MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday October 17th

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MLB schedule today has 1 game

Short series have been the theme of the postseason so far, as we only had 22 of the possible 32 games in the Wild Card and Division Series rounds. The Rangers are up 2-0 on the Astros in the ALCS and the Phillies got a bit of a late-game scare from the Diamondbacks, but three early homers were nearly enough in Game 1 to take a series lead.

 

Game 2 for the Phils and Snakes is tonight and it will be another raucous and rowdy environment at Citizens Bank Park, this time for Merrill Kelly and Aaron Nola.

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Here are some thoughts on the October 17 card (odds from DraftKings):

(odds as of 8:30 a.m. PT)

Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies (-166, 7.5)

The starting point to me about this game is that the line is either a carbon copy of Game 1 or very similar. I could make a strong case about trusting Kelly more than Gallen and I certainly think Wheeler is a better pitcher than Nola. Purely from a price standpoint and comparing the pitchers in this game, there appears to be some line equity on Arizona.

I had my well-documented Gallen concerns about his Hard Hit% and Barrel% and those came to fruition quickly with the three homers and the four runs allowed. His fastball also looked pretty flat and lifeless and the Phillies knew he threw it about 50% of the time, so they sat on it. Kelly is much more effective with how he mixes his pitches, with Statcast crediting him for six different ones over the course of the season.

Kelly still ran a 41.8% Hard Hit% during the regular season, but that’s better than what Gallen had and his 7.8% Barrel% was better as well. Unfortunately, there are enough concerns with Kelly that I won’t be on the Arizona side. He’s only made one start since September 30, as he was needed in the NLDS and that was it. He pitched great against the Dodgers with 6.1 shutout innings and allowed just three hits.

But, along with some potential rust in a huge spot, Kelly, much like Gallen, has noteworthy home/road splits.

Home: 93.2 IP, 2.59 ERA, 3.43 FIP, .183/.266/.309, .258 wOBA, 9 HR, 29% K%, 9.9% BB%
Away: 84 IP, 4.07 ERA, 4.32 FIP, .261/.333/.434, .332 wOBA, 11 HR, 22.7% K%, 9.2% BB%

I’m curious what the deal is with the huge home/road K% splits for both Gallen and Kelly at home versus on the road. That seems a little bit odd. I’ve been to Chase Field and I found it kind of dark from a lighting standpoint compared to other domes I’ve been in, but I don’t think that’s necessarily it. Whatever the case, it is a huge difference and you can see the impact it had, as Kelly’s BA was 78 points higher, his OBP was 67 points higher, and his SLG was 125 points higher on the road.

Obviously this is a road start for Kelly, so you can’t help but be concerned. His NLDS start was a road start as well and he pitched quite well, so it isn’t a given that he struggles here, but I don’t see a compelling reason to really buy in. He was also up 6-0 before he threw a pitch and 9-0 before he threw a pitch in the second inning of that NLDS start.

Nola has looked good in his two playoff starts with two runs allowed on nine hits and a 12/2 K/BB ratio in 12.2 innings. He was really solid against the Marlins and Braves after having some bumps during the regular season, including a career-high 32 homers. But, he’s ramped it up at the most important time, especially with free agency on the horizon. I’m not sure he’s making the kind of bread that Jordan Montgomery seems to be making, but performing well in the playoffs always helps and Nola is as durable as they come.

Speaking of home/road splits, let’s peep Nola for a second.

Home: 87.2 IP, 3.29 ERA, 3.40 FIP, .212/.251/.380, .272 wOBA, 12 HR, 28.6% K%, 5.0% BB%
Away: 106 IP, 5.43 ERA, 4.55 FIP, .262/.307/.460, .327 wOBA, 20 HR, 23.1% K%, 6.2% BB%

Those are pretty stark and in Nola’s favor, whereas Kelly’s are stark and are not in his favor. 

Does that mean I’m taking Nola and the Phillies? As I mentioned, I think purely looking at the price, it seems high, since I think Kelly might truly be an upgrade over Gallen and Nola is a downgrade from Wheeler. That’s going to be enough to keep me off of the side for this game. I don’t think there are a lot of reasons to want to bet on Kelly here, but I do think that he can keep the Phillies off-balance better than most of the pitchers that they’ve faced in the playoffs.

Over 90% of Spencer Strider’s pitches are fastballs and sliders, so the Phillies sat slider and reacted to fastball. Max Fried mixes pitches well, but he wasn’t healthy. Bryce Elder throws over 85% fastball/slider. Gallen is about 75% fastball/curveball.

I guess with that in mind, I lean towards the Under, but 7.5 is too low to make a bet. The weather conditions are about the same as last night, so there isn’t a great edge with wind or anything of the sort.

For the prop markets, I’m mildly intrigued by Aaron Nola to record a win at +185. The Phillies are clearly favored to win and they’ve gotten good length from both Wheeler and Nola in the playoffs. Historically, though, his third time through the order gets dicey. But, I came into the series saying that the Diamondbacks wouldn’t keep up their power production. This will be that test given how Nola allowed a 15.6% HR/FB%, a 1.49 HR/9, and 32 total homers.

In summation, I don’t have a bet I like enough on this game, but I’ll be following along to see how it plays out and if a live betting opportunity pops up.