We've got just four teams that are left fighting it out on the MLB betting lines this year, and we know that the most important aspect of the game come this time of year is in the starting pitchers. Check out some of the horses that are going to be on the mound and which ones we are watching to bet on and to fade.
FADE: Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers - It's not that we think Greinke is a bad pitcher, but we know that he hasn't pitched that well in the postseason in his career. He was okay against the Braves in the first round of the playoffs, but he did get the loss in Game 2 after allowing two runs in six frames. Remember that Game 1 is on the road in St. Louis, and we can tell you right away that this is a tremendous problem, as teams this time of year generally don't fare all that well at Busch Stadium.
FADE: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers - Scherzer has to be all out of sorts right now. He was used in relief in Game 4 of the series against the A's, and he wasn't all that special when he was put there. Scherzer allowed three runs in nine innings in that series, which isn't all that bad. However, he also loaded the bases and had to work to get out of it in a crucial inning in relief against Oakland. We're really concerned that 21 wins in the regular season (and now two more in the playoffs) are going to really catch the oddsmakers eyes and make this team a bigger favorite than it should be in Game 2. However, after throwing 165 pitches in two appearances last week, we aren't all that sure that the soon-to-be Cy Young Award winner should really be considered a favorite at all against that potent Red Sox lineup.
FADE: Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox - Buchholz finally didn't live to tell about a big game. He has been allowing a lot of teams to get into a lot of big spots over the course of the end of the regular season, but he found a way to get out of a lot of those innings. He finally cracked just a bit against the Rays, allowing a three-run homer to 3B Evan Longoria. Buchholz didn't get the loss in that game against Tampa Bay, but we didn't like the way that he pitched. This could be a man to take advantage of here in the second season, especially against that great Detroit lineup.
BACK: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers - What's not to like about Verlander right now? He has thrown 15 innings in the playoffs and has allowed six hits and two walks, and he has struck out 21 batters. Dating back to the regular season, Verlander has put 28 straight zeroes on the board, and there isn't another pitcher in the game that can say anything of the sorts. Forget about that atrocious regular season. It's payback time for Verlander, and we think that he is going to have a huge series against the Red Sox starting this weekend.
BACK: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers - Though we aren't all that wild about backing Greinke, we know that we have no choice but to back Kershaw. Lefty pitchers should fare better against the Cardinals than should righties, and Kershaw has been flat out bananas over the course of the whole season. He isn't a winning money pitcher this year, but he did lead the Dodgers to two wins against the Braves. It can't possibly get much more difficult than that. The Cards have had no luck against Kershaw over the course of his career, and this should be no exception.
BACK: Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals - Even though we might only see Wainwright pitch once in the NLCS, and that might come on the road against the Dodgers, it's going to come against a rookie pitcher who didn't look all that stellar in his first career postseason start against Atlanta. Wainwright has only pitched at home thus far in the second season, but his numbers are nuts overall in the playoffs in his career. Wainwright was dominating in Game 5 against Pittsburgh, and if St. Louis can figure out how to split these two games on the road, it would be a tremendous accomplishment with Wainwright pitching in Game 3. If this series goes seven, there isn't a man that we would rather have on the mound that is going to be available than Wainwright, and we would to think that he would pitch the Cards to the World Series at that point.