MLB Playoffs Picture: Best World Series Odds, Picks & Predictions: Braves and Orioles are teams to beat
Welcome to the MLB playoffs! The 162-game regular season has come and gone, and it was arguably the most exciting season in years. Admittedly, I was against the new rules that the MLB was implementing for this year (I’m a baseball blank), but the games were quicker, there were more stolen bases than ever and the action never seemed to stop. In the end, the Atlanta Braves finished with the best record in baseball and are the favorite to win the World Series, but several other teams could make this a very interesting postseason.
Without patting my own back too much, my futures bets have been pretty good this season. Before Opening Day, my World Series best bet was the Braves at +750 odds. Fast forward to today and Atlanta’s odds have been cut in half. I also had four win totals best bets, and those went 3-1. And then, in July, I made three futures bets during the all-star break, and I’m 2-0 so far with a pair of +125 and +130 winners. So, why not add another futures bet or two as we enter the postseason? In this article, I’m going to go over each contender and then give my best bets to make before the Wild Card round starts tomorrow.
MLB World Series Odds
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
Atlanta Braves +310
The modern-day Murderers Row. Atlanta’s lineup is dangerous from the leadoff spot to the 9-hole, and the center of their offense is Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson. But that’s the most impressive part about the Braves – that’s not where the offense stops. Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Sean Murphy, Orlando Arcia, Eddie Rosario, Michael Harris and Marcell Ozuna make up the rest of Atlanta’s lineup. That’s 6 All-Stars in one lineup, and I haven’t even mentioned their star-studded starting rotation with Spencer Strider, Max Fried, Bryce Elder and Charlie Morton.
Los Angeles Dodgers +450
Offense will not be a problem for the Dodgers in the postseason. The top half of their lineup is filled with MVPs and All-Stars like Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and J.D. Martinez. However, their rotation could be an issue. They no longer have Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Walker Buehler or Julio Urias, which means their postseason rotation will be made up of Clayton Kershaw, Lance Lynn and three rookies: Bobby Miller, Emmet Sheehan and Ryan Pepiot. And we all know how Kershaw pitches in the playoffs…
Houston Astros +450
The reigning World Series Champions got off to a slow start this season with Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez starting the year on the injured list. It took a few months to get back to full health, but Houston finally woke up in the second half of the season and managed to win the AL West without having a better record than the Rangers. And fortunately for Houston, they have one of the easiest paths to the World Series. As the favorites to win the American League, can the Astros go back-to-back?
Baltimore Orioles +700
How can you not root for the Orioles? Well, I guess if you’re a Rays or Rangers since the winner of that Wild Card series heads to Baltimore, but still, the O’s have been an incredible story this season. From the basement of the AL East to division champions in a matter of two seasons? That’s special, and so is this group of players. Don’t count out the youthful movement in Baltimore once the games start to get exciting.
Tampa Bay Rays +1000
Remember when the Rays started the season 13-0? That was unbelievable. However, that was also a different team back then. That was when Tampa Bay had Shane McClanahan, Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen as their 1-2-3 punch in the rotation, but fast forward to today, and all three pitchers will be watching from the dugout with injuries. That means it will be up to Tyler Glasnow, Zach Eflin and Aaron Civale to carry the rotation (could you imagine the Rays if they had a healthy rotation!). And they also won’t have Wander Franco… I’ll leave it at that.
Philadelphia Phillies +1300
The reigning National League Champions have found their way into the postseason once again by way of the Wild Card. Last season, the Phillies shocked everyone by making it to the World Series from the Wild Card position, and it would be an even bigger shock if they did it again this season. First, they have to beat the scrappy Marlins in the Wild Card, then they would need to play the Braves, and if they make it past Atlanta, they would still likely need to take on the Dodgers before reaching the World Series. Ouch.
Toronto Blue Jays +1600
The Blue Jays might be the most confusing team of the 12 remaining clubs. Toronto’s offense is excellent with Bo Bichette, George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the top of the order, but yet the Blue Jays lost a lot of games they shouldn’t have during the regular season. Their pitching staff is one of the most durable units in the league with Kevin Gausman leading the charge, and that could give them a shot at beating the Twins in the Wild Card to face the Astros in the ALCS.
Texas Rangers +1600
The Rangers determined their own fate with a loss to the Mariners on the final day of the season. Instead of a first-round bye and then playing the winner of the Blue Jays and Twins Wild Card series, Texas has to travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays in a 3-game series just for the opportunity to play the Orioles in Baltimore. It’s certainly not impossible, but Marcus Semien and Corey Seager are going to need to score a lot of runs with their injured-riddled rotation.
Milwaukee Brewers +1700
I’ll be honest – I didn’t expect this. Before Opening Day, I had anticipated the Cardinals to win the division without much of a fight. Well, the Brewers put up a fight and won easily. And now, Milwaukee heads into the postseason with arguably the best postseason rotation in baseball: Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta. If their offense can score just a few runs a game, the Brewers could be a dark horse in the playoffs.
Minnesota Twins +2000
It seems like an eternity ago when the Twins hit 307 home runs in one season (it was 2019). Now, the Twins rely on their pitching staff to win games. With a rotation made up of Sonny Gray, Pablo Lopez, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober and Kenta Maeda, the Twins lineup doesn’t need to score 5+ runs a game to win – just 3 or 4. That’s how good the Minnesota staff has been this season, so expect a lot of low-scoring games from the Twins in the playoffs.
Arizona Diamondbacks +3000
I was going to write about how much of a dark horse the Diamondbacks could be in the playoffs based on their road to the World Series, but then I saw they announced Brandon Pfaadt as their Game 1 pitcher on Tuesday. I don’t love starting a rookie in their most important game of the season, but if they do win the series opener, they should have Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly ready to go. With Corbin Carroll, Ketel Marte and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the lineup, the Snakes are young and ready for the next era of Diamondbacks baseball.
Miami Marlins +3500
Admittedly, the Marlins don’t have the best chance of a World Series title. They lost their ace Sandy Alcantara a few weeks ago, and their National League batting champ, Luis Arraez, is dealing with an ankle injury. However, the Marlins are a gritty bunch of players. With Josh Bell, Jake Burger and Jazz Chisholm Jr. in the heart of Miami’s order, they could push the Phillies to a win-or-go-home Game 3. But who knows, crazier things have happened!
Check out our MLB Wild Card predictions for all 4 series
MLB World Series Winner Best Bet: Atlanta Braves (+310)
As a person who locked in the Braves to win the World Series before Opening Day, I loved every second of the regular season. Atlanta’s offense can only be described as one of the greatest lineups the league had ever seen with one of the most electrifying players in history. As you might have seen a few days ago, Ronald Acuna Jr. became the first player in history to have 40 home runs and 70 stolen bases in one season. He finished the season with a .337 batting average and is expected to be crowned the National League MVP shortly. But as mentioned in Atlanta’s team summary, it’s not a one-man show in Atlanta. The Braves lineup had 6 All-Stars, which is unheard of. Their balanced lineup makes them one of the most dangerous teams to face in the postseason.
The World Series path for the Braves is set – their first matchup will come against the Phillies or Marlins. In the regular season, the Braves were 8-5 with a +16 run differential against the Phillies. Against the Marlins, the Braves were 9-4 with a +31 run differential. No matter which NL East foe they play, the Braves should be able to win in 3-4 games. That will lead the Braves to the NLCS, which will either be against the Diamondbacks, Brewers or Dodgers. Unless a huge upset happens, their opponent will likely be the Dodgers. And while the Los Angeles offense might be able to keep up with Atlanta’s, their pitching won’t be able to. The Dodgers rotation is relying on Clayton Kershaw and three rookies in the postseason (maybe Lance Lynn, but is that better than a rookie?), which sets them up for failure in a 7-game series.
Once the Braves reach the World Series, it doesn’t matter if they play the Astros, Orioles, Rays or someone else – I firmly believe that no team could beat the Braves in a 7-game series. In baseball, the better team wins a 7-game series nearly every time because a long series brings out the true colors of a team. I’ve seen Atlanta’s true colors during the regular season, and it’s a World Series-caliber team. I bet on them at +750 before April 1, and I’m willing to bet on them again at +310.
MLB World Series Winner Longshot: Baltimore Orioles (+700)
I don’t even want to call this a “longshot” because I believe the Orioles are the only team that could challenge the Braves for the World Series. Similar to Atlanta, the Orioles have plenty of youth on their team which has been the key to their success this season. But unlike the Braves, Baltimore doesn’t have a 40/70 guy or a power hitter with 50+ home runs. However, they don’t need that. Their lineup has an excellent mix of patience (Adley Rutschman), power (Anthony Santander) and speed (Gunnar Henderson), which make them a very dangerous ballclub. But their youth doesn’t just stop in their lineup – it continues in their rotation too.
Two months ago, I was worried about Baltimore’s pitching. The O’s were too, and they acquired Jack Flaherty at the trade deadline. But as we head into the playoffs, Flaherty might not even be on the postseason roster. Baltimore’s young pitchers rose to the challenge in the last month or two of the season, and their postseason pitching rotation will likely look like Kyle Bradish, Grayson Rodriguez, John Means and Kyle Gibson. That leaves Dean Kremer, Tyler Wells and Cole Irvin to be long-relief arms out of the bullpen. And although the O’s won’t have their lockdown closer Felix Bautista for the playoffs, their bullpen remains one of the best units of the 12 remaining teams. At 7/1 odds, it’s hard to not want to take a shot on the Orioles.
We’ll have MLB picks for every single matchup in the postseason