When it comes to wagering on baseball in September, it should always be a priority to consider betting on teams that are in contention for the postseason, and preferably in a matchup facing also-rans tossing out prospective or journeyman pitchers.
While every game has its price, the market price should always end up as your determining factor. But, it is always best to know that your wager is on a team with something to play for.
However, it would be wise to keep your eye on teams that are having second-half success despite their second-division standing, such as the Phillies this season.
While baseball has been relegated to the sportsbook’s smaller screens on the weekend, there are still several matchups of pennant contenders to warrant keen interest this week.
Houston Astros at Texas Rangers: Baseball fever is back in the Lone Star state as the Astros led the Rangers by just a half-game games in the American League West entering the four-game series in Arlington on Monday.
The Astros send Dallas Keuchel to face the hosts, as the Houston lefty has had some notable success against most of the top Rangers’ bats, including Adrian Beltre and Texas’ regular left-handed bats. The Rangers send fellow lefty Derek Holland to the hill, but righties Carlos Gomez, Jose Altuve and Marwin Gonzalez have a good looking matchup, so consider laying Houston as a favorite of up to around -135 here.
Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates and Cubs are on a collision course to meet in the one-game wild card playoff, although Pittsburgh still has its sights set on first-place St. Louis. The teams conclude a three-game set on Thursday as the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks faces the Bucs’ Charlie Morton.
Morton has fared pretty well against Cubs’ stars Anthony Rizzo and Dexter Fowler, but Chris Coghlan and Starlin Castro have had some decent success against him. Meanwhile, some of the Pirates’ key bats have fared well against Kendricks, including Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Josh Harrison and Gregory Polanco.
Consider playing Piitsburgh at around -140 in the matchup at PNC Park.
New York Yankees at NY Mets: It’s a new baseball world, as the Mets are striding to a sure postseason berth, while the Yankees are currently atop the wild card standings in what is looking like a futile chase of powerful Toronto. Now a marquee event in the history of the Subway Series in 2015, as talk of another World Series matchup creeps into the sports talk shows in the Big Apple, however tempered by the loss of Bombers’ star Mark Teixiera for the rest of the season with a leg fracture.
Rookie Steven Matz faces the Yankees’ Michael Pineda in the series opener, as the Mets’ rookie tries to make his case for the postseason roster. Pineda was in the midst of his terrific start when he pitched 7 2/3 innings against these Mets in April, allowing one run and five hits, while striking out seven and walking none in a 6-1 Yanks win at the Stadium. Now, he is looking to find any rhythm, especially early in his starts.
Meanwhile, the Mets are seemingly clicking in every facet and manager Terry Collins is pushing all the right buttons. Look for the Mets to have closed the gap since that early season performance, as Curtis Granderson is a likely target to keep his hot streak going, having reached on four of seven plate appearances against the Yanks’ starter. Take the Mets at up to or around a -130 favorite.
Pittsburgh Pirates at LA Dodgers: Surely there is enough room on the screens for this night matchup out west between these sure playoff teams. And consider the matchup of top hurlers Francisco Liriano, of Pittsburgh, and Dodgers co-ace Zack Greinke.
Look for the aces to be on their game in this matchup, while their are a couple of top hitters to target in this one in the Dodgers’ Justin Turner and the Bucs’ Andrew McCutchen. We are likely getting the Pirates in a good spot as a dog here, as they are certainly are playing with postseason positioning implications.
Ramon Scott is a Southern California-based sportswriter, covering the preps to the pros for over 25 years. Email: [email protected].