Good afternoon sports fans, it's Chris Bengel back with you again.
The Major League Baseball postseason has offered us a dose of the unexpected thus far. We saw the likes of Max Fried and Justin Verlander get hit around on Tuesday and exit their respective starts quite a bit earlier than many expected. Much to the surprise of some, the Phillies stole Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Braves and, in the nightcap, I at least assumed that Gerrit Cole would have his fair share of struggles against a scrappy Guardians lineup but he was locked in.
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Today is another day, so let's get to Wednesday's picks.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: The under is 4-0-1 in the Dodgers' last five home games
- The Pick: Under 7.0 runs (-105)
There were eight runs scored in Game 1, but I don't expect a repeat because the pitching matchup is a little more even in Game 2. The Padres will be sending right-hander Yu Darvish to the mound and he hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in a start since Aug. 13. Darvish is coming off an exceptional performance against the Mets in the Wild Card round in which he yielded just one earned run on six hits across seven innings. In his last start against the Dodgers on Sept. 2, Darvish tossed seven shutout innings and recorded a win as he held Los Angeles to just a pair of hits.
Meanwhile, veteran southpaw Clayton Kershaw will get the ball for the Dodgers. He's allowed just two earned runs or fewer in each of his last eight starts entering the postseason. In addition, the left-hander has only conceded two runs in two of those outings. With two aces with postseason experience on the mound, I'm very comfortable riding with the under in this one. The lineups may be dangerous, but these pitchers are more than capable of keeping them at bay.
💰 More picks
Kraken at Ducks, 10 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Kraken (+105): -- The 2022-23 NHL season is officially underway and that means renewed hope for many teams around the league. Two of those teams are the Kraken and the Ducks. With some new blood injected into their respective lineups, I expect this matchup to be a very close one.
The Ducks got the best of the Kraken last season as they were victorious in two of the three meetings and held a 14-9 advantage in the goals department. However, Seattle added an abundance of talent in the offseason, led by winger Andre Burakovsky. Joining Burakovsky on the team's top line is Seattle's top prospect in Matty Beniers, who has been labeled as a dark horse for the Calder Trophy.
It's possible that the Ducks will be without top goaltender John Gibson, who suffered an upper-body injury in the team's preseason finale over the weekend. Even if Gibson is in net, I still like the Kraken as an underdog in this spot with their added weapons.
Key Trend: The Ducks are 1-5 in their last six games against the Pacific Division
The Pick: Clayton Kershaw Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-158): -- There have been few pitchers throwing the ball better than Kershaw since the All-Star break. The Dodgers left-hander has tallied at least five strikeouts in six of his last seven starts. In his most recent start against the Rockies, Kershaw racked up nine punch-outs across just five innings. Additionally, Kershaw hasn't lost a start since July 30 and has recorded a win in four of his last five outings.
He's lasted at least six innings in four of his last five starts, so he should have every opportunity to get those five strikeouts against a Padres team that may be a tad more aggressive since they're trailing by a game in the series.
Key Trend: Kershaw has recorded at least five strikeouts in six of his last seven starts