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MLB: HOME TEAMS FAVORED FOR GAME 1

Philadelphia and Chicago are favored as the MLB Playoffs kickoff with two early games on Wednesday.

Sportsbook.com has Dime Lines for most MLB games so make sure you wager on the playoffs here to take advantage. You can also find a complete list of futures odds on our Live Odds page.

Here’s a brief look at the two early games.

Milwaukee Brewers (+185) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-200)
Starting Pitchers
MIL – Yovani Gallardo (0-0, 1.88 ERA)
PHI – Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09 ERA)

Milwaukee is in dire need of a pitcher stepping up other than CC Sabathia and they hope that someone is Game 1 starter Yovani Gallardo. With Ben Sheets out to injury, the 22-year-old Gallardo is the Brewers best starter after Sabathia but his health and preparedness remain a concern.

Gallardo pitched only four games this season. He started the eason on the disabled list with a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. He returned late in April and pitched brilliantly before tearing the ACL in his right knee in a collision with Reed Johnson of the Chicago Cubs. Amazingly, Gallardo returned to the mound after the collision to get the final outs and complete the inning.

However, after returning to the dugout on that May 1st day, Gallardo didn’t make another trip to the mound until last week when the Brewers needed a strong performance to keep their playoff hopes alive. Gallardo responded with four innings, allowing just one run on three hits. Manager Dale Sveum removed him after just 67 pitches but will likely be looking for more from the young pitcher on Wednesday.

Philadelphia also has a young pitcher heading to the mound for the opening game but 24-year-old Cole Hamels has playoff experience to draw from. Hamels pitched 6 2/3 innings against the Colorado Rockies in last year’s postseason, giving up three hits and two runs in a 4-2 loss.

Hamels pitched 33 times this season and has 84 career games, compared to Gallardo’s 24 career appearances. Hamels’ 3.09 ERA this season is solid; especially when you consider his monthly ERA hasn’t been above 2.88 since May.

Both these teams can hit the longball, with Milwaukee hitting 198 home runs and Philadelphia sending 204 over the wall. The big question is whether the Brewers can generate music without the homerun, something they had trouble doing all season.

Milwaukee was 17th in the league with an average of 4.67 runs per game while the Phillies scored an average of 4.93 runs per game. Oddsmakers have set the Total for Game 1 at 8.5.

L.A. Dodgers (+146) @ Chicago Cubs (-156)

Starting Pitchers
L.A. – Derek Lowe
CHI – Ryan Dempster

The L.A. Dodgers enter the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in baseball, winning 18 of 23 games from August 30th to September 24th. The Dodgers were red-hot down the stretch as they overtook the Arizona Diamondbacks atop NL West division and relaxed over the final weekend when they lost three of their four games.

Veteran pitcher and a former World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox, Derek Lowe gets the call for L.A. in Game 1. The 35-year-old had an up and down season but, like the team, has been hot of late. Lowe ended his September with a 3-0 record and 0.59 ERA in five starts. In his two no-decisions, he pitched 10 innings and gave up no runs.

Despite his production and past success, Lowe and the Dodgers are underdogs as they go against the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs finished the season with the second best record in baseball at 97-64. The offense put up 5.31 runs per game, also second in the majors.

It’s not a lineup that Lowe is scared of though. The veteran has faced them twice this season and has held the Cubs to 10 hits and three runs in his 14 innings of work.

Chicago’s pitcher, Ryan Dempster has also had success against Wednesday’s competition. Dempster is 1-0 in two appearances against the Dodgers with the Cubs winning both of those games this season.

Cubs backers will be interested to see how the former reliever turned starter holds up into the playoffs. Chicago lost four of Dempster’s five September starts and limited him to five innings in his last two appearances as the team prepared for the playoffs.

Despite that, Dempster had a 2-1 record with a 3.00 ERA through the last month of the regular season and enters with a surprising 17-6 record and 2.96 ERA in his first season as a starter since 2003. Even more impressive, Dempster is 14-3 with a 2.86 ERA at Wrigley Field.

Will he lead the Cubs to victory in Game 1? Check out the latest betting trends then pick your side and place your wager on our Live Odds page.

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