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October 3, 2017

There is one pick tonight.

 

Take Minnesota Twins (+240) on the ML against New York Yankees risking 3% to win 7.20%.
(Santana and Severino must start for wager to have action.)

The Wildcard playoff game; a one game series where the winner advances to the ALDS and the loser's season is over and is sent home packing. All the blood, sweat a tears of a season long journey culminates in defining 1-game playoff and as we have seen in year's past, anything can happen.

The oddsmakers have set the odds on this game as if the result was already set in stone. New York is a hefty -250 favorites in this matchup and on the surface, it would be easy to see why. The Yankees are 4-2 in the seasonal meetings between these two teams and just recently swept Minnesota 3 games to nothing a few shorts weeks ago at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are also 21-9 in the regular season and 3-0 in the playoffs against the Twins at the current Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009 so there is no question that historical results clearly favor the Bronx Bombers. However, historical results are not truly indicative of present or future performances.

These two teams are much more evenly matched than the odds give the Twins credit for. Minnesota doesn't have as many well-known of high profile players as New York, but they can hit with just about anyone. Their .260 batting average is fifth best in AL and their 802 runs through Thursday are fourth best in the league. Joe Mauer is the Twins’ only .300 hitter at .305, but there’s still lots of power on the club even with All-Star third baseman Miguel Sano on the DL, but has been cleared to play tonight.

The Twins are also a team that are extremely fundamentally strong and typically don't beat themselves as they are one of the best fielding teams in baseball. Their .987 fielding percentage is tied for the best in the AL. The right side of the Twins’ infield is very strong defensively with Dozier at second base (5 errors on the season) and Mauer at first base (2 errors on the season). Also, catcher Jason Castro has been strong behind the plate this season, committing just 2 errors, and allowing only 5 passed balls & 46 steals in 106 games.

The Yankees will be sending out their most reliable pitcher this season as Luis Severino will take the mound tonight. Severino has been impressive this season, going 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA in 31 starts this season. While his seasonal statistics have been impressive, it's important to note that he has struggled when pitching in Yankee Stadium this season, going just 8-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 16 games at home. Let's not forget that as good as Severino has been, pitching in the playoffs, in a high-pressure situation is something new for the young right-hander. At just 23 years old, nerves could certainly play a factor in this contest especially with so much on the line in this one performance. The Twins bats have already proven that they can get to Severino as they hit him hard in back on 9/20, battering him for 5 hits and 3 earned runs in just 3 innings of work.

For the Twins, they will too turn to their 'Ace' tonight as they send veteran Ervin Santana to the mound. Santana has been having a career year this season as he went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA in 33 starts this season. On the road has really been where Santana has excelled as he went 10-3 with a 2.71 ERA in 17 starts on the highway. Santana also has a ton of postseason experience, appearing for the Angels in five series from 2005-2009. That experience could prove to be invaluable in this contest, especially in front of a hostile (and likely vocal) crowd in Yankees Stadium.

This matchup also sets up well for the Twins as no one really is expecting them to have a chance. The Yankees are home, they had a history of dominating the Twins and the oddsmakers listed them as huge favorites to win, what that means is that all the pressure is on them. It's that kind of pressure that can make them a bit stiff at the plate and have a severe effect on their performance. Meanwhile, Minnesota has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this contest with everyone thinking the Yankees are an easy pick to advance to a Division Series. Their ability to play loose and free could be the difference maker in this contest.

This game will likely come down to which teams makes the least number of mistakes, both on offense and defense. All it takes is a single pitch to remain up in the zone for the Twins bats to capitalize on and that could be enough to alter the end result of this contest. Anything can happen in a one-game playoff and getting more than 2:1 on an invest on the more than capable underdogs is simply too good to pass up. Even if the Twins fall short, the reward far outweighs the risk in what should be an extremely closely contested matchup. The value is on the Twins in this matchup.




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