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MLB Best Bets for October 1

Nestor Cortes

Nestor Cortes

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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Happy Friday, and Happy October! We’ve got a big slate on the diamond for our viewing pleasure, and I’m ready to sweat out quite a few bets. With that said, I’ve picked out two that I really like, and without further ado let’s get to ‘em.

Tampa Bay Rays (+105) vs. New York Yankees (-125) Total: 8.5

I’m going to be sticking with meaningful baseball this weekend, and one of the few games that should mean something will take place in the Bronx. I think the Rays are at a significant disadvantage here against Nestor Cortes and the Bombers.

The Rays aren’t great against lefties, ranking in the bottom half of the league in OPS to southpaws and striking out in 25.5% of those plate appearances. Cortes presents a difficult task as a high-strikeout arm, checking in with a very high strikeout rate of 27.5%. That is great, as is the fact that he’s limited hard contact expertly, registering a 6.9% barrel rate thus far and adding to that with a 7% walk rate.

The Rays are lackadaisical at this point in the season, having already wrapped up the best record in the AL, and may even be resting a player or two. I also don’t think they’ll be using their high-leverage arms very much — if at all — giving Shane McClanahan no support. The lefty has had big issues this year with barrels and exit velocity, and will be facing perhaps the strongest team in baseball right now in those categories, and one which is top-10 in OPS against lefties to boot.

Edge: Yankees -125

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Milwaukee Brewers (+185) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (-236) Total: 8

The other meaningful game I’m looking at here is in L.A., where the Dodgers’ elimination number in the NL West stands at two. They can’t afford another loss, and I don’t see one coming against Milwaukee.


The Brewers have been in the middle of the pack judging by just about every offensive metric over the past two weeks, and with nothing to play for they seem to be in cruise control. They’ll be tasked with facing Clayton Kershaw, who is trying to ramp back up to 100% in his fourth start since being activated off the injured list. He is just a start removed from an eight-strikeout outing against Cincinnati, and I think he should go deep into this one.

L.A. owns the best OPS in the league over the last week and can be trusted here even against a lefty. Eric Lauer has had issues historically (and this season) walking hitters, which is always something the Dodgers feast on. I’ll keep believing in this offense.

Edge: Dodgers First Five -0.5 (-140)

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