When the 2012 season began, it started a new trend in which two teams would make it into the playoffs via the Wild Card. In doing so, they play an exciting one-game playoff to determine who will move on and enter their respective Division Series. With the month of September upon us, here’s a look at three long shot teams who are in the Wild Card hunt — and how their odds to end up winning their league championship look on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Philadelphia Phillies +2800
With such high expectations coming into this season, the Phillies’ season is still up for debate. As of Sept 2, the team sits two games out of a Wild Card spot behind the Cubs and Nationals. Fortunately for the Phillies, a recent slide by the Cubs and Brewers have kept them very much afloat in the Wild Card race.
What’s unfortunate for the Phillies is their schedule for the month of September. A much better team at home, the Phillies have 10 games at home this month and 17 on the road. They also have a very tough schedule and of the eight series they’ll play, only two of those are against teams (Reds, Marlins) with a record under .500. This could prove to be too much to overcome and sneak into a Wild Card spot.
The Phillies pitching staff isn’t exactly helping their chances either. A shaky bullpen and injuries to their starting rotation have forced them to make less than ideal moves, which include featuring Drew Smyly and Zach Eflin. Smyly sports a WAR of 0.2 while Eflin is at 1.4.
While the odds look enticing, the Phillies don’t have a clear path to a playoff spot and thus can be left for someone else to take the dive.
New York Mets +2800
These odds for the Mets makes putting money on the Phillies feel a bit silly. The Mets, who seemed to be completely out of contention a month ago, are very much in the hunt. Despite a recent skid that’s seen them go 3-7 over their past ten, they sit just 3.5 games out of the Wild Card and have a 3.5-game lead over the Giants, who are behind them.
The Mets have 17 games at Citi Field during the month of September, where they boast a 37-27 record on the season. Of the nine games on the road, six of them take place at hitter-friendly ballparks with three at Coors Field and three at Great American Ball Park. To say the Mets schedule is in their favor is an understatement. Oh, did we mention the Marlins will be in town for a four-game series as well? The Mets have an 11-4 record against them this season, including winners of six straight.
The biggest strength of the Mets by far is their starting rotation. Going up against Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler would be a tough task for anyone in a five-game series. If they move onto the championship series, Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman would also be in the mix. Matz, especially, has been downright dominant at home, making him for an interesting late series option. What makes this even more intriguing is that the Mets rotation during the second half has the highest WAR in the league at 7.8. The second highest? The World Series favorite Houston Astros.
At their current odds, I would be all over +2800 with the potential of this Mets team. When you look at some of the teams surrounding them in odds, the Mets are by far the most enticing team.
Boston Red Sox +3300
Once upon a time, the Red Sox were one of the favorites to win their second consecutive World Series. Since then, fortunes have changed drastically and the Red Sox odds just to win the league are 33/1. At this point, it would take some wizardry to see them make the playoffs, let alone win the American League.
The Red Sox pitching staff as a whole was a disaster almost as soon as the season began. Despite some big names like Chris Sale, David Price and Nathan Eovaldi headlining this staff, this team limped into the month of May with a 5.39 ERA, a 1.5 WAR and only five wins to their credit. While many don’t consider early-season struggles to be a huge factor, this certainly set the tone for the rest of the 2019 season.
The bullpen has also been a huge downfall for one of the perceived American League favorites. After losing setup man Joe Kelly and closer Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox entered this season without solidified relievers in either spot. This season, the Red Sox have a combined 4.52 ERA and have allowed 132 earned runs in the eighth and ninth innings this season. Both numbers rank higher than league average amongst all teams.
While their offense can hold their own against some of the best pitching in the league, they simply don’t have enough arms to get through some of the best teams in the league. With the Dodgers and Astros currently sporting the best odds to win the World Series, it’s hard to see this Red Sox club taking them down in a seven-game series.
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