This article is part of our MLB Picks series.
Well, I'm happy to put the division series in the rearview window. The two favorites I backed (Brewers and Rays) lost while the underdogs I backed (White Sox and Giants) also lost. I correctly suggested betting the under in NLDS games between Atlanta and Milwaukee, but that wasn't enough to stop the bleeding.
In hindsight, the strategy I wish I'd recommended was to bet on all four underdogs, as the Giants very easily could have delivered along with Atlanta and Boston. The Rays pitching just simply wasn't up for the challenge — they were relying heavily on rookies — so Boston advancing seems to have been more a byproduct of the matchup. On the flip side, the White Sox were a legitimately good team that just ran into a buzz saw. The Giants/Dodgers matchup was indeed a tossup, while Atlanta being able to match pitching with the Brewers allowed Atlanta's offensive edge to be the difference in that series.
We've still got three series left to try to right the ship.
I actually think these series lines should be flipped — Atlanta has a better chance to upset Los Angeles than Boston does to take down Houston. My argument for that claim is that Max Fried, Charlie Morton and Ian Anderson are pitching as well as they have all season, while the Astros' offense looks completely unstoppable. Naturally, there will be a lot of people betting heavily on the Dodgers, while the Red Sox are the most public team left, so DraftKings needs to set the lines in a way where they get equal bets on both sides.
Houston Astros (-150) vs. Boston Red Sox (+125)
I think the move here is to just take the series bet of Astros -150. The pitching is pretty even, and while Boston's offense has come on strong, Houston's offense is the game-changing unit in this series.
If we want to look ahead a little, the Astros at +235 to win the World Series looks like decent value at this stage. It just looks like their top seven hitters are going to carry them to a title.
Los Angeles Dodgers (-220) vs. Atlanta (+185)
I like Atlanta +185, but I think there's even more value in betting some of the Series Correct Score and Series Spread lines. You could bet Atlanta wins 4-3 (+600) and Atlanta wins 4-2 (+750), and if you hit on one of the two you'll be up big. I'm going to rule out the Dodgers winning one game or fewer in this series, so if we bet Atlanta, there's more money to be made by betting on it being a six- or seven-game series win. My favorite bet of the series is Atlanta +1.5 games at +100, as this will win with any Atlanta series win or the Dodgers winning in seven games.