Well, that was quick. In the blink of an eye, the wild-card round was over.
All four best-of-three series resulted in sweeps, leaving us without any playoff baseball games for two whole days in October. But the action picks up again on Saturday, with all eight remaining teams in action to kick off the Division Series round.
According to bet365 oddsmakers, the Atlanta Braves are the team to beat with +260 odds to win the World Series. However, the Braves will now square off in a National League Division Series rematch from 2022 with the Philadelphia Phillies, who only needed four games to dispatch Atlanta in last year’s playoffs before marching on to the World Series.
Atlanta Braves to win World Series
Let’s dive in and examine the World Series and Division Series odds for the eight teams remaining.
World Series odds
|Team||World Series Odds||To Win League|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+400||+200|
As previously mentioned, the Braves are the favourites (+260) to win the Fall Classic, but their path to the World Series is actually quite difficult. Firstly, they’ll have to exact revenge on the Phillies for last season’s early playoff departure. This will be easier said than done against a Phillies team with some serious momentum after easily dispatching Miami in the opening round. If the Braves can slip past the Phillies, they’ll then likely meet the Dodgers, who have the second shortest outright odds, in the National League Championship Series. Should Atlanta advance to the World Series, another tough matchup will be looming against Baltimore, Texas, Minnesota, or Houston.
Speaking of the Astros, the defending World Series champions have the shortest outright odds (+450) coming out of the AL. The young Orioles also have relatively short odds at +650.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, who upset the Milwaukee Brewers in the wild-card round, have the longest World Series odds in either league at +1600.
Houston Astros to win the World Series
Division Series Prices
|Team||To Win Series||Prediction|
|Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins||Astros (-160), Twins (+140)||Astros|
|Baltimore Orioles vs. Texas Rangers||Orioles (-125), Rangers (+105)||Orioles|
|Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks||Dodgers (-240), Diamondbacks (+200)||Dodgers|
|Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies||Braves (-175), Phillies (+155)||Phillies|
Carlos Correa will be looking across the dugout at his former Astros mates wondering if the Twins, who snapped an ugly 18-game losing streak in the postseason with two dominant pitching performances against the Blue Jays in the wild-card round, can pull off a big upset against the defending champs. Minnesota did itself a favour by taking care of business so quickly against the Jays, and the extra two days of rest prior to the start of this ALDS series should benefit the Twins and allow both Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray to potentially pitch twice in this best-of-five series. Both starting pitchers were incredible against Toronto, and they’ll need to ride that momentum in order to have a chance against Houston, which boasts a much more potent lineup than the Jays. Ultimately, I think the Twins come up just short and lose this series in five games.
Did anyone expect the upstart Orioles to have the best record in the AL this year? We’ll see if they’re truly ready to make the jump to World Series contenders this weekend and whether or not their young core gets stage fright under the bright lights of the postseason. Kyle Bradish has been pitching like a true No. 1 starter down the stretch (closed the season with 16 scoreless innings), but Baltimore’s pitching staff is unproven in the postseason. And the Orioles will begin their quest for World Series glory without closer Felix Bautista, who needs Tommy John surgery. The Rangers have pitching question marks of their own, though, particularly in the bullpen. Their relievers posted an ugly 4.77 ERA during the regular season and converted only 30 of their 63 opportunities (47%). In a longer five-game series, bullpens will play a bigger role in the outcome, giving the Orioles a huge advantage, even without Bautista.
Kudos to the D-Backs for being one of the most fun teams to watch this season. Corbin Carroll is the runaway favourite to win the NL Rookie of the Year, and he collected four hits — including a two-run homer in Game 1 — in seven at-bats in the opening round of the postseason to prove he’s a pressure performer. We picked the D-Backs’ upset (+170) over the Brewers in the wild-card round, but the Dodgers are a different beast. They’re -240 series favourites for a reason, and it’ll take a miracle for Arizona to prevail in this series.
We have to save the best for the last. The Braves and Phillies series has the potential to be the most entertaining of the entire postseason. Much like the Twins, the Phillies will benefit from taking care of business quickly in the wild-card round so that they can maximize the innings starters Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler can provide in the NLDS. Atlanta’s lineup is deadly and stacked with power hitters, but the Braves do have some concerns surrounding their starting pitching. Spencer Strider is a lock to start the first game of the series, but who will start Game 2? Max Fried is dealing with a blister on his throwing hand, so his availability, and potential effectiveness, are questionable. Veteran right-hander Charlie Morton, who has an excellent track record in the postseason, has been ruled out of the series with a finger issue. Will Bryce Elder get the ball for Game 3? He allowed 13 runs over 12 1/3 innings to close out the regular season. The upset watch is officially on. If the Phillies can split the opening two games in Atlanta before heading home for the next two games of the series, look out.