Twins vs. Yankees – MLB Playoff Pick for October 3rd

by Kevin Roberts
on October 3, 2017

The 2017 MLB playoffs officially start on Tuesday night, when the Minnesota Twins visit Yankee Stadium to take on the New York Yankees.

New York wasn’t able to steal the AL East title with a solid late run, but their offense at least rounded into form. A dominant title winner in the past, the hard-hitting Yanks now set forth with an eye on another World Series.

The Yanks enter with playable +1400 odds to win it all and that understandably plays into their home wild-card game tonight. Vegas loves the Yankees here (-240 at Bovada) as ace Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA) take the mound opposite Twins star pitcher, Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28 ERA).

We could get a pitching duel on the surface, but this game features two potent lineups that crave the long ball. At a volatile park like Yankee Stadium, that makes the first game of this year’s playoffs tough to gauge,

So, where does that leave MLB bettors? Do we roll with the favored Yanks, aim high with Minnesota or find a different bet? Let’s dig a little bit deeper in this matchup to find out:

Minnesota Twins (+205)
New York Yankees(-240)
Total: 7.5

There are big-time narratives working on both sides. The Twins are a heartwarming story, as this is a team that lost 100 games a year ago, yet here they are, in position to make an unlikely run at a title.

New York is no stranger to the postseason spotlight or World Series bids, but this is their first playoff stop since 2015 and their first realistic shot at a title campaign since 2012.

It’s arguable none of that matters, though. This game is in New York, where the Yanks have routinely beaten their opponents into submission, going 51-30 during the regular season. The Twins could combat that with a stout 44-37 road record, while their power could easily come alive in an awesome park for run production.

On paper, Vegas is right to get behind Severino – even with this being his first postseason start.

The 23-year old righty seems to be ready for the bright lights after fully breaking out in 2017, while he’s shown well in this tough park, going 8-5 with a respectable 3.71 ERA.

Of course, there is a downside with going with the New York ace. For one, Severino doesn’t have the playoff experience you want and pitching in a tough park against a loaded offense could lead to early trouble. It doesn’t help that the Twins got to him (5 hits, 3 runs in 3 innings) the only time he faced them this year, either.

Minnesota comes in with solid numbers against right-handed pitchers, ranking 15th on the year in power and 9th in batting average. Overall, Severino is probably the better arm in this matchup, but he by no means has an easy matchup.

On the other side, we get the veteran Ervin Santana, who has danced between looking great and merely surviving in 2017. He’s actually been fantastic outside of his home park (10-3, 2.71 ERA), but he gets no breaks at Yankee Stadium, which is actually more dangerous than the hittable Target Field.

None of the evidence leading into this game paints Santana in a great light, either. Santana tends to give up a good amount of contact and took a loss in this park the only time he battled the Yanks in 2017. He only gave up 2 runs on the day, but he did allow 7 hits and could have had a far worse outing if things broke slightly differently.

The splits don’t help Santana here, as the Yanks are among the best in baseball at mashing right-handed hurlers. New York comes into the playoffs having finished the year ranked 3rd in home runs when facing righties and were also quite efficient (4th in batting average).

The only real edge we can hand Santana is experience. The 34-year old hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2009, but he does have two starts and 8 appearances under his belt. He really only pitched at an elite level once (2009, over 4 games) and has naturally regressed a bit as the years went on.

Adding to the allure of the Yanks is their ability to take down the Twins in short duty this year (4-2 over 6 meetings). In summary, the Yanks have the better offensive splits, they’re at home, they have the more talented pitcher and they took the season series.

Most MLB betting sites are very much in favor of New York, but it’s gotten to the point where the gap is too wide. We can’t actually roll with the Yankees at -240, as we’re getting nothing back. We can consider backing the Twins if we’re throwing caution to the wind, but there isn’t a ton of logic behind them.

That leaves New York’s -1.5 Run Line at -120 or a bet on the 7.5 Total. Considering it’s playoff baseball – even in this park – it’s logical to expect this game to be pretty close and also fairly low-scoring.

The offenses could do serious damage here, but the starting pitching is rather good and could easily be good enough to keep this one contained. If I’m betting here, I really only want two bets. I’m either aiming high with the Twins at +205 or I’m betting the pitching keeps this game a little quieter than we’d like.

Even a 4-3 Yankees win gets us a successful bet and at -110 for the Under, we get solid value. I like the Under here, even with all of the power and the volatile setting.

Pick: Under 7.5 (-110)
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