It's a brand new week of baseball in the majors, and some of the series during this time of year start to take on a whole new meaning of importance when it comes to the race to the playoffs. This in turn starts to add even more value to BetOnline's series price odds for a few of this week's matchups.
The following are my top three bets to cash in this week's best-of-three series price betting odds as provided by BetOnline.
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Seattle Mariners (+115) vs. Texas Rangers (-135)
When it comes to the series betting odds for this week, this is one of the tightest matchups on the board. The Mariners dropped two of three to Boston on the road this weekend after taking two of three from Baltimore at home last week. Seattle (55-63) is still a better overall road team this season at 29-30, and it comes into this series with a 6-1 record in its last seven road games against the Rangers. The problem is that the pitching matchups work against the Mariners in two of the three games.
Texas continued to stay alive in the AL playoff race with its weekend three-game sweep of Tampa Bay at home to run its current winning streak to four games. Earlier this month the Rangers dropped two of three on the road against Seattle, but they have a great chance to get off to a fast start this time around with former Phillies' starter Cole Hamels on the mound. The left-hander has not had his best stuff working in his first two starts for Texas, but that could easily change on Monday night. I also like the Rangers to take this series with Martin Perez on the mound on Wednesday. He held Seattle to two earned runs on seven hits back on Aug. 8.
Tampa Bay Rays (+160) vs. Houston Astros (-180)
Tampa Bay's playoff chances took a hit with that sweep by Texas, and now it has to stay on the road this week to face the AL West-leading Houston Astros. The Rays will open this series as +157 road underdogs for Monday night's Game 1 and they are just 5-12 in their last 17 road games as underdogs. Things will not get any easier this week with Jake Ororizzi getting the start on Tuesday. The right-hander has been productive this season, but he has gotten shelled for 10 earned runs over his last three outings.
The Astros still lead Los Angeles by 3.5 games in the division race despite a 4-6 record in their last 10 games. After getting banged around with a 2-6 record in a recent eight-game road trip, they returned home this past weekend to take two of three from Detroit at home. Houston is now 64-54 on the year with a stellar 40-19 record at Minute Maid Park. It will open this series with Scott Kazmir (2.12 ERA) on the mound, and the clincher could be left-hander Dallas Keuchel on Wednesday night just in case the Astros slip up on Tuesday. The risk is high with Houston in this series price, but so is the confidence level in the pick.
San Francisco Giants (+160) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (-180)
The Giants will also be facing a tall task on the road this week, but they come it Busch Stadium hot with a four-game winning streak after sweeping the fading Washington Nationals this past weekend by a combined score of 28-12. San Francisco has been one of the more streaky teams all season long, but it has been a solid bet when it gets hot. The Giants are +143 road underdogs for Monday's Game 1, with Chris Heston getting the start against the Cardinals' Michael Wacha. That is a tough matchup, but I like their chances on Tuesday and Wednesday with Mike Leake and Matt Cain, respectively, on the mound.
Betting against St. Louis at home this season has been a risky proposition with a 44-18 record as part of a MLB-best record of 75-42, but over their last 14 home games the Cardinals are a pedestrian 8-6. They dropped Game 3 this past weekend against Miami in a 6-4 loss as heavy -238 favorites and last Thursday they fell to Pittsburgh 10-5 as -106 favorites at home. The Giants are 7-2 in Heston's last nine starts on the road, and if they can steal a win on Monday night there is some tremendous value in the series odds on San Francisco this week.
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