Braves and Rangers are favored in Wild Card playoff games

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I’d never recommend using betting lines for actual betting, but the Las Vegas odds do provide a clear picture of which teams are the favorites and which teams are the underdogs. And that can be valuable come playoff time, when every player on every team loves to say stuff like “no one thought we would win” and “we shocked the world” and all that.

For tonight’s Wild Card playoff games both home teams are favored, and by sizable margins.

Kris Medlen and the Braves are -170 favorites over Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals, which means you’d have to risk $170 to win $100 and Atlanta must win at least 63 percent of the time for that to be a profitable bet.

Yu Darvish and the Rangers are -190 favorites over Joe Saunders and the Orioles, which means you’d have to risk $190 to win $100 and Texas must win at least 66 percent of the time for that to be a profitable bet.

Now, those aren’t huge favorites because during the regular season there are regularly teams with -250 or even -275 lines and sometimes it goes as high as -300, but the Braves and Rangers are definitely expected to win tonight.

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.