MLB Postseason Odds, Predictions: 4 Future Bets To Consider, Including Rays vs. Giants In The World Series
Brandon Vallance/Getty Images. Pictured: The Giants celebrate their NL West title.
The MLB Playoffs are finally here and this year, the World Series is truly up for grabs with the reigning champion Dodgers sequestered to the NL Wild Card Game against the Cardinals.
The @MLB Playoff bracket is set. 👀
Which two teams will be going head-to-head in the World Series? pic.twitter.com/Cb5wMfFopA
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 4, 2021
Even though they are in the one-game playoff, the Dodgers are still the favorites to win back-to-back World Series titles.
World Series Odds @DKSportsbook
+700: White Sox, Giants
+750: Rays, Brewers
+1100: Yankees, Braves
+1600: Red Sox
+2200: Cardinals pic.twitter.com/WuktZRcbWR
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) October 4, 2021
What is interesting is that the Dodgers are still the overwhelming favorites, despite having to play in a one game playoff, while the other three teams in the Wild Card Games are north of +1000 to win the World Series. However, Los Angeles is still the most talented team in MLB and had the second-most wins this season, so it is a deserving favorite. The question now is where does the value in the futures market sit for the other nine playoff teams?
These are my favorite futures bets ahead of he start of the postseason.
Giants to win the World Series (+700)
The biggest thing when it comes to World Series futures is to make sure to shop around for the best price. The Giants are below +600 at a lot of books, but DraftKings is offering the 107-win NL West champions at +700 right now, which I think offers some value.
The winner of the National League is going to come out of the Dodgers vs. Giants — if Dodgers do as expected and make it out of the Wild Card Game — because the Braves and Brewers have a lot of weaknesses at the moment.
The reason the Giants are such a good baseball team is because they do not have a lot of weaknesses. Trying to get through their lineup is an absolute gauntlet. While San Francisco doesn’t have a big-name hitter like Juan Soto or Bryce Harper, they have seven guys with a wOBA over .340 and six guys with a batting average over .270.
That has led San Francisco to rank inside the top five in wOBA and wRC+ and it is also in the top 10 in both of those categories against both right- and left-handed pitching. From a pitch-mix standpoint, the Giants don’t have a lot of weaknesses either. San Francisco has positive run values against every single pitch type, except for sliders, but since the trade deadline it only has a -1.3 run value against that pitch.
So, if the Giants end up playing the Dodgers and go against a rotation of Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias, who all throw predominantly fastballs, they will have a good matchup and it’s shown this season because San Francisco has beaten the Dodgers in 10 of the last 15 meetings during the regular season.
The starting rotation has three stellar starters led by Kevin Gausman, who was in the Cy Young conversation this season, posting a 3.49 xERA and 3.28 xFIP with a 10.69 K/9 rate. His split finger is a pitch that the Dodgers just cannot hit, with a .153 xBA and .191 xwOBA allowed with a 45.9% whiff rate.
Kevin Gausman has revamped his career in front of our eyes. From 2019-21, his ERA dropped from 6.19 to 1.27 this season. Gausman can attest this to the split-change he is using for 37% of pitches he’s thrown. This pitch has caused a 48.5 Whiff% since 2020. #MLB (Via Jacob K Y/T) pic.twitter.com/20MFegTnbF
— Julian Casciano Sports (@CascianoSports) June 9, 2021
Then it will likely be Logan Webb in Game 2, who actually put up better numbers than Gausman this season (3.22 xERA & 2.76 xFIP) and faced the Dodgers three times this season giving up six hits and four earned runs total.
Logan Webb, Ridiculous 93mph Sinker. 😯
[20" arm side run] pic.twitter.com/gZhvtqKr8Z
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 29, 2021
The bullpen isn’t going to wow you, but all season long has been incredibly consistent. The Giants have the best ERA, the best BB/9 rate, and the fifth-best LOB% in MLB this season. Their eighth and ninth inning guys, Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee, both have xERA’s below 3.10 and have BB/9 rates below 1.5.
If the Giants get by the Dodgers, they are going to be favorites over Milwaukee or Atlanta, as they have significant advantages offensively and in the bullpen over both teams. When we get to the World Series, they’ll be either favorites or slight underdogs against any of the American League teams, so you’ll have a good opportunity to hedge.
Red Sox to win the World Series (+1800)
Admittedly, the Red Sox do have some flaws, but for me this number is too good to pass up.
Boston’s offense since the trade deadline has been the best of anyone in the postseason, with a .346 wOBA and 116 wRC+. Facing the Red Sox offense is a tall task for any opposing pitching staff because Boston does not have any weaknesses from a pitch-mix standpoint. The Red Sox have positive run values versus every single pitch type and are top three against sliders, curveballs, and changeups.
Boston is also top 10 in wOBA against both right- and left-handed pitching and its two-through-five hitters of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Kyle Schwarber and J.D. Martinez all have a wOBA over .360 and a batting average over .275. In fact, Schwarber since joining the Red Sox has a .413 wOBA and 17 extra-base hits in 41 games.
Just Kyle Schwarber putting us on the board. Nothing you haven't seen before. pic.twitter.com/iAnEHZiYnT
— NESN (@NESN) September 28, 2021
Now that the Red Sox have Chris Sale back in the rotation, they have three legit starters who can give any lineup big problems. Nathan Eovaldi is pitching the AL Wild Card Game and he’s been the best Red Sox starter this season with a 3.36 xERA, 3.48 xFIP and only a 1.73 BB/9 rate. He obviously got shelled in his last start against the Yankees, giving up seven earned, but he’s faced the Yankees five other times this season and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in all five of those starts. Also, the only pitch in Eovaldi’s arsenal that the Yankees rank inside the top 10 against is curveballs.
Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez can match up against any other team’s top three starters. Sale has a 3.49 xERA, 3.26 xFIP, and 10.97 K/9 rate in nine starters, while Eduardo Rodriguez 3.54 xERA, 3.43 xFIP, and 10.56 K/9 rate.
The bullpen has had problems since the trade deadline, as it’s 21st in ERA, 29th in BB/9 rate, and 26th in LOB%, but an elite offense and fantastic starting pitching can make up for that in the playoffs like the Nationals showed us in 2019.
Braves to win series vs. Brewers (+125)
There are a lot of concerns for this Brewers teams right now. Over the second half of the season their offense has been the worst of any team in the postseason by a mile:
Milwaukee ranks outside the top 15 against both right- and left-handed pitching in terms of wOBA and wRC+, so it’s are going to have to rely on its three stellar starting pitchers to lead the way.
Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta have been amazing this season and they will have the advantage over the Braves’ top three starters of Charlie Morton, Max Fried and Ian Anderson.
Even though the Brewers have the best closer in baseball in Josh Hader, there were a lot of concerning signs over the second half of the season. Milwaukee ranked 24th in ERA, 24th in BB/9 rate, 28th in HR/9 and 22nd in LOB%. Atlanta’s bullpen wasn’t much better over that same time span in a lot of metrics: It ranked fourth in ERA and second LOB%.
So, if you can find the Braves at +125 or better, I think it’s worth a bet considering this series is most likely going to come down to whether or not Milwaukee’s three starters can carry them to the NLCS.
Rays vs. Giants exact World Series Matchup +1500
Along with the Giants, the Rays aren’t getting much respect in the market after having the most wins in the American League. While the Rays do have some concerns with their starting rotation, bringing up highly touted prospect Shane Baz from the minors is a huge boost. In his three starts in the big leagues he’s posted a 2.55 xERA, .165 xBA allowed, and had 18 strikeouts in 13 1/3rd innings.
Shane Baz was all kinds of filthy in his second MLB start:
9 K pic.twitter.com/kqnwYU1l7l
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 26, 2021
Outside of Baz it’s pretty bleak with Ryan Yarbrough, Shane McClanahan, Michael Wacha and Drew Rasmussen, but the way Kevin Cash utilizes his bullpen will protect a lot of those starting pitchers.
The Rays’ bullpen is going to have an advantage over either the Red Sox or Yankees because over the course of the season Tampa Bay was top five in ERA, xFIP, BB/9 and LOB% and they are the only bullpen in MLB that can say that.
The offense for Tampa Bay has significantly improved from its World Series run a season ago as well, and it simply doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. The Rays are top 10 in wRC+ against both left- and right-handed pitching and their 120 wRC+ since the trade deadline is the best mark in baseball. The additions of Nelson Cruz and Jordan Luplow, who are both fantastic versus left-handed pitching, have paid off.
The Rays will be favorites over the Red Sox or the Yankees in the ALDS and then it will likely be a coin flip between either the White Sox or Astros.
I’ve already gone into detail about the Giants above, but backing two of the best bullpens and offenses in baseball at a tasty price of +1500 in my opinion has a lot of value.