AL Wild Card Betting Prediction: Minnesota Twins at NY YankeesMLB.tvRadio: Go 96.3 (Minnesota) / WFAN 660 (NY)Opening AL Wild Card Lines: Yankees -225 (7.5)
Why Bet On Minnesota?The Twins had the worst record in baseball last year and yet here they are as a wild-card team. Great job by Manager Paul Molitor. It’s Minnesota’s first playoff berth in seven years. The Twins dismissed general manager Terry Ryan during the 2016 season, hiring Derek Falvey as chief baseball officer and Thad Levine as general manager last offseason, in hopes the duo could turn around things and get fans back. It worked.The Twins got great news this past weekend when All-Star third baseman Miguel Sano returned from the stress reaction in his shin to pinch-hit on Friday and started at DH on Saturday on Sunday. At the minimum, he should make the roster for the wild-card game as a pinch-hitting option. Why wouldn’t he start at DH? Robbie Grossman has a .356 OBP versus righties, so he might get the call against Luis Severino.The Twins are a good defensive team. Byron Buxton is stellar in center field. He’s saved 25 runs there this season, edging out Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier for the most at the position. His 24 runs saved from his range and positioning are more than double what Kevin Pillar has accumulated in third place. He’s made 27 more plays than the average center fielder would have on similar batted balls, including at least seven on each of shallow, medium and deep-hit balls.
Why Bet On NY Yankees?The Yankees were one of the best teams in the majors at home with a 51-30 record. New York won four of six games against Minnesota in 2017, including a three-game sweep from Sept. 18-20. The Yankees have won 11 straight season series to the Twins dating back to 2007, going 55-23 (.705) during that span. New York has also eliminated Minnesota in four of the Twins’ last five postseason appearances, dispatching them in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2009, and 2010.The Yankees have a loaded offense anchored by 50-homer rookie Aaron Judge and a top power option at catcher in Gary Sanchez, and the return of Greg Bird — the star of Grapefruit League play in March — has added another fly-ball and power threat.But New York’s biggest strength is the bullpen, which had five guys — Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle — strike out more than 30 percent of batters faced this season. The Yankees’ bullpen could allow the team to shorten games, miss bats, and advance deep into October. Their 10.94 K/9 rate ranks first all time.This is the Yankees’ second appearance in the AL Wild Card Game (since 2012) and the second time in three years. They also hosted the game in 2015, losing 3-0 to Houston. New York is the fourth club to play in multiple Wild Card Games, joining Pittsburgh (3x: 2013-15), Baltimore (2012, ’16) and San Francisco (2014, ’16).Like Santana, the Yankees’ Severino (14-6, 2.98) was an All-Star this year. New York has won his past five starts. Last time out, he held the Rays to one run and four hits over six innings. It marked the 16th time Severino allowed one or fewer runs this season, the most such starts for any major-league pitcher. Over the last 100 years, only four other Yankees pitchers have allowed one or fewer runs in at least 16 starts in a season: Spud Chandler in 1943 (16), Whitey Ford in 1964 (18), Ron Guidry in 1978 (18) and Mike Mussina in 2001 (16).It’s Severino’s first playoff start. But he wasn’t particularly good against Twins last time he faced them. In his first ever matchup against Minnesota and any of their hitters on Sept. 20, Severino went just three innings, throwing 71 pitches. Forty-five of them came in a three-run third inning.
Latest AL Wild Card Betting Trends
- Twins are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 games
- Twins are 7-3 SU in the last 10 games
- The total went UNDER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 5 games
- NY Yankees are 11-5 ATS in the last 16 games at home
- NY Yankees are 16-6 SU in the last 22 games
- The total went UNDER in 5 of NY Yankees’s last 6 games