Every game in a seven-game series is of supreme importance. That's why the playoffs are fun.
Wednesday night seems even more important than usual for the Philadelphia Phillies.
There's a huge difference between a Game 4 World Series win over the Houston Astros, and a loss. With a win, the Phillies grab a 3-1 lead. They'd have a chance to clinch at home, perhaps with Zack Wheeler on the mound in Game 5. They'd force the Astros into winning three straight games.
With a loss, the Phillies are back to even in the World Series, and would have to go back to Houston and win at least one there. That's clearly doable, but Houston would become a pretty big favorite to win the series if they can win Wednesday.
And with all that on the line, the Phillies and Astros are both -110 odds to win Game 4 at BetMGM.
The Phillies are a remarkable story, though also one that highlights the randomness of the postseason. Like the Atlanta Braves last season, the Phillies weren't great in the regular season but got hot at the right time. Philadelphia was 87-75, the 11th-best record of the 12 postseason teams. But after Tuesday's 7-0 win in Game 3, they're -150 favorites to win the World Series. Good or bad, that's what happens when you expand the playoffs.
Philadelphia goes into Wednesday's crucial game with Aaron Nola on the mound, and they have to feel good about that. Nola had a fine season with a 3.25 ERA. He'll be matched against Christian Javier, who had a 2.54 ERA in the regular season. The Astros chose to not move up Justin Verlander to Game 4 after Monday's rainout.
The Astros have been the better team since the start of April, and it wasn't really close. They won 106 games in the regular season. That doesn't seem to matter now. Houston has dropped two of the first three games and finds itself in an urgent situation for Wednesday's pivotal game. If you're betting on Game 4 with an analytical angle, it's hard to pass on Houston in a big spot. But there's something pretty special about this Philadelphia run.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Wednesday:
Some more MAC-tion
There are two more college football games from the MAC on a Wednesday.
Northern Illinois is a 6-point favorite over Central Michigan and Bowling Green is favored by 4.5 over Western Michigan. For fans of midweek college football, the MAC has you covered.
11 games in the NBA
The top game in the NBA on Wednesday is probably the Boston Celtics at the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs came into the season with a lot of excitement for a good young roster, and they're 5-1. The Cavs lost on opening night and then have won five in a row, including an overtime win at Boston on Oct. 28. Boston is a 2.5-point favorite on the road, and the Cavaliers look like a good bet as a home underdog. There's no reason to believe their start is fluky.
Another very interesting game is the surprising 6-2 Utah Jazz against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are 5.5-point home favorites but it's hard to deny how good the Jazz have looked to start the season, even if nobody saw it coming.
NHL has a pair of games
The Philadelphia Flyers won't get much attention on Wednesday night, but they play at the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs are a big -300 favorite. In the other game Wednesday the Pittsburgh Penguins, off blowing a 5-2 lead to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, are -125 favorites at the Buffalo Sabres.
What's the best bet?
I'll go with the Cavs, who I think are going to be very good all season. I like them getting points at home. But for a World Series pick, I'll take the Astros. They were embarrassed on Tuesday night but were the much better team all season. We'll see if that matters.