This article is part of our MLB Picks series.
The Playoff Teams are Determined but Not the Seedings
At the start of the week, I believed there would be the potential for three or even four teams in the AL still competing for the second and third wild-card berths. The Rays had a stranglehold on the top wild-card berth for the past couple of months and were more involved with trying to chase down the AL East division champion Orioles.
The same in the NL, with up to four teams competing for the second and third wild-card berths. In the span of about two hours last night, the playoffs were all decided, starting with the Marlins defeating the Pirates. Initially, you may think the season is over, but the seeding is still up in the air entering the last day of the regular season.
Tops on the list Sunday are the AL West-leading Rangers, who have a one-game lead over the reigning world-champion Astros. If Texas lose their final game to the Mariners and the Astros defeat the Diamondbacks, Astros would win the division, the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye by virtue of winning the season series over the Rangers. The division loser still earns the second wild-card berth but would have to play a highly unpredictable three-game series against the Rays. The Rangers won the season series against the Blue Jays, so if all three teams tie with 90 wins, the Astros get the bye and the division crown, the Rangers the second wild-card berth, and the Blue Jays the third wild-card berth.
In the National League, everything is set in place except for the second and third wild-card berths. On Thursday night, the Marlins were in New York, leading 2-1 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning over the Mets. If the Marlins win and the Diamondbacks lose, the Marlins are in the second wild-card berth and do not have to play the remaining four outs of the suspended game in NYC. If they both lose, the Marlins get the second wild-card berth by virtue of winning the season series over the Diamondbacks. If the Marlins lose and the Diamondbacks win, then the Marlins lose the suspended game, they become the third and final wild-card team and the Diamondbacks get the second.
The Best Bets to Make for the Last Game of the Regular Season
One certainty for Sunday's MLB action in games that matter is that Cristian Javier is starting for the Astros in their road game against the Diamondbacks. He has posted a 9-5 record in 30 starts with a 4.67 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP, striking out 155 batters over 156 innings of work. He has pitched his best ball recently, posting a 3.68 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP with 23 strikeouts over his last three starts (14.2 innings).
The Diamondbacks have important decisions to make regarding how many pitchers they may be forced to use to win this game. Remember, too, that every game starts at the same time to be fair to all contenders. Kyle Nelson is scheduled to make the start, something he's done only twice in his career, neither time for more than 1.1 innings. So, he would be the opener and then they must decide almost inning-by-inning what to do on the mound, which will be in direct relationship to the score of the Marlins game.
A MLB Betting Algorithm
The following betting system has gone 32-14, a 70 percent record, averaging a -145 wager and earning a 30 percent ROI over the past five seasons. The requirements are to bet on favorites following two consecutive games in which no more than three runs were scored and facing a foe coming off a game in which they scored no more than one run. With the Astros winning 2-1 on Friday and 1-0 on Saturday, that gives the following best bet for the final day of the regular season:
- Astros moneyline (DraftKings -170)