October always means it’s time for the MLB playoffs to start up. This postseason should be another whirlwind experience, as there were plenty of good teams during the regular season.
Before making any type of bets on the action, this is a look at what to expect as the games heat up. There are favorites just like any year, but most think of this as a pretty wide-open race for the 2021 World Series championship.
With eight teams remaining in the playoffs, the first thing to look at is series odds in the divisional round. There are some very intriguing matchups across the board, and since they are set in stone, this is a breakdown of all four.
Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox
The Houston Astros are slight favorites going into the divisional round series against the Chicago White Sox, hovering around -135 with the money line. Truth be told, these two teams are very evenly matched, and it could go either way. Chicago has the better pitching, and a lot of their pitchers come with high velocity as well. That has always played very well in the postseason, and could be the largest factor in determining a winner.
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Yes, Houston has more postseason experience, but they just haven’t looked as dominating as many thought at the beginning of the year. They have kind of cruised into the playoffs, and they might not be able to stand up to the White Sox in a short series. Go with the White Sox as the slight underdog to move on.
Pick: Chicago White Sox
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
These two American League East teams were among the best all year long. Even though Tampa Bay ran away with the division, many still feel confident with what Boston brings to the table. Given that there are so many inexperienced players on the staff for Tampa Bay, a lot of baseball fans are wondering if that could play a factor as well.
The defending American League champions are used to people not really knowing who is on their roster. Considering that they are relying on Shane McClanahan and Shane Baz as just two of their starters, that will once again be true in 2021. Most people outside of Tampa Bay don’t even know who these guys are, despite having a ton of success in their short MLB career.
As great as Tampa Bay runs their system, a five-game series is always tough when facing a rival. Boston has a little bit of momentum after taking care of the New York Yankees in the wildcard, and they could carry that to a victory.
Pick: Boston Red Sox
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Atlanta Braves
Corbin Burnes might headline the Milwaukee Brewers’ staff, but the fact is, they will be throwing a variety of arms at the Atlanta Braves all series long. Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, and Eric Lauer all found a good amount of success in the regular season, and that should carry over to the playoffs as well.
This is without even mentioning arms such as Josh Hader and Brad Boxberger waiting for Atlanta out of the bullpen. They will be missing Devin Williams for sure, but they have the pitching to compete with anyone. The offense just needs to be average to come through.
As for the Braves, they obviously will not be at full strength either. They lost Ronald Acuna Jr. early on in the year, and the MVP candidate for years to come would be a huge focal point in this matchup if he were around. They have a solid offense, but they didn’t do a ton in the regular season against the Brewers. Pitching usually trumps hitting in the regular season, so take the Brewers this round.
Pick: Milwaukee Brewers
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
This is by far the most intriguing matchup of the divisional round. These two teams sat atop the National League West all year long, and they both have serious World Series aspirations. It’s a shame that one of them has to lose this early in the playoffs, but the five-game series should be a good one.
San Francisco comes in a bit more well-rested with their pitching staff, as they didn’t have to play the wildcard game. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers might have the deepest team in all of baseball, so that extra game won’t hurt them too much.
The star power of the Dodgers seems like they would be the key to winning this match-up. However, San Francisco has been getting things done with a slew of veterans who seem to not back down from anyone. It seems likely that this will take all five games to determine a winner, and it really could go either way.
San Francisco gets the nod simply because they’ve been so dominant at home. Having home-field advantage, especially in a Game Five, could make this a very electric series. Los Angeles has more playoff experience, but the Giants won’t be backing down. They have good value as the underdog, despite winning 107 games in the regular season.
Pick: San Francisco Giants
Championship Series Picks
Since it’s impossible to know who exactly will make it to the Championship Series, making picks is a little bit tricky. It’s more about future bats, and these two teams make the most sense from a value perspective. Both have looked strong at this point in the year, despite not getting nearly the credit they deserve.
Chicago White Sox
It might seem crazy to think that the Chicago White Sox are the best team in The American league, but they’ve certainly been pretty consistent this entire year. While other pitching staffs are starting to show signs of weakness and breaking down, Chicago has been a different breed.
They certainly don’t have an easy road to the World Series, but they match up well with the Houston Astros. The survivor of the Tampa Bay and Boston series will also pose a pretty tough test, but the White Sox have some solid hitting to go along with their pitching as well. From a sports betting perspective, getting a little bit of extra value with an underdog certainly helps as well.
San Francisco Giants
Despite being the best in baseball, there’s been a good amount of disrespect towards the San Francisco Giants. Many experts are picking the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the series, and it will certainly be a challenge if the Giants get through that first round.
With that said, the winner of that series is going to be a pretty decent favorite to win the National League. The Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves are just not as well-rounded, especially with Milwaukee losing such a valuable piece in Devin Williams. San Francisco just seems the best when going down the entire roster, and the managerial staff seems to be making the right moves along the way.
World Series Futures Bet
Despite the San Francisco Giants being the best team in baseball from a record perspective, they have pretty good odds to win the World Series. A lot of that comes down to facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the divisional series, and likely facing some other challenging teams on the way. Some still are not true believers of the team, as they don’t have the same type of star power as other franchises as well.
Right now, the San Francisco Giants are getting +500 to +600 to win the World Series. The Dodgers have been dealing with some injury issues that don’t make them quite as intimidating in a divisional series as they look on paper. If the Giants can get through there, they are likely going to be decent favorites against everyone else.
Some people are a little worried about the pitching holding up for the San Francisco Giants, but everyone has tired arms at this point in the year. Their offense has been set solid, the defense has held up well, and they don’t seem to be slowing down at this point.
For a bit of a sleeper pick, the Chicago White Sox might be enticing value as well. Their starting pitching has been superb, which has led to success in the past as far as playoff baseball is concerned. A lot of people have been overlooking them since they don’t play in the most challenging division, but they have a real chance of making it to the World Series. If they are crowned AL champions, there’s always a chance of pulling off the World Series victory.
Pick: San Francisco Giants