(1) Los Angeles Dodgers -270 vs (4) San Diego Padres +225
It is my opinion that this is the premier series to watch in the MLB’s slate of divisional round matchups. This series features some of the league’s biggest stars. Clayton Kershaw & Mookie Betts of the Dodgers, along with Fernando Tatis Jr. & Manny Machado of the Padres will provide plenty of star-power. Even for casual baseball fans, this is must-see TV. These teams both rank top-5 in the MLB in the following statistical categories: HR’s, Slugging%, Runs Per Game, OPS & WHIP. They are also both top-10 in OBP, ERA & Opp. Batting Average. With that type of elite balance on the mound and in the batter’s box, this series should produce fireworks. Whether you are a fan of the long ball or if you prefer pitching duels, this series should have a little something for everyone. With the addition of Mookie Betts this offseason, the Dodgers are hoping they finally have the roster that will get them their first World Series title since 1988. A young Padres team who is trying to win a pennant ahead of schedule stands in their way. The Dodgers won the season series 6-4 this year and are currently on a 6-game winning streak. The Padres have some momentum too, however. After dropping Game 1 vs St. Louis they won 2 straight to win their first postseason series in 22 years, prompting a large gathering of fans outside the stadium after the game to show the team their appreciation. This is another series where the line will dictate my pick. If it were only the pride of being right on the line, I would say take LA. But with such a favorable line for an explosive San Diego team, along with Clayton Kershaw’s postseason struggles in recent years, my advice is to play the odds.
Take San Diego +225 for a small value play.
(2) Atlanta Braves -290 vs (6) Miami Marlins +240
The Marlins once again shocked the baseball world. After earning their first postseason berth since winning it all in 2003, they managed to sweep an experienced Cubs team at Wrigley field. As a +155 underdog, they gave up only 1 run during those two games. There is no question that their clubhouse is currently overflowing with hope. Looking to quash those hopes are the Atlanta Braves. After spraying the ball all over the field this season, the Braves were also able to show off their arms in Round 1. They managed to 1-up the Marlins by posting shutouts in both games vs Cincinnati. While a young team with hope can be a dangerous thing, I believe the Atlanta Braves will handle their business. Both Miami and Atlanta’s opponents in Round 1 had been sluggish at the plate this season, but the Cubs went into that series especially cold. It is not my intention to take anything away from Miami’s victory, but it is my belief that the result was dictated more by Chicago playing poorly than by Miami playing well. There is obviously some value in Miami’s line of +240, but I look for Atlanta to outmatch them on both the mound and at the plate.
Take Atlanta -290.
*All odds via Bovada