Now we officially know what one National League Division Series will be: New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, a TV network's dream. The Mets clinched the NL East a while ago, and the Dodgers clinched their third straight NL West title on Tuesday night behind a dominant Clayton Kershaw. And the lefty apparently is lined up to face New York's Jacob deGrom in Game 1 on Oct. 9. The Mets are only using Matt Harvey once in the NLDS due to innings, and that's expected to be Game 2 or 3. Potential NL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke of the Dodgers would go in Game 2. We still don't know which team will have home-field advantage in that series. It most likely will be the Mets as they have a one-game lead plus the tiebreaker.
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Cubs at Reds (+129, 8)
This 12:35 p.m. ET start is the early game of the day and will have live betting at sportsbooks with it shown on the MLB Network. This is Cincinnati's final home game of the season and thus presumably the final game there for Manager Bryan Price, who is expected to be fired despite a report from Fox's Ken Rosenthal this week the Reds might give him one more chance. I don't buy it. Cincinnati starts rookie lefty John Lamb (1-4, 5.40), who came over in the Johnny Cueto deal. Lamb allowed five runs over two innings last time out vs. the Mets and has never faced the Cubs. Chicago goes with Jason Hammel (9-7, 3.86), who may or may not have a rotation spot in the NLDS if the Cubs get there. He has been struggling for a while. Hammel is 0-0 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts this year vs. the Reds.
Key trends: The Cubs are 4-1 in their past five against a lefty. They are 2-7 in Hammel's past nine with four days of rest. The Reds are 0-4 in their past four Game 3 of a series. The "over/under" is 7-3 in Hammel's past 10 on the road. The over is 4-1 in Lamb's past five.
Early lean: Cubs, with nothing to play for, likely to rest handful of starters in this day after night game, and Reds will at least want to win home finale. Take them and the over.
Dodgers at Giants (+107, 7.5)
It's the final start in the career of Giants right-hander Tim Hudson (8-8, 4.30). The 40-year-old had been having a good September but had his shortest outing of the season Saturday in Oakland, lasting only 1.1 innings and allowing three runs. I think he was just distracted by pitching against friend and former teammate Barry Zito and that the A's honored them both. I wouldn't touch the Dodgers the rest of the weekend -- they aren't going to go all out to try and catch the Mets. They will be resting some guys and fine-tuning for the playoffs. L.A. starts lefty Brett Anderson (9-9, 3.75) here and he might be auditioning for a postseason rotation spot. He has allowed 11 runs and 20 hits over 8.2 innings in his past two starts. He is 1-2 with a 4.85 ERA this year in five starts vs. the Giants.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 2-5 in Anderson's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The Giants are 2-7 in Hudson's past nine at home vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 5-1 in Anderson's past six. The over is 3-1-1 in Hudson's past five vs. L.A.
Early lean: Giants and over.
Nationals at Braves (+173, 7.5)
Could this be the last start for Stephen Strasburg in a Nationals uniform? Probably not, but he will be a free agent after next season and is represented by Scott Boras, so Strasburg will test the market and be asking for the moon. So it's not unthinkable the Nats might deal him this winter if the right offer comes along. Strasburg (10-7, 3.63) is really rolling right now, allowing five total runs over his past four starts and striking out at least 10 in all of them -- at least 13 in three. He has faced Atlanta only once this year, beating the Braves by shutting them out over five innings. It's rookie Ryan Weber (0-2, 5.91) for the Braves. This will be his fifth career start. He has yet to face Washington.
Key trends: The Nats are 8-0 in Strasburg's past eight vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 5-0 in his past five on the road. The over is 5-2 in his past seven vs. Atlanta.
Early lean: Nationals on runline and under.
Twins at Indians (-117, 7.5)
With the way the Los Angeles Angels are playing right now, the Twins probably have to win out to have even a remote chance of taking the second AL wild-card spot, and even that might not be enough. Cleveland, meanwhile, is done. Tyler Duffey (5-1, 3.14) goes for Minnesota in this series finale. The rookie has been very good of late, going 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA over his past eight starts. He shut out the Tribe on one hit back on Aug. 15. Cleveland starts Josh Tomlin (6-2, 3.03). He made his season debut in Minnesota on Aug. 15 opposite Duffey and allowed two runs and five hits over 6.1 innings. Joe Mauer is 7-for-16 career off him.
Key trends: The Twins are 5-0 in Duffey's past five vs. teams with a losing record. The Indians are 1-7 in Tomlin's past eight at home vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in Duffey's past five on the road. The over is 10-2 in Tomlin's past 12 at home.
Early lean: Twins and under.
Marlins at Rays (-102, 6.5)
Final start of another abbreviated season for Marlins ace Jose Fernandez (6-0, 2.91), and the team has to feel really good about what he has shown in his 10 starts. I think the Marlins will be a contender next season as long as Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton stay healthy, although that has been easier said than done this year. Fernandez hasn't faced the Rays this year and is 1-0 with a 3.42 ERA on the road in 2015. Tampa Bay goes with Jake Odorizzi (8-9, 3.49). He has been a bit off his past two, allowing eight runs over 10.2 innings. Odorizzi hasn't faced the Marlins in 2015.
Key trends: The Marlins are 1-4 in Fernandez's past five on the road. The Rays are 5-1 in Odorizzi's past six vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 5-0 in Fernandez's past five on the road. The over is 6-0 in Odorizzi's past six at home.
Early lean: Marlins and under.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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