Posted on October 2, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
After 162 games, the 10 teams in the MLB postseason have been decided. Despite a disappointing lack of drama in September, with most division races decided by huge margins, the playoffs should be epic after the league appeared to be quite top-heavy this season. Picking a winner from this group of 10 will be quite difficult. Nevertheless, here are the betting odds for all 10 playoff teams.
Unlike the Super Bowl, there’s no tradition of difficulty for the runner-up of the World Series. The Royals lost the Fall Classic in 2014 only to win in 2015, and the Indians will look to do the same. With Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar healthy this time around, Cleveland’s rotation is even deeper than it was last season. The same could be true for Cleveland’s bullpen, which is why they’re betting favorites.
Some have cooled on the Dodgers following their 11-game losing streak, but on paper, they’re still the best team in the National League. With Yu Darvish joining the trio of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and Alex Wood, the Los Angeles rotation has the depth for a deep October run. It’s just a matter of finding the right lineup amidst some injury questions and inconsistency in the outfield.
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The Justin Verlander addition was huge for a team that can already out-hit just about any team in baseball. The Astros have a lineup that could do some damage, even against quality pitching staffs. With Verlander and Dallas Keuchel leading the rotation, the Astros may be the most balanced team in the playoffs. However, Houston’s defense could be a concern.
After a slight hangover in the first half, the Cubs have kicked things up a notch the second half of the season. The rotation doesn’t appear quite as dominant as it did a year ago, but the Cubs can still go four or five deep there. Chicago also has a lineup that no pitcher will be eager to face, so a repeat champion can’t be counted out.
Red Sox, 8-1
There are some injury concerns for Boston, but the rotation is better than people think, especially if Chris Sale is starting two games in every series. The Indians and the Astros have gotten the headlines throughout the season, but no one should count out the Red Sox from making some noise in the postseason.
The uncertainty over Bryce Harper’s health is a big concern. But the Nationals also have three legitimate Cy Young candidates in their rotation with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez. The bullpen has also been a worry all season, and while things have improved, Washington’s bullpen is still a far cry from the ones that have dominated recent postseasons.
These are short odds for a team that still has to win a wild-card playoff. However, if the Yankees get everyone in their rotation pitching well at the same time, they can be as good as any team in baseball. With Aroldis Chapman back to being his old self, the New York bullpen is among the best in baseball heading into the postseason. The Yankees are far from favorites, but they’ll be a tough out.
If the Diamondbacks can win the wild-card playoff, they will be scary for any National League team to face. With J.D. Martinez as a late addition to their lineup, Arizona’s middle of the order may be the best in baseball. Also, most people don’t know the names Robbie Ray and Zack Godley, but they are excellent complements to Zack Greinke at the top of the rotation. If the Diamondbacks reach the NLDS, they will be dangerous. At 18-1, this isn’t a bad bet.
After losing 103 games last year, the Twins are just happy to be part of the postseason. Ervin Santana gives them a chance in the Wild Card Game, but the rest of their pitching staff doesn’t stack up with the rest of the American League. They are definitely long shots and 25-1 may be kind.
If they can get past the Diamondbacks, no one will want to face Colorado’s lineup. The team’s young pitching staff also has a chance to surprise some people, so the Rockies would have a fighting chance in the NLDS. However, the Rockies have been a little up and down the second half of the season, so they would need to suddenly get hot to make a World Series run.