What are the Odds on Each MLB Team Making the Playoffs? (Part 1 of 2)

MLB May 30, 2021

Now two months into the 2021 Major League Baseball regular season, we're now seeing a gap between the contenders and pretenders.

With close to a third of the season completed, 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 propositions 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).

Here's a more detailed look at the odds of each of the 30 teams and what the betting market says.  It's Part 1 of a 2-Part series.

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 30 May.

Arizona Diamondbacks are off the board.  There's no shot for this team to overcome rivals in the same division and overcome the long odds.  Dead money if you have Arizona to do anything this season, other than to lose 95 games.

Atlanta Braves are a big disappointment.  They're floundering in third place, under .500 in wins-losses and play in a wide open division.  The good thing for the Braves is, other teams in the NL East also have multiple weaknesses.  The mostly likely scenarios for the Braves to make playoffs is winning the division outright since their W-L record probably won't be good enough to get in as a wild card.

Baltimore Orioles are so bad, 20 games under .500 and 17 games out of first place (in early June!) that they're off the board now.  If you can bet the Orioles on the "NO" to make the playoffs somewhere, hammer it.  They might be eliminated by July.

Boston Red Sox are currently 12 games over .500 and yet are only slight favourites to make the playoffs (-125).  Thats because Boston plays in the stacked AL East, with four bonafide contenders.  Red Sox probably have some value on the "YES" end of the proposition at this price.

Chicago Cubs aren't getting any respect listed at -285 "NO" to make the playoffs.  This is despite the fact the Cubbies are just a half game out of first place and certainly a live prospect in the wild card race.  The +225 "YES" wager looks like value.

Chicago White Sox are pulling away from the field in the AL Central and are now -400 to make the playoffs.  That number looks about right.  The ChiSox fate rests with the Cleveland Indians, who are the only other real threat to win this division.

Cincinnati Reds are collapsing after a surprising first month when they were in first place and led the majors in several offensive categories.  Only the fact Pittsburgh is in the same division will keep the Reds out of last place in the NL Central.  "YES" is listed at +550, but that's a wasted wager.  Better longshot options are elsewhere.

Cleveland Indians are "YES" +165 which looks like a good value bet.  The Indians have a softer schedule (playing more games in the weak AL Central) and certainly could upset the ChiSox for the division win.  A wild card is also possible, but the best route for the Indians is beating the ChiSox in head-to-head games.

Colorado Rockies – see Arizona Diamondbacks.  Same scenario applies.  Off the board.

Detroit Tigers are off the board.  This is a bad team but they do play in a weak division.  If you can find 50-1, I'm not sure I'd even bet them at that number.  Find me 100-1 and I'll toss $20 on it.

Houston Astros hasn't performed up to par, just 3 games over .500 (and 3-7 in their last 10 games).  They were among the favourites to win it all when the season began.  But it's a two-team race right now in the AL West along with Oakland.  The Astros at +170 to not make the playoffs ("NO") looks increasingly better with each loss.  

Kansas City Royals get no respect.  They're only 2 games under .500 yet are priced as one of the biggest longshots in the majors to make the post-season.  The Royals are -1600 priced to the "NO."  It's hard to pull the trigger on a "YES" wager, but the +900 payoff is tempting if you like crazy longshots.

Los Angeles Angels were expected to be competitive in 2021 but have been one of the major's biggest disappointments.  Their superstar MVP (Trout) has been injured.  They're languishing in fourth place, already 7 games behind the division leader.  This team is going nowhere.  That reality is reflected in their odds to make the post-season:  "NO" -825.  

Los Angeles Dodgers are not listed on the board.  There seems to be a a consensus that the defending world champs are certain to make the playoffs.  It's hard to imagine any scenario where the Dodgers fall out of the race and don't at least get in as a wild card.

Miami Marlins are another longshot worth a good look.  This team plays in a mediocre division where anything's possible (even the last-place Nationals could still make a move).  Miami was a big surprise last season making it to the playoffs for the first time since 2003 and right now are only 4.5 games out of first place.  Should they really be really priced at "NO" -2500 and "YES" +1100? Give me the "YES" at this number.

Milwaukee Brewers seem destined to hang around the .500 mark most of the remainder of the season.  That won't be nearly good enough to make it to the playoffs.  The Brewers are currently priced at -140 to the "NO" side of the proposition.  That might be a bit low given the Brew crew would have to surpass both the Cardinals and Cubs or (very unlikely) finish with a better W-L record than the strong teams in the wild card race from the NL West (which could get both wild card spots given the way that race is happening).  I like the "NO" here and would lay the number.

Coming Up:  Part 2