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Indians Have -350 Odds to Make Playoffs Despite Holding Minimal One-Game Lead Over Oakland

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The Cleveland Indians are -350 to make the American League playoffs despite holding just a one-game lead over the Oakland A's for the final Wild Card position.
  • The Cleveland Indians are listed as -350 chalk to earn an American League playoff spot
  • They currently hold a one-game lead over the Oakland Athletics for the second AL Wild Card berth
  • The Indians have made the playoffs the past three seasons

The Cleveland Indians have lost three of four games. The Oakland Athletics are hot on their heels, just one game behind in the chase for the second American League Wild Card playoff position.

Yet, among oddsmakers, there’s overwhelming support for the the Tribe and their pursuit of that place in the postseason.

The Indians are listed as -350 chalk make the postseason in the MLB playoff odds, while the Athletics are a distant +210.

Odds To Make American League Playoffs

Team Odds To Make Playoffs Odds To Miss Playoffs
Cleveland Indians -350 +290
Tampa Bay Rays -300 +250
Oakland Athletics +210 -250
Boston Red Sox +600 -800

*Odds taken 9/03/19.

Cleveland hasn’t missed the playoffs since the 2015 season, thanks in large part to playing in the lackluster AL Central.

Indians Are Centrally Located

Like real estate, the oddsmakers are enthralled by Cleveland’s location. Situated in the woeful AL Central, the Indians will be presented with ample opportunity to beat up on bad teams housed within their own division.

The Tribe get three with MLB’s worst ballclub, the abysmal 40-95 Detroit Tigers. This is good news; Cleveland is 15-1 against the Tigers this season.

They also get six more with the 60-77 Chicago White Sox. This is not nearly as good for them. The Indians are only 6-7 against the ChiSox this season, and just 2-4 in Chicago.

Clever Clevinger

A big factor that’s kept Cleveland rolling of late is starting pitcher Mike Clevinger. He’s 8-0 in his last nine starts.

In six starts during the month of August, Clevinger posted a 5-0 record with a 1.96 ERA. The remainder of the Cleveland rotation was a combined 7-9 last month.

Will There Be A Carrasco Bump?

Pitcher Carlos Carrasco pitched an inning in relief on September 1st against Tampa Bay. It was his first appearance since May 30, when Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia.

It wasn’t an impressive outing – Carrasco was touched up for two hits and an earned run during an 8-2 loss to the Rays, but that could prove immaterial.

Carrasco’s mere presence should give a boost to his teammates. And every little bit of energy helps in the playoff chase.

Oakland Should Score All A’s

Comparing the remaining schedules of the four Wild Card contenders, it’s the Athletics who look to be in fine fettle.

Oakland plays just four of its final 25 games against team above .500. The .478 strength of schedule the A’s will face the rest of the way is the easiest slate of the four teams still in the Wild Card race.

American League Wild Card Comparison

Team Home Games Away Games Above .500 Opponents Sub-.500 Opponents
Cleveland Indians 12 12 12 12
Tampa Bay Rays 13 11 8 16
Oakland Athletics 12 13 4 21
Boston Red Sox 13 12 13 12

Cleveland (.488) comes next, followed by Boston (.498) and Tampa Bay (.508).

The Rays are the hottest team in the bunch, riding a five-game winning streak. [Editor’s note: streak ended Tuesday morning with a 4-2 setback to Baltimore.]

A Wild (Card) Race To The Wire

FanGraphs lists Tampa Bay at 70.2% to earn a playoff spot among this quartet. Boston (8%) can dry dock the duck boats. There won’t be any parades for the Red Sox this fall.

Much like the oddsmakers, the analytics gurus are in Cleveland’s corner. FanGraphs puts Cleveland’s playoff chances at 72.9%. Oakland is afforded just a 41.9% chance of making the postseason.

Cleveland, though, finishes with six in a row on the road, and plays nine of its last 15 against potential playoff teams. Oakland’s last 15 games are all against losing teams.

Take the Rays and the A’s to be the Wild Cards.

Pick: Cleveland to miss playoffs (+290)

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