Both National League Division Series continue on Friday night in a doubleheader on TBS and will draw plenty of action at sportsbooks.
First off, the Philadelphia Phillies host the Cincinnati Reds for Game 2 of their NLDS matchup at 6:07 p.m. ET. After Phillies ace Roy Halladay threw the second no-hitter in MLB playoff history in Game 1, Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.76 ERA) has a pretty tough act to follow in Game 2. [ NLDS Odds - Phillies vs Reds Matchup Report ]
Still, books made the Phillies the favorite again, listing them around -190 on average. That’s largely because Oswalt was simply sensational after arriving from the Houston Astros via midseason trade. He made 12 starts and went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA, holding opponents to a .186 average. The run total falls around seven at most books but, given the way Oswalt has pitched, bettors have to wonder if the UNDER is the stronger play.
Oswalt’s craziest stat of all: his career record versus the Cincinnati Reds. He’s 23-3 with a 2.81 lifetime ERA against them. However, the Reds did tag him for six runs in five innings the last time he faced them; Joey Votto and Ramon Hernandez each took him deep.
The Reds counter with Bronson Arroyo (17-10, 3.88 ERA). The big righty was 10-5 on the road this year but is just 1-5 in his career with eight homers allowed in 39 innings versus the Phillies. Ryan Howard owns Arroyo, batting .364 with two homers and seven RBI in 22 career at-bats against him. That’s a big reason why the Reds are underdogs for Game 2.
At 9:37 p.m. ET, the San Francisco Giants host Atlanta for Game 2 of their NLDS with a crackerjack pitching matchup on tap. Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.33 ERA) has a bright future as the Braves’ ace but Atlanta will still be a slight underdog on the road as Hanson makes his first career playoff start.
There could be value for bettors here considering that Hanson has a 2.57 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 14 innings with no homers allowed against San Francisco in his career. [ NLDS Odds - Giants vs Braves Matchup Report ]
Giants Game 2 starter Matt Cain (13-11, 3.14 ERA) makes a playoff debut of his own on Friday. He has a so-so track record against Atlanta in his career, going 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in five starts. Though some of the statistical trends favor Hanson and the Braves, the books will still lean the Giants’ way, perhaps because Cain has a 3.19 ERA over 90 career starts at AT&T Park.
If there’s one recommendation for bettors, it may be to follow the UNDER. Cain and Hanson are both pretty dominant and, of the eight Major League teams to reach the 2010 playoffs, the Braves and Giants scored the fewest runs this season.