- The ALDS officially begins Monday night with two dramatic Game 1’s between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, and the Oakland A’s and Houston Astros.
- The Yankees have -150 odds and the Athletics at -140 come in as the favorites Monday, with Gerrit Cole and Chris Bassitt on the mound respectfully.
- Series prices hold similar value with the Yankees (-125) and A’s (-140) as the favorites. Futures odds have the Yankees (+175) with the shortest odds to win the AL followed by the Rays (+185), Athletics (+400), and Astros (+433).
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – After a tremendously exciting, and unique wild-card round saw sixteen teams battle it out for a chance to continue their season, Major League Baseball has narrowed the field down to just eight remaining clubs.
The Division Series of the MLB Playoff begins Monday, with two explosive AL matchups ready to face-off in Game 1.
There will be no love lost in the ALDS this year, as each matchup has some extra heat behind it to fuel the fire.
The New York Yankees take on the Tampa Bay Rays, while the Oakland A’s take on the Houston Astros.
Futures odds for who will win the American League pennant are now available across the legal sports betting sites, with the Yankees the slight leader.
2020 American League Pennant – Winner
- New York Yankees +175
- Tampa Bay Rays +185
- Oakland Athletics +400
- Houston Astros +433
Betting The Yankees And The Rays
The Yankees begin their series against the Rays Monday night, with Gerrit Cole facing off against Blake Snell.
This series will take place in PETCO Park in San Diego in a temporary bubble, with no days off between games and no fans in attendance.
The Yankees get the edge in the overall series price, despite going 2-8 against the Rays in the regular season.
ALDS Series – Winner
- New York Yankees -125
- Tampa Bay Rays +105
New York gets the edge in Game 1, getting around half-money for moneyline bettors.
NYY vs. TB Game 1 – 8:07 p.m. EST
- Yankees -150
- Rays +130
- O/U: 7.0
Gerrit Cole will take the mound tonight and will look for strikeouts as he tends to do. The Yankees’ ace is averaging around 11Ks per 9 innings, and goes up against a Tampa team that struck out the most in MLB this season.
On the other side, Blake Snell is also a very competent pitcher who carries a 3.24 ERA into this series. This could easily by a low-scoring pitching duel with both lineups batting in an unfamiliar park. The over/under for the game is set at 7 runs.
Bad Blood Between Ballclubs
A huge storyline for this series will be the previous altercations between these teams that occurred throughout the end of the regular season.
It all began during a Sept. 1 game between the clubs where Yankees’ pitcher Masahiro Tanaka hit the Rays’ Joey Wendle with a fastball, which Tampa manager Kevin Cash believed to be intentional.
New York closer Aroldis Chapman then threw a 101-mph fastball just over the head of the Rays’ Michael Brosseau in the ninth, resulting in a benches-clearing altercation and a lot of dudes pushing each other around and trying to look real tough.
Yankees and Rays benches clear after Chapman threw at Mike Brosseau's head 😳
— Bleacher Report MLB (@BR_MLB) September 2, 2020
The fallout from the incident didn’t end there, with Cash calling out the Yankees in his post-game presser. Cash berated the Yankees pitchers and coaches, ending with an actual threat to throw at the Yankees in the future.
“Somebody’s got to be accountable. And the last thing I’ll say on this is that I’ve got whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 miles per hour. Period.”
Needless to say, motivation will not be lacking for either team in this series.
Betting The Astros And The Athletics
The other ALDS series could even be more heated as the first, with two more division rivals going head to head in the Houston Astros and the Oakland A’s.
This series will take place in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, also within a bubble with no days rest between games and no fans in attendance.
The series prices for the matchup has the A’s as the strong favorite after going 7-3 against the ‘Stros in the regular season.
ALDS Series – Winner
- Houston Astros +120
- Oakland Athletics -140
Game 1 will start in the afternoon on Monday, with Lance McCullers for Houston taking on Chris Bassitt for the A’s.
HOU vs. OAK Game 1 – 4:07 p.m. EST
- Astros +120
- Athletics -140
- O/U: 8.0
After the A’s ended the Astros three-year run as division champs, they will have to face off against the very team that has kept them out of the playoffs numerous years under controversial circumstances.
Game 1 will show what kind of energy each team is bringing into this series. With a pretty even pitching matchup on both sides, the burden will lie on the bats for both teams.
The Astros were able to sweep the Minnesota Twins in the wild-card round, while the A’s needed all three games to dispatch of the White Sox and ran through much of their pitching reserves in the process.
Bad Blood Between Ballclubs
The storyline in this series is even more heated than the Yankees and Rays, as A’s pitcher Mike Fiers was the original player to blow the lid on the Astros cheating scandal.
For those living under a rock, the Astros were accused and found guilty of stealing signs since the 2017 season. The Astros won 100 games in 2017 and 2018, knocking the 97-win A’s into second place in the AL West, where they lost the wild card game each year.
Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers, who joined the A’s in 2018, told the media that the Astros stole signs electronically during their 2017 World Series-winning season. The ensuing investigation led to the firings of Astros’ GM AJ Hinch, as well as Boston Red Sox coach Alex Cora, who was the manager of the Astros during that time.
The remaining players and team staff who benefitted from the cheating scheme were left unpunished, must to the chagrin of the entire MLB.
Fiers did not face the Astros in the regular season, and just pitched Game 3 of the wild card round against the White Sox. Still, he is likely to make an appearance sometime this series.
If that isn’t enough drama to get baseball bettors psyched up for this theatrical ALDS, then they just don’t love baseball.
Jimmy began his journalistic journey as a stat recorder and PA announcer for his middle school baseball team. Full of experience across print, broadcast, and sports radio, he brings his knowledge and toolkit to the LegalSportsBetting team. You can find him watching sports, making parlays, and listening to music on any day ending in Y.