The National League’s fourth seed and highest-ranked wild card, the New York Mets, play host to the fifth-seeded San Diego Padres in one of Major League Baseball’s four best-of-three wild-card series that begin Friday. The Mets are a large -194 favorites to advance, per the series price offered at FanDuel, with the Padres getting back odds of +164.
Padres vs. Mets Game 1 Odds
For interested bettors, New York is listed as a -135 favorite at DraftKings as of Thursday, with San Diego offered at +130 at FanDuel. Here are current lines for the series opener from a range of legal US sportsbook apps.
Tough Spot for Mets?
The Mets (101-61), who finished tied for the East lead with Atlanta but lost out on the head-to-head tiebreaker, are the fourth team since 1995 to win 100 or more games and enter the postseason as a wild card. But that’s better than the fate of San Francisco in 1993, which won 103 games and finished a game out of first in the NL West, also to Atlanta. That was the last season without wild cards, so the Giants stayed home.
San Diego, meanwhile, was 89-73 this season and finished 22 games behind the LA Dodgers in the West. But unlike with the Mets, there was no anguish when the Padres wound up as a wild card, finishing three games clear of left-out Milwaukee. This marks San Diego’s second trip to the postseason since 2006.
No matter who wins this series, though, the road ahead is treacherous.
Up next are the well-rested 111-win Dodgers in the NLDS, with the likelihood of 101-win Atlanta waiting in the NLCS and then the 106-win Astros, the favorites to advance in the American League, lurking in the World Series. What a gantlet.
In fact, no team in history has ever had to hurdle three 100-win teams en route to winning the World Series. San Diego faces the possibility of having to beat four. Thus, it seems like the Padres should have longer World Series odds than +3000 (FanDuel). New York’s number is +950, also at FanDuel.
Padres vs. Mets Pitching Matchups
In their six-game season series — June 6-8 in San Diego and July 22-24 in NY — the Padres won four times. Included were a pair of dominating performances by RHP Yu Darvish (16-8, 3.10 ERA), who worked seven innings both times and gave up a total of six hits and one run (earned).
He’s projected to be the Game 1 starter against New York RHP Max Scherzer (11-5, 2.28), who will be making his 22nd postseason start.
Next up for San Diego is lefty Blake Snell (8-10, 3.38), who has a 1.61 ERA his past five starts. He pitched for Tampa Bay in the 2020 World Series.
But here’s where it gets tricky for New York. Manager Buck Showalter has mentioned he could be tempted to hold off on using ace Jacob deGrom (5-4, 3.08) in this spot and move up Chris Bassitt (15-9, 3.42), especially if New York wins the opener. Showalter is apparently looking ahead to hoping to use deGrom in the opener vs. LA if the Mets sweep.
If there’s a Game 3, the Padres’ Joe Musgrove (10-8, 2.93 ERA) is set to go.
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Padres vs. Mets Offensive Analysis
At the plate, the Mets appear to have an edge, having scored 67 more runs than San Diego this season.
They boast the league’s batting champion in second baseman Jeff McNeil (.326), who teams with shortstop Francisco Lindor, fifth in RBIs with 107, for arguably the best middle infield pair in the league. And then there’s first baseman Pete Alonso, who’s fourth in the majors in homers with 40 and second in RBIs with 131.
A couple of months ago, the Padres anticipated having perhaps the most dynamic middle of the order in baseball with incumbent Manny Machado (32 HRs) joined at the trade deadline by slugger Juan Soto from Washington. And later the team was filled with anticipation for the return from season-long IL of Fernando Tatis, who led the NL with homers last year with 42. But Soto hasn’t shown his power yet, with only six homers the past two months, and then Tatis infamously was clobbered with a PED suspension and never did play in 2022.
NL Wild-Card: Phillies vs. Cardinals odds
Padres vs. Mets NL Wild-Card Prediction
In summation, can the Mets overcome the torment of having blown a 10.5-game division lead and plummeting unexpectedly to the wild-card round? This on the heels of squandering a five-game division lead entering August last season and missing the postseason entirely.
Are deGrom (blister on middle finger of pitching hand) and Scherzer (recovering from an oblique injury) really, really OK?
With those questions, the choice is San Diego to advance, especially with relief ace Josh Hader coming on strong late in the season and with Machado, and maybe even Soto, coming through at-bat.
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