The MLB playoffs are here, and with a completely different look than we’ve ever seen. It’s a 16-team field this year, with eight teams from each league making the cut. We’ll see those eight matchups play out in a new three-game series format, with the higher-seeded team getting home field for the entire series. The eight winners will then advance to the usual schedule for the Division Series, Championship Series and World Series, but those rounds will be played in different bubbles.
Here’s a look at where different bubble games will be played:
- NLDS: Globe Life Field (Arlington) and Minute Maid Park (Houston)
- ALDS: Petco Park (San Diego) and Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
- NLCS: Globe Life Field
- ALCS: Petco Park
- World Series: Globe Life Field
Scheduled start dates for each round:
- 9/29: AL Wild Card Series
- 9/30: NL Wild Card Series
- 10/5: ALDS
- 10/6: NLCS
- 10/11: ALCS
- 10/12: NLCS
- 10/17: ALCS Game 7 (if necessary)
- 10/18: NLCS Game 7 (if necessary)
- 10/20: World Series
- 10/28: World Series Game 7 (if necessary)
DraftKings Sportsbook will have us covered with game lines and props throughout the baseball action and also will have a constantly updating futures market. Let’s preview the National League bracket with each Wild Card matchup, including Game 1 lines, series lines and futures.
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers (43-17) vs. (8) Milwaukee Brewers (29-31)
Game 1 Price: LAD (-250)
This series is by far the most lopsided on the board, and with good reason. The injury to Corbin Burnes really hurts any chance Milwaukee had, leaving Brandon Woodruff as the only starter the Brew Crew can count on. The Dodgers will have their aces lined up, and arguably the best bullpen in baseball behind them. Oh, and the Dodgers led MLB in runs per game (5.82), while the Brewers somehow found their way here ranking 27th in runs per game (4.12). The Dodgers did go 11-6 versus playoff teams, and while the Brewers went just 19-24, they did get a lot of opportunities to face strong competition. Not too much to think about here, otherwise.
(2) Atlanta Braves (35-25) vs. (7) Cincinnati Reds (31-29)
Game 1 Price: ATL (-127)
This jumps out to me as the most compelling of the Wild Card matchups in the NL. The Reds got out to an awful start, but recovered late to sneak into the postseason. Let’s remember, the Nationals won 19 of their first 50 games last season before going on to win the World Series. If there’s a team that makes that kind of in-season turnaround in 2020, it feels like the Reds. The 28th-ranked bats are certainly of concern to the Reds, especially with Atlanta ranking second in runs per game (5.8). However, with a rotation of Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, it’ll be tough on any offense. The Braves went 12-9 against playoff teams this season, and the Reds went 19-21. Pitching wins in the postseason, so I’ll lean to the Reds here.
(3) Chicago Cubs (34-26) vs. (6) Miami Marlins (31-29)
Game 1 Price: CHC (-167)
I’m very tempted to go with Miami here, but there are some red flags. The Marlins’ bullpen was absolutely terrible this season, finishing with the fifth-worst ERA in baseball. Pablo Lopez, Sandy Alcantara and Sixto Sanchez makes for a solid playoff rotation, but the Cubs still have the better arms, and the bullpen to back it up. Chicago’s offense was a huge disappointment, though. The Cubs finished 20th in runs per game, just one spot ahead of the Marlins. Miami was actually a much better road offense (4.9 runs per game), and the Cubs struggled at home (3.39 runs per game). The Cubs were solid against top competition this season, going 24-19 against playoff teams, while the Marlins went just 9-14. In the end, I think the talent wins out. However, if you made me bet the series, I’d play Miami.
(4) San Diego Padres (37-23) vs. (5) St. Louis Cardinals (30-28)
Game 1 Price: SD (-175)
Slam Diego became a fan favorite this season and will no doubt be fun to watch in the postseason. The Padres have a monster advantage offensively in the series, ranking third in runs per game (5.42), as the Cardinals rank just 24th (4.14). Recent injuries to Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger are the only thing keeping me from saying San Diego easily takes the series 2-0, but it does appear those guys should be in line to pitch in the series. The Cardinals have the pitching to compete here, with a strong top-three rotation and similar bullpen numbers to San Diego, but the gap on offense figures to be too much. The Padres finished 9-7 against playoff competition, but the Cardinals were much more tested at 20-20. If we do find out that Lamet and Clevinger will not pitch, that would certainly change my mind here, though.
UPDATE: Chris Paddock will be the Game 1 starter for the Padres.
Pick: San Diego
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