Can you think of a better way to start the MLB playoffs than a matchup between the rival Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees?
The American League wild-card race came down to the wire, and the Red Sox and Yankees finished with identical 92-70 records — one game ahead of another AL East team, the Toronto Blue Jays.
There were some bumps along the way, but the Red Sox finished well over their preseason win total projection of just 80.5 games. When the season began, the Red Sox were considered relative longshots to make the playoffs at all. At BetMGM, Boston opened the season at +275 to reach the postseason and -375 to miss the postseason.
It came down to the last day of the regular season with the Red Sox facing the Washington Nationals on the road. Things looked dicey when the Nationals opened up a 5-1 lead in the fifth, but Boston rallied back and tied it at 5-5 in the seven. In the top of the ninth, Rafael Devers delivered a clutch two-run homer to put the Sox ahead and ultimately send his team to the playoffs.
The Yankees, meanwhile, were at one point considered one of the season’s biggest disappointments. The Yankees were only three games above .500 (46-43) at the All-Star break. From there, they played .630 ball the rest of the way, including a 13-game winning streak during the month of August.
The Yanks locked up their wild-card spot by beating the Rays 1-0 on Sunday and now return to Fenway Park, where they are less than two weeks removed from a three-game sweep.
The stakes will be raised even higher this time around.
With Gerrit Cole on the mound, the Yankees are -125 favorites at BetMGM with the total set at eight runs. Cole enters the postseason with a 16-8 record and a 3.23 earned-run average. In four starts against Boston this season, Cole has gone 22 innings and allowed 12 earned runs. Cole hasn’t been sharp as of late, allowing 15 earned runs over his last three regular season outings.
The Red Sox will counter with Nathan Eovaldi, who is 11-9 with a 3.75 ERA. Eovaldi has started six times against the Yankees. The most recent did not go well. On Sept. 24, Eovaldi lasted just 2.2 innings while allowing seven earned runs, tied for the most he has allowed all year. Eovaldi went at least five innings in his other four starts against the Yankees, allowing just seven earned runs over those 23.2 innings.
The bets for Tuesday night's game are pretty split at BetMGM, with 58% on the Yankees and 42% on the Red Sox. However, there was one big bet on the Yankees — $100,000 at -125. That bettor would win $80,000.
With the total of eight runs, 66% of the bets and 74% of the money are on the over.
Chargers win and cover on Monday Night Football
Week 4 of the NFL season was capped off by a really strong performance by the Los Angeles Chargers, who knocked off the previously unbeaten Las Vegas Raiders, 28-14.
The Chargers, who jumped out to a 21-0 lead, were 3-point favorites. Things looked good for Chargers bettors in the first half, until the Raiders cut it to 21-14 late in the third. But the defense put the clamps on the Raiders the rest of the way and the Chargers comfortably covered the spread.
With the Chargers winning and covering, favorites went 8-8 ATS in Week 4. The game went under the total of 51.5, meaning unders finished the week 9-7.
With the Chargers, Raiders and Denver Broncos all 3-1 and the Kansas City Chiefs (still the Super Bowl betting favorite at BetMGM) next at 2-2, the AFC West could be the most exciting division in football.
Most interesting Week 6 college football lines
Texas opened as a 3.5-point underdog against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry and that number has barely moved. The Longhorns (4-1) are back in the Top 25 after wins over Texas Tech and TCU. Against TTU, the Longhorns put up 70 points. They were much less impressive against TCU. How will this offense perform against Oklahoma? OU’s explosive plays are way down, but the defense has improved and this team is finding ways to win.
Both of these teams got reality checks last week, getting blown out by the top two teams in the country. Arkansas got shut out, 37-0, by Georgia. Ole Miss got dominated, 42-21, by Alabama.
That said, I’m surprised how quickly this line has moved toward Ole Miss — opening at four and ticking up towards a touchdown. Arkansas is 9-4 against the spread as an underdog during Sam Pittman’s tenure as head coach. As an underdog of fewer than seven points, Arkansas is 4-1 ATS with three outright wins with Pittman as coach.
The biggest game of the weekend has a small point spread and a shrinking total, now down to just 41.5. Iowa has feasted on turnovers all year, forcing 16 total. Seven of those came in last Friday’s win over Maryland. Penn State’s offense has turned it over only three times this season. PSU has struggled running the ball, but has popped quite a few big plays, including 10 of at least 40 yards.
Much like the spread from the Nebraska vs. Michigan State game a few weeks ago, this immediately jumped out. Nebraska has this perception of a bumbling program under Scott Frost. Some of that is earned, but the Huskers have quietly been playing much better and now have a big opportunity at home against an undefeated, top-10 Michigan team. Can the Huskers get the high-profile win they have been coveting?
There’s also NBA, NHL preseason
The Red Sox vs. Yankees game is the biggest betting event of the day. But if you’re not into baseball, there are four preseason NBA games and two preseason NHL games on the schedule for Tuesday night.
In the NBA we’ve got:
Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks (-2)
Milwaukee Bucks at Memphis Grizzlies (-3.5)
Washington Wizards at Houston Rockets (-1)
Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls (-5.5)
In the NHL we’ve got:
Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning (-165)
Seattle Kraken at Vegas Golden Knights (-135)