of the opening game. They jumped on Zac Gallen early with a couple of prominent homers in the first inning, including one by Bryce Harper, who celebrated his birthday in style. Subsequently, Philadelphia’s pitching staff took command, and the Diamondbacks were limited to just four hits throughout the night. While the Diamondbacks managed to scrape together three runs on four hits, they still faced Philly’s formidable bullpen, an experience they may exploit in future games. The Phillies have certainly looked the part in this postseason, and we anticipate them to defend their home turf and secure a Game 2 victory.

The pitching duel in this game is intriguing, with Merrill Kelly and Aaron Nola taking the mound. Kelly has exceeded expectations this season, notably with his recent performance against the Dodgers. However, he might face a tough time against a deep and balanced Philadelphia offense. On the other hand, Nola, although inconsistent during the regular season, has excelled in the postseason. He should limit the Diamondbacks’ damage if he can navigate the top of their order. Arizona will need to create havoc on the basepaths and get more runners on base to increase their chances of winning. We also anticipate that Philly will press Kelly and possibly reach the bullpen earlier in the game. Although the D-Backs’ bullpen has improved during the postseason, its luck could run out eventually. Even if the game is level in the middle innings, the late-inning advantage still leans in favor of the Phillies. We’re picking the Phillies to go up 2-0 in this series.

(Odds: Phillies ML -165 at the time of publishing, playable at this number)

MLB Tuesday Picks: YRFI & NRFI Best Bets Today

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies: NRFI (-113)

The NLCS Game 2 presents another exciting pitching duel between Merrill Kelly and Aaron Nola. Game 1 featured the aces, but Kelly and Nola, although not aces, are still outstanding pitchers. Kelly concluded the regular season on a high note, and his divisional round performance against the Dodgers was impressive. On the other hand, Nola has excelled in the postseason despite a tumultuous regular season. We anticipate a slow start in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

(Odds: NRFI -113 at the time of publishing, available at FanDuel Sportsbook)

Total Runs Over 7.5

Why?

Although we generally prefer unders to overs in the postseason, we expect some offensive action in this game. Both teams possess strong offenses in different ways. The Phillies have power hitters throughout their lineup, while the Diamondbacks rely heavily on the top half of their order. The Diamondbacks are aware that they are unlikely to outpitch the Phillies, so they may look to manufacture runs early and often. We also anticipate that both pitching staffs will be less stingy than in the previous game. Kelly’s luck might run out, and Nola may be more hittable. Both teams have the potential to score early, and late-inning action might also come into play. The Arizona bullpen has been better in the postseason, but we expect this to change at some point. While we don’t expect the game to exceed the total by much, we have found 7.5 on most books, which is quite favorable for the hitters.

(Odds: Over 7.5 -110 at the time of publishing, playable at this number)

Top MLB Prop Bets for October 18: Houston Looks to Capitalize on Scherzer’s Return

The Texas Rangers secured victories in both Game 1 and Game 2 of the ALCS held in Houston. Now, they return home to play in front of their fired-up home crowd. Max Scherzer, who hasn’t seen competitive action since September 12 due to an injury, is set to make his return in Game 3. The effectiveness of his return is uncertain and will be tested against the potent Astros offense, which has a history of success against him. In this article, we’ll explore some enticing betting angles for Game 3.

MLB Pick: Houston Astros 1st 3 Innings Team Total Over 1.5 (+135) (0.5-unit risk)

We’re placing our bet on two plus-money stabs with the same objective: fading Max Scherzer in his return to competitive action. Given Scherzer’s 35-day absence from the MLB mound, the length of his leash is unknown. In his last live batting practice, he threw 68 pitches on Wednesday before a bullpen session on Friday. While we hope for a strong performance, it’s no guarantee, especially in a challenging matchup.

The Houston Astros handled their business against the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, winning the series 3-1 with remarkable offensive outbursts. The Astros’ offense, especially when the team is at full strength, has been incredibly productive. However, they encountered offensive difficulties when playing at home during the season. This season, they averaged 4.44 runs at home, ranking 17th in MLB, but were much more formidable on the road, scoring an average of 5.71 runs, which was the second-highest behind the Dodgers. With the series at 2-0 in favor of the Rangers, the Astros will rely on their offense against a seasoned pitcher they’ve had success against.

Scherzer’s penultimate start before his injury was against the Astros in a game featuring Justin Verlander. Scherzer had a rough outing, allowing 2 walks, 6 hits, 3 home runs, and 7 earned runs in just 3 innings. Despite his strong form leading up to that game, Houston hit him hard. Furthermore, Scherzer’s batted ball data in that game indicated a high exit velocity, suggesting he struggled to contain the Astros’ offense. The Astros have performed well against Scherzer in their combined plate appearances against him, and certain Astros batters have notably succeeded against him. Facing left-handed pitching, Scherzer has struggled with his control, which plays into the Astros’ favor, as they have strong left-handed bats in their lineup.

With the series deficit and the need for offensive production, the Astros may consider starting Martin Maldonado in Game 3. Maldonado started most of Cristian Javier’s regular-season starts this year, but due to his subpar offensive performance and the impressive production of rookie Yainer Diaz, a pinch-hitting scenario could be likely. Diaz, who boasts substantial power, might have an opportunity for a pinch-hit situation early in the game. In summary, the Astros possess the offensive firepower needed to succeed in this matchup.

We recommend splitting your wager on the first 3 and first 5 innings, as Scherzer’s pitch count and performance in his return are uncertain. If these markets aren’t available, consider the full-game team total over 4 for the Astros or betting on the under for Scherzer’s 4.5 strikeout prop. Given the pricing on these team totals, it appears the oddsmakers anticipate a strong Scherzer performance, but his lengthy absence from the game raises questions about his form. Betting against him in this scenario is justifiable. Look for the Astros’ offense to bounce back from two less productive outings and aim for a Game 3 victory.

Best MLB Player Prop Bet: Bryce Harper (PHI) over 0.5 walks (+100)

Can Bryce Harper Keep His Hot Streak Going? Bryce Harper has been on fire during the postseason, with a remarkable walk rate. As a left-handed masher playing first base, Harper has displayed a patient approach at the plate and an excellent eye. This player prop bet aims to capitalize on Harper’s patience in a favorable matchup.

He is one of baseball’s premier players, has been in excellent form throughout this postseason. He has demonstrated impressive patience at the plate, with a high walk rate in these playoffs. Harper’s 14.7% walk rate during the regular season was among the best in the league. In his last 32 regular season games, he recorded one or more walks in 22 of them, with a 21.3% walk rate during that span. Against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Harper drew one or more walks in six of the seven matchups this season. Facing right-hander Merrill Kelly, who allows a 10.4% walk rate to left-handed batters, Harper is poised to see plenty of opportunities to draw walks. We anticipate a patient approach from Harper, which makes this prop a strong choice for Game 2.

(Odds: Bryce Harper over 0.5 walks (+100) at the time of publishing, playable up to -125 odds)

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