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MLB Best Bets for October 8

Austin Riley

Austin Riley

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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We’re on to our first loaded slate of the Division Series, and there are four fantastic matchups to behold on Friday. With some supremely talented offenses getting started, the action should be electric across the games. I’ve picked out my favorite ways to get in on the action.

Chicago White Sox (+100) vs. Houston Astros (-121) Total: 8

This one is a little hard to call for me. I think the White Sox offense will roar back against a lefty — a spot where they’ve been great all year — but I don’t know if Lucas Giolito can hold off this surging Astros offense to get the win. With that, I’m going to bet on runs being scored.

One of the best-kept secrets in baseball this year was Giolito’s regression. His strikeout rate dropped 5%, and while he did a decent-enough job of limiting the damage with a 3.53 ERA, he’s hardly the same dominant pitcher we saw in 2020. Another one of those secrets is that Giolito was absolutely awful in day games this year, pitching to a 4.31 ERA in those 12 spots. It’s an issue he openly addressed earlier in the year, but one he has yet to get over.

So, I like an Astros offense which has a 123 wRC+ since the start of September to get some runs on the board against Giolito. I also like the White Sox, the fourth-best team against lefties this year, to score off Framber Valdez. While the southpaw has been a great sinker-baller, the White Sox are top-10 against the pitch and held a decent-enough ground ball rate against lefties at just over 44%. We should see a shootout.

Edge: Over 8

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Atlanta Braves (+135) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (-160) Total: 8

I realize Corbin Burnes is starting this game, so the Brewers deserve to be favored, but give me a break. This was one of the most sluggish offenses in the game down the stretch, and can’t be trusted at this price.

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Milwaukee had a 98 wRC+ in the second half to grade out as the 16th best offense in baseball, which is particularly troubling when you remember it had one of the very worst lineups in the game for much of the first half. This team had an offensive renaissance during the middle of the summer, but it feels more and more like a flash in the pan.

The Braves, on the other hand, come in with a 105 wRC+ over the last two weeks and are one of the few teams that has actually gotten to Burnes, touching him up for five runs on nine hits back in July. Burnes himself also hit a bit of a snag in September with a 2.42 ERA — a number that’s hardly bad, but isn’t quite up to his standards.

If you’re going to fade Corbin Burnes, this is as good a spot as any.

Edge: Braves +135

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