2018 Baseball Playoffs
After you get past the adrenaline rush, it’s all about the matchups and the odds. As of the writing of this article, we are entering a pair of divsional series games in both the American and National Leagues with the AL Wild Card matchup still looming.
Here’s a glance at what’s on tap the next few days (Game 1 odds listed as available):
- Oct 3: AL Wild Card (Oakland +150 @ New York -175) elmination game
- Oct 4: National League Divisional Series Game 1 (Atlanta +151 @ LA -176)
- Oct 4: National League Divsional Series Game 1 (Colorado @ Milwaukee)
- Oct 5: American League Divisional Series Game 1 (NY/Oak winner @Boston)
- Oct 5: American League Divsional Series Game 1 (Cleveland+130 @Houston-150)
Betting by series
Most hardcore baseball bettors I know prefer to bet by series or by future wager when it comes down to the playoffs.
This is not to eschew the notion of betting individual games when you find a favorable line or matchup, but betting by series makes good sense considering the highly contentious and volatile nature of postseason baseball. In other words, you may not want to let everything ride on a single game that is very likely to be determined by a run or two in the late innings.
There are several different options when looking at MLB playoff betting odds and most are supported by our wagering partners such as Bovada. It makes the most sense to look at the big picture first, so let’s examine each remaining team’s odds to win the World Series.
Odds to win World Series
- Boston Red Sox +330
- Houston Astros +340
- MIlwaukee Brewers +650
- Los Angeles Dodgers +650
- Cleveland Indians +900
- New York Yankees +1000
- Atlanta Braves +1200
- Colorado Rockies +1200
- Oakland Athletics +1800
There’s little doubt concerning the teams to beat: Boston and Houston can be considered 1 and 1-A for that distinction and both are deserving faves. Boston showed its dominance all season long winning an astounding 108 games. Houston, the reigning WS champs weren’t far off, tallying 103 wins.
But regular season wins don’t always translate to the postseason. While there’s no compelling reason to bet against the Red Sox or Astros, let’s not forget the obvious point that both hail from the American League and that only one can even make the World Series.
Choosing between the two squads, I like Boston because of their bullpen depth. The Astros are again a prolific offensive team, but Boston led the majors in team batting average whle the Astros finished 6th in that category.
My head says this Boston Red Sox team will win the World Series, but I’m not sure +330 represents decent wagering value. In searching for a team that has a legitimate shot at a much better price, I’ll take the Yankees at +1000 even though I’m prepared to feel very stupid if they fail to escape their WildCard elimination game against Oakland.
Other MLB playoff bets of note
There are so many ways to bet the playoffs, it can make your head spin. One bet that intrigues me because of its sheer number of combinations and value is the prop on World Series matchups. In short, each potential World Series matchup is assigned odds based on probability.
Like everyone else, we’ve kind of ignored the National League teams in this discussion. Among the Brewers, Dodgers, Braves and Rockies, the Dodgers are clearly expected to emerge as the NL representative. I’m not so sure about that. In fact, I think there’s a solid chance, LA loses its divisional series to the Braves.
The Atlanta Braves are riding a wave of momentum as their young talent developed much more rapidly than pundits expected. This team manufactures runs and has solid pitching. Let’s not forget that the Dodgers have a history of choking in the playoffs – ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw’s well-documented struggles withstanding.
I actually think the Braves could make the World Series, so I like a trio of props:
- Boston vs. Atlanta (+1300)
- Houston vs Atlanta (+1300)
- New York vs Atlanta (+3000)
If the Braves make the playoffs, I’ll be getting good value regardless, so I’ll make three separate wagers pairing the Braves with the most likely candidates from the American League. I’ll go heavier on Boston and Houston and a little lighter on New York simply to represent probability and equalize my potential returns.
In closing, I encourage all baseball and betting fans to examine the myriad of ways to bet the playoffs and find the best wagering value for your dollar. This is one great time of year!
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