Insights and betting tips with MLB playoff implications
The final three weekends ahead of Labor Day will produce some big MLB series. Teams are pushing for the playoffs and some key contender are making a move. That includes the New York Yankees, who swept their rival Boston Red Sox this week in a key series to move ahead in the American League wild card chase.
Bettors are paying attention, and so are the bookmakers with shifting futures odds. The Yankees have won seven straight games since their dramatic 9th inning loss in the thrilling Field of Dreams Game.
The final few weeks ahead of the start of football season offers some key baseball series that will impact the playoff races.
Here are the division leaders and top wild card contenders in the American and National League as of Aug. 20. Also included are odds to win the closest divisions, make the playoffs and World Series odds from leading online sportsbooks.
· AL East: Tampa Bay Rays (75-47)
· AL West: Houston Astros (71-50)
· AL Central: Chicago White Sox (71-51)
Wild Card (2)
· New York Yankees (70-52)
· Oakland A’s (69-53)
· Boston Red Sox (69-54)
· Seattle Mariners (66-56)
· Toronto Blue Jays (63-56)
The site FiveThirtyEight.com updates odds and MLB predictions and futures probabilities after each game. The Rays (-240) remain the AL East favorites with a 78% chance to win the division. The Yankees are still. 5.0 games behind the Rays and New York has a 14% probability to win the AL East and 77% chance to make the playoffs. The Red Sox are given a 53% chance to make the postseason while the Blue Jays (23%) and Mariners (10%) hope to at least get into the 1-game playoff.
The Astros (85%) are 2.5 games ahead of the A's (12%), and remain a heavy favorite to win the AL West.
The White Sox are coasting to an AL Central title with a double-digit lead. As you consider futures odds to win the World Series, Chicago is given just a 7% chance, despite low odds of +650 to win the World Series.
· NL East: Atlanta Braves (65-56)
· NL West: San Francisco Giants (78-43)
· NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers (74-48)
Wild Card (2)
· Los Angeles Dodgers (75-46)
· San Diego Padres (67-56)
· Cincinnati Reds (66-57)
· St. Louis Cardinals (62-58)
· Philadelphia Phillies (61-60)
· New York Mets (60-60)
Just three weeks ago, the Mets (-230) were the favorite to win the NL East over the Phillies and Braves, who were both +400. What a dramatic shift, and a sad ending for one of the most dominant pitching performances we had seen in recent memory. It appears Jacob deGrom, the Mets Cy Young and MVP favorite in June, is finished for the season with an elbow injury that has kept him sidelined since early July. The Mets have gone downhill dramatically in August, and now the Braves (-230) are favored to win the division over the Phillies (+280) and Mets (+600). Atlanta has won six games in a row, nine of their last 10 and are 13-3 in August.
The Braves are now given an 80% chance to win the division and 82% to make the playoffs. The Phillies are 16% and 13% and OMG the Mets are 8% and now just 6% to make the playoffs.
The San Francisco Giants were greater than 100/1 odds to win the World Series at the start of the season. The Giants currently have the best record in baseball, but the defending World Series champs are making their move at the Giants. The LA Dodgers have won seven straight games are a now just 2.5 games behind the Giants in the NL West.
The Giants had a small stretch in recent weeks where they were finally the division favorites. But that's changed again, as the leading online sportsbooks have the Dodgers (-125) as the NL West favorites again ahead of the Giants (-110). The Dodgers have the highest probability to win the World Series at 29%, and the Dodgers are given a 62% chance to win the division with the Giants 37%. The San Diego Padres have hit the skids losing seven of their last eight games, but they are still leading for the second wild card in the National League. Yet FiveThirtyEight has the Reds (46%) probability to make the playoffs ahead of the Padres (39%).
The Brewers are 9.0 games in front of the Reds, and Milwaukee's World Series odds are +950 but given just a 6% chance to win it all. If you're considering a longshot like the Reds, Phillies or Mets at this stage of the season, know those teams are given a 1% chance or less to win the 2021 World Series by the top payout sportsbooks.
Baseball’s Biggest Series
Chicago at Tampa Bay
New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia at San Diego
San Francisco Giants at Oakland A’s
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego
Cincinnati at Milwaukee
San Francisco at Atlanta
New York Yankees at Oakland
Aug. 30-Sept. 1
St. Louis at Cincinnati
Boston at Tampa Bay
Milwaukee at San Francisco (4 games)
Atlanta at Los Angeles Dodgers
St. Louis at Milwaukee
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco
Houston at San Diego
Watch and wager on the key series ahead and follow along as the MLB futures odds change.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay