NL Divisional Series May Offer Nice Value Plays
by Harry Brewer - 10/02/2007
If you want to cash in on baseball during the playoffs, The National League Divisional Series might be worth a look. If you feel like the trends you may have been paying for are letting you down, here is your chance for redemption, because anything can happen.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are poised and ready. We know the identity of this team and they won't be bringing anything new to the table in this series. They have the fourth best E.R.A. in the NL and are middle of the road in every other category. They have been winning all year, and, still, the public ignored them. Doc's even posted an article halfway through the season noting that they were under the radar, but the fourth most profitable team in the Majors at that time. Now they have home field advantage throughout and here comes the public looking for favorites. They may be a very good play against Chicago if they do not get overvalued.
The Chicago Cubs are surely feeling good. The Brewers dominated most of the year in what looked like a run away. The Cubs got hot and the Brewers went cold at the right time, and now Chicago has a chance to get the proverbial monkey off their backs. The Cubs have the second best E.R.A. in the NL. They could be a great play as an underdog but you should look closely. Their E.R.A. is low as a result of their low scoring division. It's notable, however, that the lowest scoring team is The Diamondbacks. I would not advise betting against Chicago simply because they are Chicago. Remember Boston and that stupid curse?
Two teams with good E.R.A. and minimal scoring make me think of run total plays being of good value. If the run total is low based on stats you might like them to outscore it. When the series hits Wrigley Field, you might like the other side. Do your homework!
The Phillies and the Rockies should be a blast. They are the two highest scoring teams in the NL. Both ballparks are known for high scores. The Rockies may have benefited most by this as I see that the Phillies have scored everywhere they played and the Rockies were more home-oriented when it came to scoring and winning. The Phillies and the Rockies both came from an unlikely place. The Phillies pressured the Mets into a meltdown by winning almost every series they played since the all-star break. That included a three- and four-game sweep of the Mets. They are no fluke. They have a great line-up from top to bottom with plenty of depth but their pitching will always be questionable. Moyer and Hamels are pretty good starters but everything is a guess after that. The bullpen is good but may be a bit overworked because of poor starts from their starters. Philadelphia may have used up too much emotion and stamina while catching the Mets.
Colorado has beaten the best pitching at the best time. The Rockies have been plugging away all year and are not rattled by a team's offensive or defensive prowess. They beat great pitching to get here and they can score with the best of them.
The biggest difference between the Phillies and the Rockies is the long ball. The Phillies have a tremendous edge on the entire field in this category. The problem is if you live by the long ball you will also die by the long ball. If they do not go long, the Rockies batting averages could kick in and become a problem. Once again, as in the other series, I can't help but wonder about run totals.
Opening game lines are close and there is not much to be read from them. Home teams will be favored throughout, and as always, the best road teams will prevail.