We’ve got some truly amazing matchups for the first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs and fans have every reason to be jacked up. Both in the American League and National League, four teams are ready to try to advance to the Championship Series. Who will get the job done? In this piece, we have MLB picks for the Division Series of the postseason. Get ready for what should be some thrilling action.
Tampa Bay better not blow it going up against the Boston Red Sox
The champions of the AL East Tampa Bay better not blow it going up against the Boston Red Sox. Tampa Bay was nothing short of spectacular in the regular season, basically cruising to a division title. This was a bit of a surprise, as many out there thought that either Boston or New York would be able to return to their elite form and claim the East. That wasn’t the case.
Instead, both the Red Sox and the Yankees had to crawl their way to the AL Wild Card Game, with the two teams finalizing things in the last weekend of the regular season. Again, this was not expected. In that Wild Card Game, the Red Sox took it to Gerrit Cole, making the star pitcher look average. Boston dominated New York to set up this series with Tampa Bay.
With that said, the Rays are big-time favorites for this series thanks to their strong pitching and hitting. The Red Sox may have won the Wild Card Game, but this team’s lineup sure isn’t what it used to be. There’s also plenty of concern for J.D. Martinez and his sprained ankle. If he’s limited in this series, it’s going to be a big-time bummer for Boston and manager Alex Cora.
According to the Las Vegas sportsbooks, the Rays hold -160 MLB odds to win the series and move on to the ALCS. As for the Red Sox, they’ve got a bit of an uphill climb, as they’ve been set at +135. It will be imperative for the Rays to keep on doing what they’ve been doing and not get caught up in the moment. We think they’ll be able to take care of business, as they’re our pick to win the series.
Houston vs. Chicago will be another incredible series
Elsewhere in the American League, Houston vs. Chicago will be an incredible series for fans to enjoy. The Astros, still hated by so many because of its sign-stealing scandal from 2017, is getting ready to take on the AL Central champs in the White Sox. Houston went on to win the AL West again. It’s always great when you have two division winners meeting in the first round of the postseason.
On paper, both teams are absolutely loaded when it comes to pitching and hitting. For the White Sox, they battled countless injuries throughout the year, but stars like Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, and others are ready to roll for this series. Manager Tony La Russa was under plenty of scrutinies throughout the year, but you can’t argue he’s done more than a fine job with this young club.
As for the Astros, Dusty Baker continues to cement his legacy as an all-time great manager. He’s got the Hall of Fame written all over him and a World Series title with the Astros will only make things even sweeter for him. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and others will be ready to light up the dish whenever they have the bat in their hands going up against the White Sox.
Per the oddsmakers, the Astros are the favorites with their -125 odds to win the series, while Chicago has been set +105. This really should be a back-and-forth series and we wouldn’t be surprised whatsoever if this were to reach a fifth and final game. So, who will end up moving on to the ALCS? While it’s tough to make a pick in this case, we’re going to give the advantage to Houston. Agree? Place a bet with our MLB betting sites, like Bovada, today.
Over in the National League, will the Braves be able to upset the Brewers? This is something the Atlanta faithful sure is hoping for, as the NL East champs have entered the postseason with plenty of confidence. At the same time, the exact same thing can be said for Milwaukee, as they recorded an impressive year as well and took home the NL Central title.
This series really has what it takes to be an interesting one. For the Braves, though, they’re going to look to their stars to deliver. Obviously, that includes guys like Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies. They’re going to play some motivated baseball, especially knowing that teammate Ronald Acuña Jr. will be cheering them on despite not being able to play because of his torn ACL suffered earlier in the year.
For Milwaukee, the team’s supporters are hoping that Christian Yelich will be able to wake up from his slump. Usually a star slugger, Yelich has struggled with consistency this year. Can he bounce back in this series? Milwaukee is the favorite with -150 odds and Atlanta is the underdog at +125. Despite those odds, we think an upset is on the way. That’s right, we’re going with the Braves as our pick to win the series over the Brewers.
Chris Wassel is a skilled scribe who possesses a fervor for both sports and entertainment. Boasting a journalism background and over two decades of experience, he has crafted pieces that encompass a diverse array of sports including hockey, basketball, football, and others. His writing is characterized by its lucidity and sharpness, and provides a unique viewpoint on entertainment and political matters. While Chris primarily focuses on sports writing, he also writes about a wide range of subjects.