It took us 2,430 games, but we have finally decided who the ten best teams in the MLB are. Now the real fun starts. On Tuesday night, the Twins will make a trip to New York to take on the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game. The following night, the Rockies will take their high-powered offense to Arizona for a matchup with the Diamondbacks. Then we are right into the Divisional Series for each league on Thursday night.
Unlike the vast majority of the baseball season, things are moving quickly now and we better follow suit. Are the Dodgers still the World Series favorites? What are the odds we see a Cubs-Indians rematch? And can any of the Wild Card teams pull off the necessary upsets and become the first Wild Card to win it all since the 2014 Giants? We’ve got answers (make that odds) for each, along with the odds for who will be taking home baseball’s individual hardware.
2017 MLB PLAYOFFS: ODDS & PROPS
Odds to Win the 2017 World Series
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 11/3
- Cleveland Indians: 15/4
- Houston Astros: 11/2
- Washington Nationals: 7/1
- Boston Red Sox: 10/1
- Chicago Cubs: 11/1
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 24/1
- New York Yankees: 24/1
- Colorado Rockies: 50/1
- Minnesota Twins: 50/1
There is no questioning which team is playing the best baseball right now: the Cleveland Indians. After having their record-setting 22-game winning streak snapped on September 15, the Indians didn’t cool off, winning five straight thereafter. All of a sudden Corey Kluber isn’t Cleveland’s only ace, as Carlos Carrasco has allowed one run or less in eight of his last ten starts. We already saw Terry Francona’s brilliance in managing his pitchers in last year’s playoffs, and Cleveland actually has an offense this time around, with the power bats of Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Edwin Encarnacion.
However, the World Series favorite remains the Los Angeles Dodgers, by a stitch. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball and the Dodgers are not going to hold him back when they desperately need outs. They aren’t entering the postseason with a ton of momentum on their side, but over the course of 162 games, they were the best team in the Majors. It won’t take much for LA to regain all that confidence they had earlier this season, and past playoffs have shown that a September slump has no bearing on October results.
Odds to Meet in the 2017 World Series
- Indians: 9/2
- Astros: 13/2
- Red Sox: 12/1
- Yankees: 28/1
- Indians: 17/2
- Astros: 12/1
- Red Sox: 21/1
- Yankees: 49/1
- Indians: 93/7
- Astros: 37/2
- Red Sox: 32/1
- Yankees: 75/1
Odds two Wild Card teams play in the 2017 World Series: 100/1
Odds a Wild Card team wins the 2017 World Series: 12/1
Of the four Wild Card teams, the Yankees are the most complete. They’ve scored the second-most runs in the majors, have above-average starting pitching (sixth in ERA), and a downright scary bullpen (third in ERA). The problem is that they’ll likely have to deal with both the Indians and Astros en route.
Odds to Win the Wild Card games
- Yankees: 2/3
- D’Backs: 3/4
- Rockies: 4/3
- Twins: 3/2
In the American League, the Twins should just be happy to be here. Minnesota is walking Ervin Santana — a fly-ball pitcher — to the mound at Yankee Stadium, a hitters park. Expect those balls to be flying into the bleachers. New York will counter Santana with Luis Severino, who’s been red-hot in September, posting a 2.10 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in five starts.
In the NL, Zack Greinke and the Diamondbacks’ bullpen get the nod over Jon Gray and the Rockies. Colorado may rank third in the MLB in runs scored, but nearly 60-percent of those runs have come at home in the thin Denver air. They won’t be playing at Coors Field on Wednesday night.
Odds on first food/beverage spilled because of a player entering the stands
- Beer: 3/2
- Hot dog: 3/1
- Popcorn: 4/1
- Nachos: 15/1
- FIELD: 10/1
If Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer wrote “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in 2017, it would almost certainly include a line or two about someone spilling their beer. Barely a game goes by without a clumsy fan splashing their suds on themselves or others while trying to catch an errant fly ball. It’s part of what makes baseball such a fun – and refreshing – game.
Over/under walk-off hits in the MLB Postseason: 4.5
There’s nothing like a nice walk on a cool, crisp fall night.
Over/under number of players who kneel during the national anthem before his team’s first playoff game: 2.5
National anthem protests may be a big deal in the NFL, but they’ve been conspicuously absent in baseball, where A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell has been the only player to peacefully protest before a game. It seems unlikely other players will follow suit given the fact that Oakland won’t be playing in October and that one-third of all Major Leaguers were born outside the U.S.
Over/under MLB-related tweets from President Trump between the first pitch of the Wild-Card round and the last out of World Series: 2.5
The Twins, Yankees, D-Backs, and Rockies may be the MLB’s Wild Card teams, but we all know that Trump is the real wild card. You simply never know what POTUS is going to say. Our guess: he’ll fire off a late-night tweet (or three) about the “wholesomeness” of baseball and how ballplayers respect the sanctity of the flag and America’s national anthem.
Odds President Trump calls the clubhouse during World Series championship celebration: 6/1
It seems unlikely Trump will call the World Series champions given the recent backlash he’s received from professional athletes, but we bet he would gladly call lame-duck managers Brad Ausmus or Terry Collins to tell them they’re fired.
2017 MLB AWARDS ODDS
- Jose Altuve (Astros): 1/1
- Mike Trout (Angels): 4/1
- Aaron Judge (Yankees): 5/1
- Jose Ramirez/Francisco Lindor (Indians): 12/1
- FIELD: 15/1
We said back in March that Jose Altuve would finish in the top two in AL MVP voting, and we’re sticking to our guns. The 5’6” second baseman is on track to lead the league in batting for the third time in four seasons. He’s currently hitting .350 with 24 home runs, 81 RBIs, and 32 stolen bases and is tops in the AL in WAR.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t give a shout out to Cleveland’s dynamic duo of Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor. Ram and Mr. Smile have combined for 62 homer runs and 169 RBIs while manning the middle of the Tribe’s infield. Finding double-play partners with such exceptional power is almost as rare as finding a positive Yelp review about downtown Cleveland.
- Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins): 2/1
- Nolan Arenado (Rockies): 5/2
- Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks): 7/1
- Joey Votto (Reds): 9/1
- Charlie Blackmon (Rockies): 20/1
- FIELD: 8/1
The NL MVP race is so tight you almost need a crowbar to separate all of the deserving candidates. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon have been the linchpins of the league’s most exciting offense in Colorado; Paul Goldschmidt has been among the league leaders in home runs, RBIs, and runs-created all season; and Joey Votto has continued to impress in Cincinnati where he ranks second in WAR and has topped the 30-homer threshold for the second time in his storied career.
In the end, though, we’re giving a slight edge to Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins slugger leads the league in WAR and his 59 homers are the most by any player since baseball’s infamous Steroid Era. Sure, the Marlins blew it down the stretch, but without Stanton, they never would have reached the middling heights they fell from.
AL Cy Young
- Corey Kluber (Indians): 1/1
- Chris Sale (Red Sox): 11/9
- FIELD: 19/1
The Red Sox and Indians have been atop their divisions for nearly the entire season, so it seems appropriate that their two aces should be atop our list of Cy Young favorites as well. Sale sports a 17-8 record and a 2.90 ERA and recently became just the fourth AL pitcher since the dawn of the DH with 300 strikeouts in a single season. Kluber, on the other hand, is 18-4, leads the league in ERA, WAR, and WHIP, and is second in Ks. It’s one of the closest races in years, but we’re giving the edge to Kluber for his superior record and his role in the Indians’ remarkable winning streak.
NL Cy Young
- Max Scherzer (Nationals): 13/7
- Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers): 7/3
- Zack Greinke (Diamondbacks): 9/2
- FIELD: 5/1
Kershaw was the clear-cut favorite for the NL Cy Young as recently as July 24, when a mild back strain sent him to the DL for four weeks. His injury opened the door for Max Scherzer, and the Nats’ ace has been nearly unhittable since. Blue Eye has gone 16-6 with a 2.55 ERA and 263 strikeouts this season and ranks first among all NL pitchers in WAR. His win-loss record won’t blow you away, but his stuff certainly will. Scherzer is one of the most electric hurlers in the league and should take home his third CY Young.
NL Manager of the Year
- Dave Roberts (Dodgers): 5/2
- Craig Counsell (Brewers): 3/1
- Torey Lovullo (Diamondbacks): 4/1
- Bud Black (Rockies): 5/1
- FIELD: 10/1
We all knew the Dodgers would be good this season, but we didn’t know they would be this good. Roberts guided L.A. to the best 50-game span in Major League Baseball history earlier this season and was at the helm when the team won its 90th game before September. The Dodgers have hit the skids lately, but their recent struggles don’t diminish the amazing job Roberts has done juggling his lineups and keeping his team fresh and focused.
AL Manager of the Year
- Joe Girardi (Yankees): 2/1
- Paul Molitor (Twins): 5/2
- Terry Francona (Indians): 9/2
- AJ Hinch (Astros): 6/1
- FIELD: 19/1
Heading into the season, most pundits believed that the Baby Bombers were too young and too inexperienced to contend for the playoffs. They clearly underestimated Joe Girardi. The three-time World Series champ has squeezed every last ounce of effort from his young players and helped Aaron Judge emerge unscathed from a potentially disastrous midseason slump. The Yanks are now playing their best ball of the season and will be competing again in October for the first time since 2015.
Odds Aaron Judge is the unanimous AL Rookie of the Year: 2/3
There’s no question that Aaron Judge will run away with AL Rookie of the Year honors, but there are just enough naysayers out there to prevent him from doing it unanimously. Some voters will point to his high strikeout totals and epic midseason slump, while others will refrain for voting for him simply because he plays for the Yankees. You almost can’t overlook the breakthrough campaign of Andrew Benintendi. The Red Sox outfielder has hit .273 with 20 homers and 73 RBIs and has been an integral part of Boston’s 92-win team. He’s not better than Judge, but he’s been good enough to steal a few first-place votes.
Odds Cody Bellinger is the unanimous NL Rookie of the Year: 1/3
Cody Bellinger is our odds-on favorite to become baseball’s 21st unanimous Rookie of the Year. We’re not suggesting he’s better than Judge (few players are), but the 22-year-old slugger has benefitted from a slightly shallower talent pool and has displayed more consistency than All Rise since joining the Dodgers on April 25th. He’s about as close as the NL has to the Natural and voters are certain to reward him for his phenomenal freshman campaign.