After the MLB regular season ended with multiple tiebreakers Monday, the stage is set for the one-game Wildcard round. The Yankees host the Athletics in the A.L. Wildcard game for the right to face the Red Sox in the Divisional Round.
Here, we’ll break down the sports betting lines and recommend where to place your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook for this contest. This advice is also relevant for fantasy contests on sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
Keep an eye on injury news and weather right up until first pitch, and check the lineups Wednesday afternoon for updates.
A.L. Wild Card Baseball Betting
Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees
Over/Under: 8.5 runs
The Athletics won 63 of their final 92 games to make the playoffs in a loaded American League. The Yankees started red hot with the second-highest wOBA (.342) during the first half of the year but posted a below-average .245 batting average after the ASB.
The Yankees (-192) are heavily favored across the board. This is partially because of the positive perception of sluggers and the negative perception of the Athletics bullpen-heavy approach.
But let’s focus on the less-respected strategy first. Oakland will use rookie RHP Liam Hendriks as an “opener” more than a starter. Hendriks posted a 2.08 ERA in September and pitched seven scoreless innings over his last seven starts, all of which lasted just one inning.
When Hendriks departs, the A’s could turn to Trevor Cahill, Daniel Mengden, or Yusmeiro Petit as options to pitch 3-4 innings. They’ve also used a wide array of relievers on an inning-by-inning basis. In the later innings, Oakland can use a powerful combination of Shawn Kelley, Fernando Rodney, and Jeurys Familia to set up closer Blake Treinen. Oakland’s bullpen held the third-lowest ERA (3.37) and the second-lowest BAA (.220) in the Majors this season.
The key factor at the end of the day will be home runs. The Yankees hit an MLB record 267 bombs, and the A’s finished third in the Majors with 227 homers. The boom-bust Yankees lineup has the fifth-lowest LD Rate (20.3%) but the second-highest HR/FB ratio (16.4%) when facing RHPs this season. The Athletics posted the lowest GB Rate (39.7%) in the Majors and also have an aggressive approach.
In Showdown DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel, Aaron Judge will be a very popular play considering he hit .352 with a 1.170 OPS and 35.3% HR/FB ratio at Yankee Stadium this year. Judge is 12-for-37 with 4 HRs in his career against Oakland and hit .313 with 4 HRs over 48 at-bats last postseason.
Luke Voit is an intriguing GPP play after he hit .333 with 14 HRs over his final 39 appearances this season. Gary Sanchez is expected to catch for the Yanks, and while he’s a defensive liability, he has the potential to go yard as well. Gleyber Torres and Didi Gregorius would be the preferred Cash plays in the Yankees lineup.
Now, the Yankees will start RHP Luis Severino. He posted an impressive 2.74 ERA with a matching 2.72 FIP at home this season. Yet he struggled down the stretch with a 5.57 ERA during the second half and coughed up 7 runs (6 ER) over two short outings against the A’s this year.
Current A’s are 16-for-59 (.271) in their careers against Severino, led by veteran switch hitter Jed Lowrie (6-for-11). The Athletics posted the second-highest wOBA (.345) with the most runs scored (160) in the A.L. over the last 30 days. In short, they are fully capable of getting to Severino early.
Severino allowed three runs and recorded just one out before getting pulled in the first inning of the A.L. Wildcard game last year. The Yankees came back to win that contest, 8-4, over the Twins. Manager Aaron Boone has said that Severino will have a short leash once again. He could turn to LHP J.A. Happ or RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who has been off since last Wednesday.
Despite the Yankees’ iconic reputation, over 65% of total bets are coming in on Oakland (+190) at superior odds. Hey, the public likes a dog. The Athletics are the hottest team in the American League and are well-managed with an excellent bullpen.
The most popular bet going down at Yankee Stadium is the Over (8.5 runs). It’s a venue with the sixth-highest Run Factor and HR Factor in the MLB this season, per ESPN. Approximately 80 percent of public money is coming in on the Over side of that line. That said, 54% of the total money is on the Under indicating the sharp said is going there.
The Yankees were 53-28 at home this season, and Severino was 10-2. He earned some postseason experience last October and will likely be better. While the Athletics’ bullpen-by-committee method has worked during the regular season, there is more opportunity for something to go wrong with fresh arms coming in.
Taking a leap of faith on the Yankees despite the poor odds is worth a gamble. A big swing from one of their sluggers could send them into a high-profile matchup with the Red Sox in the ALDS. That would be great for MLB ratings too, that is, if you’re a cynic about umpires and referees in professional sports.
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