What are the Odds on Each MLB Team Making the Playoffs? (Part 2 of 2)

MLB Jun 01, 2021

READ PART 1 HERE

In PART 1 we looked at half of all the Major League Baseball teams, listed in alphabetical order (A to M).  Now, here in PART 2, we shall examine the odds on the other half of teams (M to Z).        

More than two months into the 2021 Major League Baseball regular season, we are seeing a gap between the contenders and pretenders.

Nearly one-third of the season is complete,  Enough games have been played to get a clearer perspective as to the teams that will still be competing in late August and September as opposed to struggling teams that are out of the playoff race.  In fact, there's already some evidence that half of dozen teams (or more) have no realistic chance whatsoever of post-season play.

One of the most interesting props on the baseball betting market right now is the question, "will this team make the playoffs?"  Note that ten teams will make the post-season – five from each league.  This includes three division winners and two wild card teams (the other two teams with the best records).

Below each section, see some candid thoughts on these current odds, along with a few wagering recommendations.  These numbers are taken straight from the SPREADS.CA betting website as of June 1st.

Minnesota Twins are 9 games out of first and in 4th place in the weak AL Central.  So, it's no surprise they're +700 to make the playoffs.  Even at those odds, the price might be a bit low.  It would take a miracle for the Twins – considered by some analysts as the worst team in the majors – to make it into the postseason.  At "NO" with a lay price of -1100, that looks like free money.

New York Mets are finally starting to pull away in the NL East after a sluggish start, where they're in first place and every other team in the division has a losing record.  However, the inconsistent Mets will go so far as their pitching takes them.  "NO" on the Mets pays +300, which might be worth a wager, especially since that pitching staff could be vulnerable to injuries.  Betting "YES" on the Mets to make the playoffs and laying -385 strikes me as a terrible wager, even though the team is playing its best baseball of the young season, right now.

New York Yankees are another perpetually overrated team, with no basis in reality for the absurd odds they're getting.  Consider that the Yanks are +350 on the "NO" prop to make the playoffs (and -475 on the "YES").  This disproprotional optimism is despite NYY being in third place and 6 games back in a division with perhaps four teams that will finish above .500.  In the wild card race, Houston and Cleveland would have identical records right now for the final playoff spot.  The Yankees are the best bet on the board to fade at this price.

Oakland Athletics hold a fragile 2-game lead in the AL West, but that division is tightening up.  The A's are only 6 games above .500 yet are about even money on both sides of the prop.  Oakland has a negative run differential.  Clearly, Houston is the primary threat to overtake Oakland and if that happens, the A's record might not be be good enough to make the playoffs.  However, there's no apparent value here at even money, either way.

Philadelphia Phillies are slowly collapsing.  They're now -650 on the "NO."  The Phillies were forecasted to contend in the NL East.  They won't get in as a wild card (4 games under .500 at the moment), so they'd have to overtake Atlanta and the NY Mets and win their division.  That's not happening.  There's nothing to indicate Philadelphia will make any moves, so this is a team to fade.  However, the lay price is a bit too high.

Pittsburgh Pirates are dead in last place and 10 games back.  Odds on them making the playoffs are so long, the prop is now off the board.  Better luck next year, Pirates fans – their season is done.  

San Diego Padres are one of the most intriguing teams to look at.  They're forecasted as a World Series contender, but they play in a stacked division.  Althought they're in second place at the moment, the Padres lead the majors in run differential (+81).  It's hard to fade these numbers, but at +1100 the "NO" is worth consideration.  If the LA Dodgers or San Francisco Giants win the NL West and the other takes one wild card spot, that could leave San Diego on the outside looking in.  San Diego will probably make the post-season, but I'd play the "NO" at 11-1 because too many things can happen between now and late September.  LA Dodgers and San Francisco playing well will cut into the Padres margins.

San Francisco Giants are the big surprise of baseball, 14 games over .500 and in first place looking down in the standings at the Padres and Dodgers.  Bettors keep waiting for the Giants to fade down the stretch, and they still might fall out of the race later on.  However, San Francisco is making the most out of their young talent.  Betting markets have been way too slow to react to the Giants' success, so there's still some value betting the "YES" – at plus-money.

Seattle Mariners have imploded after a great start and are sinking fast.  There's not enough talent on this team to make the playoff, at least on paper, but Seattle remains a game above .500 and is still in contention – 2.5 games out of first, and 2 games out of the wild card spot.  So, the "YES" at +1100 is the only way to bet this if you must.

St. Louis Cardinals are even money to make the post-season.  It's a three-team race in the NL Central, along with the Cubs and Brewers.  St. Louis faces the same problem as the rest of the National League, since the NL West could seize three playoff spots, they must win the division to be assured of advancing into October. The Cardinals prospects look like a coin flip.

Tampa Bay Rays own the best record in the majors and are in first place, yet are only -215 on the "YES" side of the wager to make the playoffs.  Contrast this team's odds with the Yankees and we instantly recognize there's value.  Tampa is winning games on the road (20-7 this season) which is a positive sign of a team that makes adjustments.  This is a very strong bet, even though the AL East race will probably be tight all the way into September.  Note that if you really like Tampa to make the playoffs, the "NO" on the Yankees at +350 is probably the better value bet, since there's some correlation between these props.

Texas Rangers are off the board now, basically left for dead as a non-contender. They could even lose more players before the trade deadline.  The Rangers are waffling in last place in the AL West, have lost 6 straight, and their pitching staff is in shambles.  It's free money if you can find a prop on the "NO" anywhere for Texas to miss the playoffs.

Toronto Blue Jays are a tease, playing great baseball on occasion but hanging around the .500 mark because they often lose games they should win.  Trouble for the Blue Jays is, they play in a stacked division.  It's hard to see Toronto winning against stiff competition ahead of the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees, so they'd have to slide in as one of the wild cards.  The "NO" listed at -155 looks to have some value as the odds of Toronto leaping ahead of other wild card contenders (right now – the Yanks, Red Sox, Indians, and Astros) would appear to more of a longshot than this number indicates.  I'd bet Toronto on the "NO" all the way up to -200.

Washington Nationals are one of baseball's biggest disappointments, currently in last place 7 games out of the lead.  That's reflected in their odds price – the "NO" is -1600.  I can't see the Nationals reversing themselves and even getting +900 on the "YES" looks like throwing away money.  There are much better longshots eleswhere.

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