MLB Divisional Round Picks 10/5/20

The divisional round of the MLB playoffs begin on Monday with a pair of games, openers of these best-of-five series. First, AL West rivals clash as the A's and Astros meet at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Then it's an AL East battle when the Rays and Yankees meet out at Petco Park in San Diego. How are we playing these games with our free MLB playoff picks?

A's -140/8 vs. Astros, 4:07 pm ET, TBS.

Oakland finished seven games ahead of Houston in the regular-season standings, 36-24 to 29-31. So the A's will be the home team for the first two games of this series.

Oakland also took the season series from the Astros seven games to three.

The A's reached this American League divisional series by outlasting the White Sox in three games in a wild-card series last week. Oakland lost the first game of that series, then won the previous two, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to win Game 3 last Thursday 6-4.

Meanwhile, Houston swept two games from the Twins in Minneapolis last week, by scores of 4-1 and 3-1.

Monday's pitching match-up is a rematch of a game played on Aug. 29 of this season, a 4-2 Astros victory. But Oakland starter Chris Bassitt then also beat Houston one week later, throwing seven innings of shutout ball in a 6-0 A's win.

The A's are 9-3 with Bassitt this season, while the Astros are 5-6 with Lance McCullers. Also, we ranked the Oakland bullpen among the top two in the Majors this season, while the Houston pen ranked in the bottom half-dozen or so.

We like the A's to take Monday's game.

Free MLB Playoffs Pick: Oakland -140

Yankees -140/7 vs. Rays, 8:07 pm ET, TBS

Tampa finished seven games ahead of New York in the regular-season standings, 40-20 to 33-27. So the Rays will be the home team for the first two games of this series.

Tampa also took the season series from the Yankees eight games to two, although New York was missing various key players for many of those games.

The Rays advanced to this ALDS by sweeping two games from Toronto last week by scores of 3-1 and 8-2.

New York, meanwhile, reached this divisional-round series by sweeping two games from the Indians in Cleveland last week by scores of 12-3 and 10-9.

The Yankees are 9-4 with Gerrit Cole this season, while the Rays are 8-4 with Blake Snell. But while Cole allowed six runs and four home runs in two starts this year against Tampa, covering 11 2/3 innings, Snell held New York to three runs in two starts, covering eight frames.

The Yankees own the edge with the sticks here, especially now that they're healthy. But we give Tampa the edge in the bullpen comparison.

These two teams don't like each other. The Rays, in particular, will play this series with a chip on their shoulder.

Betting baseball is often about betting value, and we like the value here with Tampa Bay at the underdog price.

Free MLB Playoffs Pick: Rays +130