Monday Night Football and MLB Postseason Should Keep You …

Andy Pettitte takes to the mound for the first time in the postseason since losing Game 3 of the ALCS in 2010.

 

Indianapolis, Miami, Seattle, and St. Louis were all underdog winners in Week 5 of the NFL and the New York Jets will be hoping to join them as they host Houston on Monday Night Football. The matchup will bring this week’s NFL action to a close before Thursday Night Football sees Pittsburgh travel to Tennessee.

Football’s not the only big time action tonight either. The divisional round of the MLB postseason continues with two pivotal matchups, one either side of the NL/AL divide. First, the Cardinals host the Nationals before the Yankees visit Baltimore.

Put simply, there’s enough betting action tonight to keep you off the streets.

 

NFL: Houston Texans @ New York Jets

8:30 PM ET

Houston New York. We have a problem.

With news that Santonio Holmes is on the shelf for the rest of the year, the green side of New York is panicking. The Jets (2-2, 1-1 home) are under-manned with the ‘Best Team in Football’ coming to town for tonight’s edition of Monday Night Football.

Houston (4-0, 2-0 road) has looked sharp both offensively and defensively this season on the way to an unbeaten record through four weeks of play. The Texans will be a wildly popular choice to join the Atlanta Falcons as the only 5-0 teams in the league.

The miserable Jets have shown very few signs of life since a surprising Week 1 demolition job on Buffalo, with last week’s 34-0 shutout by San Francisco proving the icing on a very unsavory, not to mention ugly, cake. Sure, San Francisco looks like one of the league’s best, but how does a team tally exactly zero points at home?

History favors the Jets, who are 5-0 all-time against the Texans, but common sense declares bettors must stay away from the Jets.

Odds: Houston is favorite (-9) heading into the game with the under/over at 41 points.

Take: Houston. If there’s a lifeline for the Jets, it’s very well hidden. Houston will have few problems against a weakened Jets team, and will beat the spread for the fifth time this season. The total may well go under – as is common with both of these sides of late – but if it goes over it’ll be down to Houston racking up the points.

 

MLB: Washington Nationals @ St. Louis Cardinals (WAS leads series 1-0)

4:30 PM ET

Pitching matchup: Jordan Zimmerman (12-8, 2.98 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (7-7, 3.92 ERA)

The Nationals made hard work of their first postseason game since moving south from Montreal, narrowly picking off St. Louis 3-2 on Sunday night.

It took some eighth inning heroics from rookie Tyler Moore to fend off the Cardinals, who were flying high on Friday’s stunning upset of the Atlanta Braves in the Wild Card round.

Jordan Zimmerman takes the mound for the Nationals, hoping to propel the team to a 2-0 series lead before heading back to Washington for the Capital’s first postseason baseball game since 1933. He has the advantage on paper over St. Louis’ Jaime Garcia but paper means exactly squat at this time of the season.

For the Nationals to be successful they’ll need to have better offensive performances from the likes of Jayson Werth. For St. Louis, more of the same will suffice.

Take: Washington. When a team gets away with a narrow victory – as Washington did last night – it tends to generate a little extra impetus to do better next time out. St. Louis needs to regroup after being ‘so close’.

 

MLB: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles (NYY leads series 1-0)

8:00 PM ET

Pitching matchup: Andy Pettitte (5-4, 2.87 ERA) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (12-11, 4.02 ERA)

Baltimore’s bullpen has been instrumental in the Orioles making the postseason for the first time in 15 years. It’s ironic then that it was the bullpen that lost Sunday night’s series opener.

That bullpen could be vital again tonight as Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen averages just six innings per start. Six innings this time round will lead to some nervous jitters for sure. The Orioles though will be buoyed by the knowledge that when Chen pitches on six days rest – as he will do on Monday – his ERA drops to 2.28.

Andy Pettitte finds himself as the number two man in the rotation for the first time this year. The Yankees will be hoping that the veteran is more than just a good omen.

New York has played well at Camden Yards all season (6-3) and will be confident that those ninth inning hot bats will follow through to Monday night’s game.

Take: New York. The Yankees have much more to prove than the Orioles this season, and it started well last night. Now the trick for the Orioles will be going into Yankee Stadium and picking up wins. That might not be as daunting a task as you think: the Orioles are 6-3 at the Stadium this season.

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