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$FML's Best MLB Bet - 10/17

Cleveland Guardians @ New York Yankees

100% of the pressure is on New York. Would you want to be them?

The ‘22 Guardians are the youngest team in MLB history to win 90+ games, the division and make the playoffs.

They’re powered by the 4th lowest payroll ($66 million) in baseball and led by Terry Francona, a highly respected manager best known for upsetting the Yankees in historic fashion in October 2004.

Meanwhile, New York has the 2nd highest payroll, and their two highest paid players alone (Gerritt Cole $36MM, Giancarlo Stanton $29MM) cost more than the entire Guardians roster. Their 5th highest paid player (Aroldis Chapman $18MM) isn’t even on the team anymore after skipping a mandatory workout before this series.

Yankee fans are passionate, ruthless, blue collar and paying top dollar for tickets tonight. Even the sensational Aaron Judge isn’t immune to being booed in the Bronx.

You’d think with their big payroll, the Yankees could afford to send an ace-quality pitcher to the bump tonight, right? You know whose starting? #50. That’s Jameson Taillon’s number, and he’s been shaky… to put it kindly. In a crucial relief appearance on Friday, he allowed 2 earned runs without recording a single out. That performance left him with a career postseason ERA of… INFINITY. It won’t stay that way (assuming he’ll record at least one out), but it’s still damn funny. If Taillon isn’t sharp or the offense is sleepy, the Bleacher Creatures will be quick to boo, and the favorites will feel like they’re walking on eggshells.

The last 3 times the youngest team in the league made the playoffs, they went on to the World Series. The Yankees are under immense pressure to prevent that tonight, and they very well might. I just wouldn’t want to be them under all this pressure. Would you?

The Simulations:

For what it’s worth, I simulated this game 1,000 times using Out of the Park Baseball software. I used projected lineups, factored in the available relief pitchers (including SP options, where applicable), and activated the Elimination Game setting. Here’s what happened:


Take these results with a grain of salt, but Cleveland won 47.1% of simulated games, which compares to 42.6% implied probability at the +135 moneyline price tonight. That’s a +4.5% edge vs. the listed price. More often than not, the Yankees still won. But they didn’t win enough to justify laying -150. 

Bottom line: All the pressure is on New York. Cleveland has the better manager, and that matters in an elimination game like this. My simulation exercise detects value on Cleveland ML at +135 and for what it’s worth, so do BallPark Pal simulations (44.6% win probability, +2% edge).

I bet 0.5 units (i.e. half my normal bet size) on the Guardians at +135 and would take this down to +125, but no lower.

The Pick: Cleveland Guardians ML (+135)
odds via Bet365 or Draftkings

$FML's Best Bet

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Cleveland Guardians ML @ +135
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