The 60 game sprint that is the Major League Baseball regular season is heading into its final weekend. Because of the condensed number of games, many teams who had near impossible odds of making the playoffs now find themselves in prime position to make a run at the title.
This year, just like every year, all it takes is for one team to get hot at the right moment. The Dodgers, Yankees, and Rays are among the favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, but there is value to be had. So, with some unlikely teams still sticking around in the thick of the World Series race, here are some potential value picks as the regular season comes to a close and the postseason gets going.
Chicago White Sox (+1200)
The team from the south side of Chicago was sitting at +3300 to win it all when the season started. The Sox got out to an absurdly fast start and were the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the American League. They currently sit 11 games over .500 at 34-23.
They have slowed down a bit since they’ve earned a postseason spot though, losing six of their last seven games. Even with the rough patch the team is struggling through at the moment, they’ve been fantastic the whole season. Starting pitchers Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel have been marvelous. Plus, they’re getting back LHP Aaron Bummer, who allowed just one run through 7.1 innings before getting injured. He should provide a stabilizing force in a bullpen, which has struggled in the back end of games recently.
Offensively they have guys like Tim Anderson, slashing .338/.372/.559 on the season, and Jose Abreu, who has 57 RBI’s in as many games plus 19 home runs. Not to mention Edwin Encarnaicion, Yoan Moncada, and Eloy Jimenez.
Minnesota Twins (+1200)
The Twins have already clinched a spot back in the postseason for the second straight season. As a unit, Minnesota is built on power and pitching. They rank third in MLB with a 3.52 team ERA and have the fourth most home runs, with 91.
The good news for the Twins is they seem to be peaking at the right time, winning four of their last five series played, only losing to the White Sox last week. They currently sit in first in the AL Central, with Nelson Cruz leading the way with 16 bombs and 32 RBI. Though he’s not doing it alone, the Twins have four guys with 13 or more home runs.
Pitching wise, they don’t have a single individual in the top 10 of any statistical category, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts here. As a unit, they rank in the top five in ERA and saves.
Atlanta Braves (+1200)
The Braves have thrown together an extremely impressive season considering the hand they’ve been dealt with injuries to its pitching staff. They’ve already clinched the NL East after taking three of four from the Miami Marlins.
Atlanta, more so than any other team, is built on its offense and offense alone. The Braves are ranked either first or second in every major offensive category outside of stolen bases. They’re very much the Yankees of the National League, except they don’t get as much attention nationally.
Their rotation is in a tough spot, after losing ace Mike Soroka to a season ending injury and seeing Mike Foltynewicz struggle so much he had to get sent down. Some promising performers like Max Fried and Ian Anderson have stepped up, but not enough to overcome those bigger losses.
If you are to bet on Atlanta, you’d be putting all your trust in their bats, which now days is about as safe a bet as you can get. But can they sustain that throughout the postseason?
Chicago Cubs (+1500)
First-year manager David Ross has really handled his team well this season. The offense has struggled as of late, but he hasn’t wasted any time pulling his former teammates to try and inject some life into the club.
Fortunately for the Cubs, when the offense is rough, they have guys who can step up and pitch. Among them are Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks, who are both in the top 15 in the MLB when it comes to ERA. The staff as a whole has the second-best WHIP in the NL.
The offense has struggled all season though, finding it tough to put up crooked numbers, particularly because they’re too patient at the plate. The Cubs have swung at the fewest number of strikes in all of baseball this year, per FanGraphs and have seen the second fewest strikes in MLB.
The good news is they do have veteran talent like Anthony Rizzo and Wilson Contreras, who have had postseason success in the past.
Overall, the NL is far more wide open than the AL. It’ll all really depend on who gets hot at the right time. But due to the team’s wealth of postseason experience, don’t count out the Cubs.
2020 World Series odds, Sep 25
|CHI White Sox||+1200|
|TOR Blue Jays||+4000|
|BOS Red Sox||OTB|
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