The San Diego Padres are set to visit the New York Mets for Game 1 of the National League Wild Card round tonight from Citi Field.San Diego Padres (+132) vs. New York Mets (-156) Total: 6 (O -118, U -104)
Just because the Mets are the biggest favorites to advance from the Wild Card round doesn’t mean there isn’t some value in this matchup against the Padres. If San Diego can find their stride, and that’s a big if, this has the potential to be a much better series than many people expect. Still, the Mets have every right to be a sizable favorite, especially considering their 54-27 home record. Entering Game 1, the visiting Padres will send right-hander Yu Darvish to the bump, while the Mets will counter with experienced postseason performer Max Scherzer. Darvish had another great regular season, compiling a 16-8 record with a 3.10 ERA and 197 strikeouts, while Mad Max was 11-5 with a 2.29 ERA and 173 punchouts. What’s compelling about this matchup, and likely why the Padres aren’t even more significant underdogs, is Darvish’s success against the Metropolitans in his career. The righty has made eight starts against the Mets dating back to 2014 and has won his last four games against them. In 2022, he’s made two starts against them, pitching 14 innings and allowing just one earned run while striking out 15. In one start against the Padres this year, Scherzer pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs well, striking out eight. Darvish has shown well against the Mets but hasn’t in the postseason, so it won’t be easy to trust him tonight. Despite the value the Padres are offering, it’s hard to avoid Scherzer pitching at home, where he’s posted a 4-2 record with a sparkling 1.67 ERA in ten starts on the campaign.
Best Bet: Mets moneyline (-156)
The theme of the day might be looking towards the under, which doesn’t necessarily have to do with each sending their big guns to the mound for Game 1. Still, Darvish and Scherzer are very capable of showing up for these types of games, even if the Friars right-hander has struggled in his postseason career. With him finding success against the Mets but having a puzzling experience in the postseason, it’s hard to decide what direction to lean with the total set at just six. Both starters deserve plenty of respect entering this Game 1, but it’s not hard to envision this game ending up being decided with a 4-3 score, so the over is the direction bettors should look at.
Best Bet: Over six (-104)
What we can expect from Darvish in this postseason opener is uncertain, but it’s hard to erase his previous success against the Mets. In both of his starts this season, Darvish was able to record six or more strikeouts. How he starts early will be a key to him sticking around, knowing that things could get away from him with this powerful Mets lineup. Citi Field will produce a crazy atmosphere, but it’s not like the right-hander is unfamiliar with pitching on the big stage. Despite concerns, the value for Darvish to strike out six or more batters is too good to pass up at +100.
Best Prop: Yu Darvish 6+ Strikeouts (+100)