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Scherzer to Lead Mets and Other Wild Card Predictions

Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry has joined the team and his two shows have you covered all season long. Spend weekdays at noon with the Fantasy Football Happy Hour and then, every Sunday at 11am getting ready for kickoff with the Fantasy Football Pregame. Watch both shows live on Peacock and catch replays for the weekday show on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

The playoffs have arrived, and this postseason is the first to feature four, best-of-three wild card series. Dive into each series with the NBC Sports EDGE MLB analysts who have given a few thoughts on each series including the outcome.

Our friends at PointsBet have spiced up their offerings for the postseason with interesting player props boosted for each series. Our team at NBC Sports has highlighted one boosted prop per series.

As you will see, our analysts disagree regarding the outcome of each series. Which side are you on or is there a player prop you are sweating?

Tampa Bay Rays (+105) vs. Cleveland Indians (-125)

Drew Silva (@drewsilv) Guardians win 2-1

These are probably the two weakest overall rosters in the 12-team postseason field, but the Rays were leaking more oil than any contender -- and even most non-contenders -- down the stretch with 12 losses in their final 16 games. The magic will fully run out against this young-upstart, contact-heavy, pitching-driven Guardians outfit.

DJ Short (@djshort): Guardians win 2-0

We are used to the Rays being better than the sum of their parts, but this is one of the weakest teams they have had in the postseason in recent years. The Guardians can pitch, and they have the better pieces on offense as well, even if they are not a powerhouse. I think they take care of business quickly for a date with the Yankees.

Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey): Guardians win 2-1

This is a perplexing series for me, because in theory the pitching is so much better on Tampa Bay’s side of things. With that said, the Guardians are just about the best team in baseball at not striking out, and that should complicate things for a team which relies heavily upon swings and misses.

John Venezia (@_JohnnyVTV): Rays win 2-1

It is the least sexy matchup of the Wild Card round, but it might be the most intriguing. The winner of this series might actually be standing in the ALCS as I believe either team will bring down the Yankees. The reason I am going with the Rays is simple; been there, done that. TB has the postseason pedigree of the last few years that despite having an average at best roster, Kevin Cash knows how to get the most out of his team. If the lineup is even half decent with Wander Franco back, I do not believe there is a better 1-2 pitching punch in the AL with Shane McClanahan and the return of Tyler Glasnow.

Fun Wild Card Sweat: Rays’ shortstop Wander Franco is listed at 25:1 at PointsBet to have the most hits of any player in the WIld Card Round. Guardians’ outfielder Steven Kwan is the favorite at 20:1.


Philadelphia Phillies (+115) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (-140)

Drew Silva (@drewsilv) Phillies win 2-1

Philly is a very top-heavy team, but front-end talent is all that is required to skate through this new best-of-three Wild Card round. St. Louis struggled in the regular season against hard-throwing right-handed aces, and the Phils boast two of them in Game 1 starter Zack Wheeler and Game 2 starter Aaron Nola.

DJ Short (@djshort): Cardinals win 2-1

If the Phillies win this series, it will likely be their starting pitching which carries them. Aaron Nola has had a very good year and Zack Wheeler has looked solid since returning (0.60 ERA in three starts). However, the Cardinals are the superior all-around team, and those little things matter in the playoffs. I am expecting tight games but look for the Cardinals to meet the Braves in the NLDS.

Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey): Phillies win 2-1

It feels impossible that the Cardinals don’t pick up at least one win here, maybe at Busch Stadium which has been a House of Horrors for the Phillies. In the end, though, José Quintana is an unserious Game 1 starter who will put St. Louis in a hole from which it will not escape. Trust Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler to take you to the promised land.

John Venezia (@_JohnnyVTV): Phillies win 2-0

Ahhhh, my World Series preseason winner. Don’t get me wrong, I HATE the city of Philadelphia. I hate the people (mostly), I hate the fans, I hate it all. However, I put my bias aside when it comes to money. My reasoning all along for Philly was simple; they have enough pitching and what should be an improved pen, as well as arguably a top 3 lineup in the MLB. Obviously there have been some shortcomings with Bryce Harper (and his thumb injury) as well as my boy Nick Castellanos. But the fact is they made it, they are here, and might be one of the teams that barely make it in but wreak havoc when they do. The Cardinals are a very good team, but none of their pitching scares me, and the lineup mainly consists of two or three guys.

Fun Wild Card Sweat: Cardinals’ 1st baseman and likely 2022 NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt is 20:1 at PointsBet to drive in the most runs of any player in the Wild Card Round. Last year’s NL MVP, Bryce Harper, is 28:1.

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Seattle Mariners (+140) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (-170)

Drew Silva (@drewsilv) Blue Jays win 2-0

Congrats to the Mariners for snapping the longest postseason drought in North American sports, but they are about to run into a gauntlet north of the border. With a nice balance of big bats and big arms, the Jays looked poised to bring an abrupt end to Seattle’s fairy-tale run. A marquee best-of-five ALDS matchup with the Astros looms next.

DJ Short (@djshort): Mariners win 2-1

Back in the playoffs for the first time since 2001, the Mariners have a little magic in them. That could quickly get snuffed out in the small sample of a series like this, but Seattle has a strong top-three in their rotation with Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, and Logan Gilbert and their bullpen is fantastic. That could be enough to neutralize the Blue Jays’ clear edge offensively. I think the Mariners get just enough from their lineup to move on to the division rival Astros.

Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey): Blue Jays win 2-0

If the Mariners do not win the Luis Castillo game, I fear they will not win a game at all in this series. Coming on the road against Alek Manoah, that is a real possibility. Logan Gilbert‘s underlying numbers suggest he is not quite the pitcher he appears to be, and if he has to pitch an elimination game in Toronto, I expect the worst. Perhaps we see another Jose Bautista-esque Grand Slam in Toronto.

John Venezia (@_JohnnyVTV): Blue Jays win 2-1

This makes me sad. This was my preseason ALCS matchup, and if a couple things went my way over the last few games, we would have a shot for it. You have heard me talking about my darling Mariners all season long, so if they won, I would not be upset. However, Toronto has been my AL winner all year long, so I need to stick with my convictions. This should be a tight series with the Jays edging it out in Game 3 with either José Berríos or Ross Stripling proving victorious over Logan Gilbert (likely). The one thing I have maintained for months is that I believe the Jays are the only team in the AL that can take down Houston.

Fun Wild Card Sweat: Toronto Blue Jays’ center fielder and 2017 World Series MVP George Springer is listed at 25:1 at PointsBet to accumulate the most total bases of any player in the Wild Card Round.

San Diego Padres (+150) vs. New York Mets (-180)

Drew Silva (@drewsilv) Mets win 2-0

If they had a different path, the Padres would be an intriguing dark horse team to perhaps march all the way through the NL side of the bracket. But they are heading into what is sure to be a raucous scene at Citi Field and will feel the wrath of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom. It is almost unfair that the Mets get to trot out those two in a best-of-three.

DJ Short (@djshort): Mets win 2-0

Recent results aside, Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom remain the best 1-2 punch in baseball. There has been some chatter about the Mets being cute with their rotation during the series, but they have a chance to swiftly move on to the Dodgers if they bring the big guns. While the Mets’ lineup has its share of flaws, they know how to work pitchers and they were more productive than the Padres this season. Throw out the regular season series at this point.

Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey): Padres win 2-1

I think you can actually make an argument here that you would rather have the Padres’ three starters than the Mets’. Yu Darvish has been splendid in the second half and has historically killed the Mets and shoved in the postseason. Blake Snell has been arguably the best pitcher in the NL the last month, and I say that as a longtime Blake Snell hater. Joe Musgrove is much better than Chris Bassitt. Jacob deGrom has struggled mightily down the stretch, and Max Scherzer has not quite looked himself either. There is major cause for concern if you are the Mets.

John Venezia (@_JohnnyVTV): Mets win 2-0

Did the Mets actually blow the division? Yes and no. Sure they had a 10.5 game lead, but they still won 100+ games. San Diego has a talented roster, but there has always been something missing for me even with the addition of Juan Soto. There is no better 1-2 punch in the MLB than DeGrom/Scherzer, as well as probably no better closer in the NL (maybe MLB) than Edwin Diaz. We never know which version of the Padres will show up, and given the lack of experience as a club, I think NYM moves on to face LAD.

Fun Wild Card Sweat: Pete Alonso of the New York Mets is listed at PointsBet at 16:1 to hit the most home runs of any player in the Wild Card Round. His teammate, Francisco Lindor, is 40:1.

Enjoy the games and enjoy the sweat.

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