2023 MLB World Series Prediction, Best Bet & Odds: Orioles run the American League
The Wild Card round was anything but wild. All four series ended in the minimum two games, so us fans didn’t get a single Game 3. I wasn’t too surprised to see the sweep in Philadelphia between the Phillies and Marlins, but between the other three series, I would have thought there would have been at least one series to go the distance. Alas, it was a quick and simple first round — that changes on Saturday. The Divisional round begins on Saturday with all four games happening throughout the day, and the four teams that earned the bye through the Wild Card will be playing in their first game in almost a week.
So, before the next round begins, let’s take a look at the MLB odds for each team to win the World Series from FanDuel Sportsbook and my best bets for the remainder of the playoffs (including a juicy +750 pick). If you’re looking for my World Series winner best bet and longshot, you can check that out.
MLB World Series Odds
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Atlanta Braves +270
Los Angeles Dodgers +440
Houston Astros +450
Baltimore Orioles +700
Philadelphia Phillies +800
Minnesota Twins +850
There are two main differences between the Wild Card and Divisional round. First, it’s no longer a best-of-three series. This next round is a best-of-five series, which makes it a little bit harder and a lot more exciting. Second, both teams get the opportunity to play in front of their home crowd. In the Wild Card, the setting was given to the higher seed for the entire three-game series. That changes in this series as both teams are guaranteed at least one game at home.
MLB Playoffs Best Bets
Baltimore Orioles vs Texas Rangers ALDS Winner: Baltimore Orioles (-105)
Available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing
This is by far my favorite bet heading into the Divisional round. The Baltimore Orioles begin a best-of-five series against the Texas Rangers at Camden Yards this weekend, and they have numerous advantages heading into Game 1. Firstly, the opening two games of the series will be in Baltimore. Home-field advantage can become a difference-maker for certain teams, and there are specific parks that are more rowdy than others — Camden Yards is one of those parks. As for the probable pitchers, Brandon Hyde has held his cards close to his chest. However, I would be extremely surprised if Kyle Bradish was not Baltimore’s Game 1 starter. Bradish was the ace of the Orioles this season as he posted a 2.83 ERA in 30 starts. But at home, the right-hander posted a 2.23 ERA and limited hitters to a .199 batting average. I’m expecting him to be countered by Dane Dunning, a reliever-turned-starter for Texas. Since the Rangers used Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi in the Wild Card, neither starter will be rested enough for Saturday. I chalk that up to a Game 1 win for the O’s.
On Sunday, the Orioles can choose between Grayson Rodriguez and John Means. I’m leaning towards it being Rodriguez so that the rookie can pitch in a non-hostile environment. Plus, Means looked fabulous in his two starts on the road after returning. Rodriguez has a 2.58 ERA in 13 starts since being brought back up, so he seems like the perfect Game 2 option against who I assume will be Jordan Montgomery. However, if Texas decides to give the lefty five days of rest instead of four, it would likely be either Cody Bradford or Andrew Heaney on the mound, and neither is a reliable option.
In all transparency, I’m not expecting Max Scherzer or Jon Gray to return from their injuries in this round. If Baltimore can travel to Arlington with a 2-0 series lead, I would feel very confident with Means on the mound to close it out. And even if it goes to Game 4, the Rangers would have to start either Bradford or Heaney in a must-win game. If Baltimore plays their cards right, the O’s could win the series in four games.
We’ll have MLB picks on the side and total for EVERY playoff game
World Series Finalists: Baltimore Orioles vs Atlanta Braves (+750)
Available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing
Wouldn’t this be the best World Series matchup? The Braves have been baseball’s best team since Opening Day and the Orioles have been the feel-good story of the season. Since their first win of the season, the Braves have shown that they are the team to beat. Atlanta’s offense set numerous records and nearly broke the record for the most home runs hit in a season, which demonstrates the power their entire lineup has. But their offense doesn’t just have power — it also has a balance of speed and contact. Also, the Braves have been resting since last weekend while their NLDS opponent, the Phillies, used Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola in their Wild Card sweep of the Marlins.
The extra rest has been crucial for Atlanta’s starting rotation since Max Fried has been dealing with a blister and missed his final start of the regular season while Charlie Morton is healing from a sprained finger. We all know what Atlanta’s lineup will look like in the NLDS, but their rotation was unconfirmed until it was announced that Morton would miss the NLDS. That means it will be Fried, Spencer Strider and Bryce Elder in Games 1-3. If the Braves can beat the Phillies in the NLDS, there isn’t any other team in the National League that scares me. The Dodgers? Not enough starting pitching depth. The Diamondbacks? Not a good enough lineup, and are far too inexperienced.
If my first best bet doesn’t win, then this futures bet would lose automatically. I’m banking on the O’s to beat the Rangers in the ALDS and then take down either the Astros or Twins in the ALCS. And unless Minnesota can pull off the huge upset, I’m expecting the Astros to be the team that stands in Baltimore’s way of the World Series. But here’s the thing – unlike Vegas, I view the Orioles as the best team in the American League, not the Astros. Houston has an excellent offense with Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker in the heart of the lineup, but the problem is the bottom half of their order. Jose Abreu has been a massive disappointment this season with a .237 batting average, and no offense to Martín Maldonado, but the fan-favorite catcher can barely hit his weight.
However, Maldonado is the preferred catcher by Framber Valdez and Justin Verlander, so he has to be in the lineup. That brings me to my next point — besides Valdez and Verlander, the Astros don’t have another lights-out pitcher. Cristian Javier has been a rollercoaster of emotion and Jose Urquidy can’t get his ERA below 5. The bottom line is simple: this isn’t the same Astros team as last season. Houston is getting far too much respect, so I think Baltimore can take down the reigning champions in six games.