After a 60-game season that could have been derailed by a couple of coronavirus outbreaks, the MLB postseason is here and bigger than ever, with the playoff field expanded to 16 teams this season—eight from each league.
First up is the new Wild Card round, which consists of eight best-of-three series. It runs from Tuesday through Thursday at the higher seed’s home ballparks. DraftKings Sportsbook has provided odds for each Wild Card round series. We’ve got a look at the lines as well as a potential upset, a team facing the biggest uphill battle, and a sleeper squad that could make some noise.
Most likely upset
The Yankees are favored despite being the lower seed and having a worse record. The oddsmakers must be counting on them to flip a switch because they are struggling entering the postseason, losing six of their last eight. The Yankees scored three runs or less in five of those eight games. Their offense has come to a screeching halt, even though recently welcomed Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton back into the lineup. Having to face Shane Bieber and the rest of Cleveland’s dominant rotation will be a tall task. Meanwhile, Cleveland is red hot, winning nine of its last 11 entering the playoffs. The Indians also went above. 500 against playoff teams this season unlike the Yankees, whose 2-8 record against the Rays is a major red flag.
Least likely upset
It was just two years ago that LA and Milwaukee went seven games in the NLDS, but this Brewers team isn’t nearly as good and the Dodgers have only gotten better. The Brewers never even made it above .500 this season, so they are taking full advantage of the expanded playoff format. With the fifth-worst offense in MLB and a starting rotation that only has one quality arm (Brandon Woodruff), it’s hard to imagine Milwaukee taking down a juggernaut like the Dodgers. Its only chance is getting a few timely hits and shortening the game with its elite bullpen.
Sleeper upset potential
More than anything this pick is a testament to the way the Reds are playing. They have won 13 of their last 16 entering the postseason. What’s most impressive is that stretch includes series wins over playoff teams like the Brewers, Twins, White Sox and Cardinals. What makes Cincy so dangerous is their pitching. The trio of Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray can go toe-to-toe with anybody in a three-game series and the bullpen has been much better of late. The challenge will be generating enough offense. The Reds only averaged 4.05 runs per game this season, third-fewest in MLB.
Wild Card series odds
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