American League Wild Card Round Preview
The 2020 MLB playoffs are set to kick off on Tuesday, and there's no question they'll be unlike any other baseball postseason we have ever seen before.
After allowing five teams from each league into the playoffs since 2012, MLB added three more teams to the postseason from each league this year. Now instead of the three division winners and two wild card teams making the playoffs, the first and second place teams from each division will make the playoffs, along with two wild card teams. It remains to be seen if the playoff expansion will remain in place next season, but it sure did add plenty of excitement to the shortened baseball regular season.
The start of the 2020 MLB playoffs will see the defending American League champions heading to Minneapolis to take on the AL Central champions. The Astros were rocked by a cheating scandal during the offseason, which put a damper on their season even before it began. Then a season-ending injury to ace Justin Verlander left the Astros scrambling to fill out their rotation, which was already depleted by the loss of Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees in free agency. Zack Greinke has the name recognition at the top of Houston's pitching staff, but Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier have filled some of the void after Greinke in the rotation.
The Houston lineup has been just as much of a work-in-progress as the pitching staff. Michael Brantley, Kyle Tucker. and George Springer have done most of the heavy lifting throughout the season while Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman combined for just 16 home runs and 65 RBIs this year.
Minnesota has to be elated to not be playing the New York Yankees in the playoffs, for once. Prior to this year's playoffs, the Twins had met the Yankees in their four previous playoff appearances, failing to win a game against New York during that span. Minnesota had one of the most potent offenses in baseball, with four players mashing at least 13 home runs this year. Nelson Cruz was the leader of the Twins offense, clubbing 16 homers, while Eddie Rosario drove in a team-high 42 runs this year.
The pitching staff of the Twins has a tremendous mixture of young talent and veteran experience. Kenta Maeda came to Minnesota from the Los Angeles Dodgers, putting together a 6-1 season where he struck out 80 batters in 66.2 innings pitched. Jose Berrios takes the ball after Maeda, and when Berrios is on, he is one of the best pitchers in the game. Michael Pineda was good in limited action this year, and we will likely see Randy Dobnak as some point in this series, as the rookie was 6-4 in his first season in the majors.
Something has been off with the Astros this year. A lot of it has to do with the cheating scandal and some of the repercussions that has come out of it, but Houston isn't as feared as they were the last few years. Minnesota was 24-7 at home this year so the Astros will have to be perfect to upset the Twins. I'm not seeing it happening. The Twins makes the most of not having to play the Yankees to start the playoffs. Minnesota in 2 games.
This matchup pits power against small ball. The Chicago White Sox clinched their first playoff spot since 2008, using a lineup that ranked third in baseball with 96 home runs. First baseman Jose Abreu inserted himself in the AL MVP race by crushing 19 homers and driving in 60 runs this year. Abreu's 148 total bases led the White Sox this year. Four other Chicago players hit at least 10 home runs during the season.
Along with the potent offense, Chicago also has two of the best pitchers in the game. Lucas Giolito is the ace of the White Sox. Giolito not only threw the first no-hitter in baseball this year, but he struck out 97 batters in 72.1 innings. Complimenting Giolito is Dallas Keuchel, who signed with the White Sox after spending last year with the Atlanta Braves. Keuchel might not have the power of Giolito, but he is just as tough to get a handle on, as he posted a 1.99 ERA this year.
Oakland cruised to the AL West crown this year, finishing the regular season seven games ahead of the Houston Astros. The Athletics come into the playoffs with a little bit of doubt, though. Oakland took a hit earlier this month when it was announced that third baseman Matt Chapman would miss the remainder of the season due to hip surgery, leaving a giant hole at the hot corner for the Athletics. Another Matt has been trying to pick up the slack, as Matt Olson hit a team-high 14 home runs this year, but the first baseman wasn't consistent at the plate, hitting just .195. As a team, Oakland had the fifth-worst batting average in baseball, hitting .225 this season.
The best pitcher for Oakland this year has been Chris Bassitt, who is 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA. Things get a little complicated after Bassitt. Mike Fiers has playoff experience, but hasn't been consistent this year. Jesus Luzardo is the wild card of the pitching staff. The rookie pitcher has electric stuff, but is he ready for the spotlight that comes with the playoffs?
The White Sox struggled down the stretch, losing 9 of their last 12 games. Even with those struggles, it's going to be tough for Oakland to beat both Giolito and Keuchel. The teams split the first two games, and the White Sox have a little too much power for Oakland to handle in the elimination game. Chicago in 3 games.
What a wild season it has been for the Toronto Blue Jas. First, the Blue Jays found out they couldn't play in Toronto this year, forcing the Blue Jays to play their home games in Buffalo. Toronto also had to deal with the future of their franchise going through a bit of a sophomore slump. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit .262 with 9 home runs and 33 RBIs this year, but the son of former star Vladimir Guerrero had bigger expectations for this season.
At least the Blue Jays did get Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio to pick up some of the slack. Bo Bichette hit .301 in 29 games this year, while Biggio clocked 16 doubles this year. Even with what Bichette and Biggio were able to do, who would've though Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez would be the ones leading the Toronto offense? Gurriel hit .308, while Hernandez led the team with 16 home runs.
On the mound, Toronto has Hyun-Jin Ryu and a lot of questions after. Ryu was 5-2 with 72 strikeouts this year, his first season with the club after leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers during free agency. The Blue Jays haven't found anyone to step up in the rotation after Ryu. Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson have both posted ERAs north of 6.75 during the regular season.
Tampa Bay is almost the polar opposite of Toronto. All pitching and a little bit of hitting. Brandon Lowe provided the ower for the Rays, hitting 14 home runs this year, but he was the only Tampa Bay batter to reach double digits in home runs. Willy Adames, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, and Hunter Renfroe provided some pop during the regular season, but it remains to be seen if they can provide enough when the pressure is turned up in the playoffs.
It's hard to find a better three-man rotation in baseball than what Tampa Bay has to offer. Tyler Glasnow is a strikeout machine, Blake Snell is a former Cy Young Award winner, and Charlie Morton is a veteran who has postseason experience. The Blue Jays might be able to steal a game in this series, but it's hard to see them beating the American League's top-seed twice in a three-game series. Tampa Bay in 3 games.
The New York Yankees had higher expectations for this season, but injuries again threw a wrench into the plans of the Yankees. Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gleyber Torres all missed time due to injuries this year, while on the mound James Paxton won't be available for this series, and might be lost for the rest of the postseason. Even with the injuries, the Yankees are still a dangerous team.
DJ LeMahieu could make a case for the AL MVP award, as without LeMahieu's presence in the lineup, New York might have not made the playoffs this year. LeMahieu hit .364 this year, and amassed 115 total bases, which ranked second on the Yankees behind Luke Voit, who has been just as important as LeMahieu. Voit crushed a league-leading 22 homers this year. With Judge and Stanton back healthy, their lineup is one of the most feared in baseball.
If the Yankees could, they'd probably start Gerrit Cole in every game of this series. Cole has been phenomenal in his first season in pinstripes, going 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA and 94 strikeouts. Masahiro Tanaka has been his usual steady self during the regular season, and he always seems to perform even better in the playoffs. If the Yankees can get a lead late in the game, they do have the luxury of turning to Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman.
While DJ LeMahieu has a case for the AL MVP, there award is likely going to Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez, who played out of his mind this year. Ramirez smacked 17 homers, drove in 46 runs, and swiped 10 bases. Had it not been for Ramirez, Cleveland likely would be on the outside looking in at the playoffs right now. If Cleveland wants to make a deep run in the playoffs, Ramirez is going to need some help, though. A prime candidate to provide some support to Ramirez is Francisco Lindor, who could set the table for a big contract splash in 2022 with a strong postseason this year.
Much like the Yankees, Cleveland has a stud at starting pitcher, followed by a solid starter. Shane Bieber is likely your AL Cy Young winner after going 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts this year. After Bieber, Carlos Carrasco is one of the strongest second-starting options in baseball. Zach Plesac rounds out a rotation that took a hit earlier this year when the Indians traded Mike Clevinger to the San Diego Padres. Brad Hand and James Karinchak give Cleveland a strong back-end of the bullpen, much like you see from the Yankees.
This series is going to depend on who can take the first game of the series. Shane Bieber has been amazing for Cleveland this year, but is he ready for the bright lights of the playoffs? We know Gerrit Cole is ready. The Yankees get to Bieber in the first game, and the Indians win the next game to setup an elimination game which the Yankees squeak out to move on to the next round. New York in 3 games.
Until now, there was a void in the industry. An all-in-one prop bet research tool for Over/Under rankings did not exist. Fantasy SP has changed that.
Of course, you could find betting trends on the internet but there wasn’t a place where you could have all the information for every single player on the same page at your fingertips. Well, we wanted to change that. We’ve created the definitive NFL prop bet research tool for pros and newbies alike.
In a typical NFL week, there can be over 1,000 player prop lines available. Traditional player game logs are not optimal for researching player props. Our unique tool allows you to quickly analyze thousands of lines on your phone, tablet, or computer, and find the props with the greatest value. Don’t just bet on the players you like. Become more data-driven with your props research by using Fantasy SP’s Player Prop Over/Under Rankings!
This is the perfect prop bet research tool to make some serious cash. Place informed bets using relevant analytics and increase your chances of seeing your bankroll increase.
With our brand-new Player Prop Over/Under Rankings Research Tool, users will be able to filter by tons of critical data points including home vs. away, favorite vs. underdog, player popularity, last few games, indoor vs. outdoor, specific props, specific teams, position rank, opponent rank, and so much more!
Research Prop Bet Betting Example
Okay, enough talk, and let’s get to a simple real-world example of how to use the tool to help you place a bet.
For example, Jared Goff has had some of the most ridiculous home/away splits in 2022.
Goff has a passer rating of 106.9 with 2,217 yards (277.1 yards per game), 20 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions in eight games at home this season. Pretty good, right? On the road, he has a passer rating of 82.5 with 1,387 yards (231.2 yards per game), 3 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions in six games.
As you can see, Goff is averaging 46 more yards per game at home in 2022 entering Week 16. Vegas may try to trick you when Goff is on the road after coming off a massive home game but by using our tool, you won’t be fooled.
Goff has a 5-3 O-U record on his passing yard props at Ford Field this season. While his average line at home on DraftKings is 247 yards, his average result is 277.1 passing yards. Prior to throwing for 250+ yards against the Jets at the Meadowlands in Week 15, he was 2-3 on his passing yards props on the road. His average line on DraftKings on the road was only 10 yards fewer heading into Week 15 yet he averaged a full 50 fewer yards per game (227). This shows a clear pattern that he is much more successful at hitting the over and much more efficient when playing in front of his home crowd. There are countless examples of patterns you can spot using this brand-new prop tool that are even more eye-popping than Goff’s numbers.
How to Find Favorable Prop Bets
The key to placing informed bets is to place bets on clear patterns. Ideally, you want to see a player consistently going over or under. Grab a concise list of potential bets to place and compare to the lines at your favorite operator.
Let’s say you want to place a passing yards prop bet on Tom Brady. You check all the lines at your favorite operator (we suggest
Caesars or FanDuel) and need to put his line into context. How often does he go over? What outcomes occur against an easy matchup? What is his average result? How does he do at home versus on the road?
Using our exclusive Over-Under Rankings, you can utilize our premium filters to find out Brady’s historical prop record at home versus the road is even more volatile than Goff’s splits. (This is good and what we want to see.)
At home, Brady is averaging a whopping 307.3 passing yards and has hit the over in six of seven games heading into Week 15.
On the road, while his average line is only two yards fewer (271.2 to 269.2), he has a 1-5 O-U record and is only averaging 239 passing yards per game.
Fantasy SP has just highlighted a very promising prop bet whenever Brady is at home. Take the over. And when he is on the road, it’s a prime spot to smash the under.
Some players also tend to do much better when their team is the favorite such as running backs late in the fourth quarter when their team needs to kill time. Heading into Week 15, Dalvin Cook had a 7-2 O-U rushing yard record when his team was the favorite (79.9 yards per game). Conversely, when the Vikings were underdogs, he was 1-3 (57.8 yards per game). This is why filtering by favorite or underdog can be a critical data point to help you gain an edge at sportsbooks.
You can also filter by the last few games in case a player has begun to heat up or cool off. These filters will help you nail your bets in very specific scenarios. It’s the perfect tool for situational prop betting.
What the Experts Are Saying
Don’t simply trust our word. We provided a free preview to professional bettors and journalists and this is what they had to say:
“I don’t place my player prop parlays until checking out Fantasy SP’s Prop Bet Rankings. This is the only place where I can get an in-depth historical analysis of every player in the League before placing my wagers!”
Matthew Rumack, Professional Sports Bettor
“This tool provides insight that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the sports betting industry. Fantasy SP has developed something truly unique. The premium filters that allow me to figure out how each player has performed in very specific situations are simply next-level. I will not be placing prop bets before using this tool for research!”
Mark Morales-Smith, Senior Fantasy & Gambling Writer
“The features of this prop research tool are simply awesome. It’s easy to use, easy to understand, and incredibly powerful. There is so much data at your fingertips. This is an essential piece to finding player prop betting value.”
Dan Hickman, Professional Gambling Writer
The dropdowns and filters on this tool are what really make this a game-changing feature. If you only want to see the most popular players on the page, simply slide the popularity to 75% or 100%. If you want to see players’ over-under records and their average results for only home games, simply click Home on the dropdown. If you want to see over-under records for players against teams in the bottom 5 at defending that position, simply click Bottom 5 under Position Rank. Not only can you get all of this insight, but the sliders and dropdowns all work interactively with a user-friendly interface so you can find out how a player is doing in a very specific situation. For example, let’s say Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are hosting the top-five San Francisco 49ers defense and are four-point underdogs. To get a much clearer picture of how Prescott has performed in similar situations, you can check off Home, Underdog, Indoor, and Top 5 under Opponent Rank to get his exact over-under prop historical record in this particular situation. If he is 0-3 on his passing yard prop in this scenario, you may want to smash the under.
NFL prop betting can be overwhelming but this tool makes it easy to research the best bets for novices and seasoned vets alike. Bettors should not be placing their prop bets before doing the necessary research. Now you can do all that research on one page with Fantasy SP’s Player Prop Over/Under Rankings Research Tool! It doesn’t get much better than that.
Stay tuned for our future article on even more in-depth tips and tricks.
France vs Argentina World Cup Final Betting Preview: Can Lionel Messi Capture That Elusive World Cup Title?
Picking up where they left off in 2018, the French National Team led by 23-year-old Kylian Mbappe have found their way back into the finals as they look to be the first back-to-back World Cup Champions since Brazil’s dominant runs in 1958 and 1962. Standing between that incredible feat for the defending champions is Argentina, who currently have their superstar, Lionel Messi, in top form. Messi is finding ways to create passes no one can see and he’s done it multiple times, assisting three goals (tied for the most) throughout the tournament. The legend is also scoring goals of his own and is tied with Kylian Mbappe (5 goals) for Golden Boot honors in this year’s World Cup. Regardless, soccer fans around the world are in for a treat on Sunday at 10:00 AM EST as two of the best players in the world face each other for their country’s World Cup glory.
After winning Group D, France defeated Poland in the Round of 16, England in the quarterfinals, and a strong Morocco team in the semis to advance to the Final. On the other side of the bracket, Argentina won Group C and dispatched Australia in the Round of 16. Messi and the Argentinians were then tested in the quarterfinals, needing a penalty shootout to defeat the Netherlands after blowing a late two-goal lead. Finally, Argentina played perhaps their best match of the tournament against Croatia in the semi-finals, winning 3-0. Now the stage is set for a blockbuster finale between two powerhouses featuring some of the top players in the world.
Note (from FanDuel Sportsbook): No team will play at home during Qatar's World Cup. For betting purposes, FanDuel explains that: “Home Team refers to the team listed first, Away Team refers to the second team listed.”
Argentina (-104) vs. France (-112)
Argentina Keys To Victory
Lionel Messi has played incredibly for Argentina throughout this World Cup. He is leaving opposing defenders in the dust, taking on multiple players at once, dragging them away from his teammates, which is opening up the field for his fellow goal scorers. Every time Messi has the ball at his feet, there seems to be more than one threat. Messi is playing just as well as he always has in 2022. He’s served his team as a playmaker and as a goal-scorer in Qatar. He’s also had some help from Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez who’s scored a handful of goals in this World Cup (including two in Argentina’s decisive victory over Croatia). If Alvarez and Messi are able to link up while on the attack, the depleted French defense and midfield could be in for some trouble.
France Keys To Victory
One of the biggest headlines heading into this World Cup Final is the return of French striker Karim Benzema. The Real Madrid star and winner of this year’s Ballon D’Or hurt his hamstring in one of France’s first practices soon after arriving in Qatar. He flew back to Madrid where he immediately completed his recovery work which was set at three weeks from the time of injury. Right now, Benzema is flying back to Doha and could be starting for France in the final. At the moment, France’s HC Didier Deschamps has declined to comment on whether or not he will be including KB9 in the starting lineup. France’s ball movement has been excellent throughout the tournament, but their key to victory against Argentina will be efficient defense. Over the last few games, France’s defense seems to have slowed down. Not only will they need to stop Messi, but they will need to turn defensive stops into counterattacks. Mbappe and Olivier Giroud (four goals thus far in the tournament) will need to be electric on offense and test the Argentinian keeper. Antoine Griezmann may be an x-factor for France as he has three assists in this World Cup and was inches away from scoring against Morocco.
It’s only fitting that Lionel Messi will finally hoist the World Cup trophy in his last World Cup match. Expect him to score a goal and lead his team to victory in a tightly contested battle.
The Pick: Argentina (-104)
World Cup Final Best Prop Bets
Kylian Mbappe: To Score Or Give Assist (+100)
Mbappé has been relatively quiet over France’s last few games. Still, he is the main wing on France’s team who is capable of breaking down defenses through his skillful technique and ridiculous speed. He currently is tied with Messi for the most goals in the 2022 World Cup. If he isn’t able to score in this game, then expect him to at least make an assist. For France to win this one, the 23-year-old will need to have a big game.
Lionel Messi: Anytime Goalscorer (+190)
Messi has stepped up his performance big time this World Cup. If you have watched Argentina play in this tournament, you know how crucial of a role Messi has played in the team’s success. He is tied for the most goals in the tournament with Mbappe and has a great chance of putting the ball in the net at some point during Sunday’s big match. This is a particularly great prop to target since Messi takes all of Argentina’s penalty shots and has converted four-of-five throughout the tournament.
Fantasy SP has worked diligently to bring you next-level sports betting analytics, prop betting tools, public betting splits, and so much more! Become an Edge+ member today!
Calling every sports fan across the globe! The best month for all things sports is here: December. NFL and CFB are getting into the thick of things — I mean, we are finally not seeing Alabama and Clemson in the CFP, not to mention both the NBA and NHL are underway and college basketball just tipped off!
Despite all of these different sporting events going on, the World’s biggest Sporting event is down to the Semifinals, the World Cup.
Although Soccer is the World's most popular sport, it still struggles to gain support in the US. However, every 4 years Soccer takes the country by storm and this year, and these last few games are going to be amazing.
Let us introduce you to your new go-to app, FanDuel Sportsbook. It’s the place to be for not only the usual sports, but for this year's World Cup!
FanDuel Sportsbook is providing a multitude of features with a few market differentiators.
- World Cup Winner
- Who will win the Golden Boot (the award for the top goal scorer of the World Cup)
- Highest scoring Group
- And more
- Popular Markets - outside of the normal Moneyline, Spread & Over/Under lines, FanDuel will also be offering:
- Anytime Goal Scorer
- First Goal Scorer
- Shots on Goal
- Correct Score
- Number of Corner Kicks
- Half-Time Result
- Tournament Goal Scorer Parlay Builder - build your own tournament-long Goal Scorer parlays with your favorite players from every team.
- Daily Specials:
- Highest scoring team of the day
- Total daily goals
- Player specials
- And More!
- Live Parlays
Out of all the betting apps we’ve used, signing up for FanDuel Sportsbook is also the easiest. Simply download the app and create an account by providing an email, credit card, and SS# — that’s to protect your winnings and ensure you're not a sporting professional.
FanDuel is undoubtedly the best site/app to parlay across multiple sports. It’s designed for bettors at any stage. The clear interface is ideal for beginners and you can make a bet in just a few clicks! It’s complete with a number of betting guides that explain the rules and resources to safely bet.
One of the best parts is that once the game ends, you can cash out your winnings right away. No minimum, no wait.
There’s also the incredible New User Offer: sign up with FanDuel Sportsbook and get up to $1000 in Free Bets if you lose your first bet!
Their app has everything you need — from tutorials to real-time game scores. Get amped for the World Cup with FanDuel Sportsbook. Enhance your Sportsember by downloading the FanDuel Sportsbook app today!