Padres vs Mets NL Wild Card Game 1 Picks and Predictions: Mad Max Steals the Show

This Wild Card matchup is filled with big names on both sides, but which team can break through when it matters most? The Padres and Mets have potent lineups, but our MLB betting picks and predictions will be zoning in Max Scherzer to shine in Game 1.

Andrew Caley - Senior Betting Analyst at
Andrew Caley • Senior Betting Analyst
Oct 7, 2022 • 16:00 ET • 4 min read

For my money, the San Diego Padres vs. the New York Mets is the most interesting series of the MLB Wild Card round, with Game 1 getting underway in Queens Friday night.

San Diego made the biggest splash this season by trading for Juan Soto and Josh Hader, but the impact of those moves wasn’t felt in its second-half results. Meanwhile, New York will have to quickly refocus after coughing up the National League East Division crown in the final week of the season.

Luckily, it hands the ball to one of the most focused pitchers in baseball, Max Scherzer. And with the Padres countering with Yu Darvish, this is the best pitcher’s duel on the board on Friday night. But even with these aces on the bump is the total of 6.0 too low?

I break it all down and give you my best bet in my MLB betting picks and predictions for Padres vs. Mets.

Padres vs Mets best odds

Padres vs Mets picks and predictions

This game is obviously all about the starters. 

Darvish was outstanding in the second half of the season for the Padres, pitching to a 2.71 ERA and limiting opponents to a .199 batting average over 13 starts. But I really want to focus on Scherzer here. 

If there is anyone that can put the disappointment of losing the division behind him, it’s "Mad Max". Scherzer also knows what it takes to go from the Wild Card round to a World Series championship thanks to the 2019 run with the Washington Nationals.

His numbers aren’t bad either.

Over 15 starts since the start of July, Scherzer has pitched to a 2.16 ERA, limiting opponents to a .208 batting average while striking out 10.7 batters per nine innings. 

The 38-year-old’s durability has been just as impressive. The right-hander is averaging 6.38 innings per start over that 15-start stretch. In fact, he’s thrown at least 5 2-3 innings in 21 of his 23 starts this season. So, it’s a little funny to see his outs recorded number at 16.5 for Game 1.

Then there is San Diego's lineup. Everyone expected it to be on the Dodgers’ level after trading for Juan Soto, Josh Bell, and Brandon Drury, but it just hasn’t worked out that way. Overall, the numbers say this is a middling lineup lacking some pop, ranking 14th in batting average, 11th in OPS, and ninth in wRC+ in the second half of the season.

Scherzer also made one start against the Pads this season, lasting six innings and allowing just two runs on five hits while striking out eight.

Yes, managers generally have a shorter leash with starters in playoff games, but have you seen people try to take Scherzer out of important games? It usually doesn’t end well for the manager. The DH now in the National League also eliminates the need for things like double switches and pinch hitting for the pitcher.

"Mad Max" shows up for this one and pitches deep enough in this one to cash his outs recorded prop.

My best bet: Max Scherzer Over 16.5 outs recorded (-125)

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Padres vs Mets Wild Card odds

Teams Odds to win series
Steelers San Diego Padres +165
Browns New York Mets -185

Padres vs Mets moneyline analysis

There are some interesting lines for all of the Game 1’s on Friday night. But the Mets being around the -140 to -150 range seems the most properly priced of them all. 

The starters in this matchup are obviously a wash and should dominate the game early on. But once we get into the bullpens, it’s a different story.

In the second half of the season, Mets' relievers ranked 10th in ERA, sixth in FIP, and owned the third-highest strikeout rate in baseball — punching out 27.7% of the batters they faced. Meanwhile, the Padres rank 15th, 10th, and 17th in those respective categories.

That gap may not seem that huge, but it has been the Padres’ high-leverage relievers who have been the biggest issue. Josh Hader looks lost and has lost his grip on not only his pitches but the closer role as well.  

The Mets may not have the same star power as the Padres but they have been the more reliable lineup throughout the season. New York ranked second in batting average, sixth in OPS, and third in wRC+.

Those edges and Scherzer on the bump have me leaning toward the Mets.

Padres vs Mets Over/Under analysis

Get used to seeing these low totals in the postseason. Even with guys with Scherzer and Darvish on the mound, it takes some guts to take an Under 6. 

This game feels like it will be low scoring for the first half, so if you’re looking for an early sweat the Under first-five innings might be worth your time. But once the starters are out of this game, it won’t be a shock to see a few more runs scored.

The combination of the Mets' consistency at the plate and the volatile nature of the Padres' bullpen makes me feel like we could see some scoring in the later innings here. So, that gives me pause when wagering the full-game total.

Padres vs Mets trend to know

The Mets are 18-6 in their last 24 games vs. a starter with a WHIP of less than 1.15. Find more MLB betting trends for Padres vs. Mets

Padres vs Mets game info

Location: Citi Field, Flushing, NY
Date: Friday, October 7, 2022
First pitch: 8:07 p.m. ET

Starting pitchers

Yu Darvish (16-8, 3.10 ERA): In a rotation full of big names, Darvish has clearly been the best of the bunch for the Padres. He has pitched 6-plus innings in 23 consecutive starts limiting opponents to two earned runs or fewer 13 times over that span.

Max Scherzer (11-5, 2.29 ERA): "Mad Max" just never seems to slow down. He may be 38 years old but has been nearly as dominant as ever. On top of that, he has postseason experience. He owns a 2.31 ERA in 10 postseason games dating back to 2019.

Padres vs Mets latest injuries

Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Padres vs Mets weather

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