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WHAT’S ON TAP IN SPORTS FOR WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2019:

It’s a big day for all hockey fans around the country and worldwide. The 2019-20 NHL season starts tonight with four games on the schedule. The reigning champs St. Louis Blues will open against the 2018 NHL champions Washington Capitals.

Elsewhere, we will see the clash between the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card game. Hereof, let’s take a look at our free betting picks of the day:

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MLB:

American League Wild Card: Rays +130 at Athletics -134

NHL:

Senators +250 at Maple Leafs -300

Capitals +120 at Blues -140

Canucks +110 at Oilers -130

Sharks +150 at Golden Knights -170

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  • Tampa Bay Rays vs. Oakland Athletics

The Rays visit the Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in the American League wild-card game. The winner will face the Houston Astros in the ALDS. The Athletics won the regular-season series 4-3 and are listed as slight favorites to beat the Rays Wednesday night.

Charlie Morton will toe the slab for the Rays. The right-hander is 16-6 this season with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. Morton was one of the most consistent starting pitchers in the American League, and the Rays are on a five-game winning streak with him on the mound.

Morton was 3-0 in five starts in September, tallying a 2.73 ERA. He’s 2-1 in seven starts against the Athletics in his career. Morton usually goes to 100 pitches and could last for six innings, but the Rays often go to their bullpen quickly.

On the other side, Sean Manaea will get the ball for the Athletics. The lefty returned to action in September after offseason shoulder surgery. He’s 4-0 in five starts, recording a 1.21 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP.

Manaea is 1-1 in three starts against the Rays in his career. He earned the starting call over Mike Fiers who went 15-4 this season with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

Betting on the wild-card game is always a tricky job. Both Tampa Bay and Oakland have a deep bullpen, especially the Rays, but the A’s possess more offensive firepower than their rivals.

I think the A’s will win this clash after some excellent displays in Oakland this year. The A’s have the third-best home record in the American League (52-29). They are 9-3 in the last 12 outings at home, while the Rays are 4-6 in their previous ten contests on the road.

  • Oakland Athletics -134 over Tampa Bay Rays

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  • Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Atlantic Conference showdown at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada, will see the Ottawa Senators facing off the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Senators were the worst team in the NHL last season with a 29-47-6 record. On the other side, the Maple Leafs finished third in the Atlantic Conference with a 46-28-8 record and lost to the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.

While the Maple Leafs are looking for another successful regular season, hoping for a deep postseason run, the Senators are rebuilding. However, the Senators defeated the Maple Leafs in three of their four encounters last season.

Likewise, the Senators won both head-to-head duels in the preseason. They are 12-4 in the last 16 meetings with the Maple Leafs and 6-2 in the previous eight encounters in Toronto.

Hereof, I’m going against the betting trends here, backing the Maple Leafs to beat the Senators by two or more goals. They are opening at home against a familiar opponent and are certainly keen to get a payoff for all those losses over the last few years.  

  • Toronto Maple Leafs -115 over Ottawa Senators by two or more goals

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