The wild-card games are in the books, and now the real MLB playoffs begin. The American League Divisional Series get underway on Thursday with two games. The Houston Astros are -135 favorites over the Chicago White Sox in the series opener while the Tampa Bay Rays are -160 favorites at home against the Boston Red Sox.
If you're not feeling confident in picking a winner, betting on props is a great way to become invested in these postseason games. Below are a few player props that are intriguing, courtesy of BetMGM.
Yordan Alvarez had a solid bounce-back season for the Houston Astros after missing almost all of last season due to injury. The Astros' slugger hit .277 on the season and he's batting clean up in Game 1 of this series.
In his brief major league career, Alvarez has faced White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn 11 times. Alvarez has 5 hits in those 11 at-bats with one home run. Obviously, the sample size is small but with Alvarez batting left-handed, he has an advantage over the right-handed Lynn. Like most right-handed pitchers, Lynn doesn't perform as well against left-handed batters.
I think there's value in laying the juice on Alvarez to record a hit on Thursday. He's nearly a .280 hitter on the season, he's going against a right-handed starting pitcher and he's had great success against Lynn in the small sample size we've seen. Alvarez is currently -150 to record a hit at BetMGM.
Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for the Boston Red Sox to open their ALDS series against the Tampa Bay Rays. At first glance, Rodriguez's 4.74 ERA is far from impressive. However, his season-long numbers never did recover from his brutal start to the year. Over the past two months, Rodriguez has been much better. Since Aug. 1, Rodriguez has a 3.26 ERA over 58 innings.
One impressive number on Rodriguez's stat line is his 185 strikeouts in 157 and 2/3 innings pitched. He's averaging 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings. This was the ninth-best mark amongst all starting pitchers this season. This is the angle we'll be attacking with Rodriguez tonight.
The Tampa Bay Rays struck out 9.52 times per game during the regular season. Only the Cubs and Marlins struck out a higher rate. The Rays also had the third-highest strikeout rate against lefties this season.
Rodriguez made four starts against the Rays this season. He had at least six strikeouts in three of those starts. In the only start he didn't reach six strikeouts, he was knocked out in the fourth inning.
If Rodriguez can give us five innings on Thursday night, I think he has a very good chance of going over 5.5 strikeouts.
Stats from FanGraphs