The MLB Playoffs are set and the Wild Card round begins Oct. 3. The top-2 division winners in the American and National League will have a bye, and that includes the Houston Astros after they won their last four games to move past the Texas Rangers and win the AL West Division for the fourth year in a row.
The Rangers lost four of their final six games including 1-0 at Seattle on Sunday’s final day and 162nd game of the regular season. That knocked the Rangers out of first place and a bye, and Texas now plays in the best-of-3 wild card round at Tampa Bay.
The four teams with opening round byes are the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros.
Ranking the 12 teams postseason lineups and pitching staffs
MLB Wild Card Round Series and Odds
Major League Baseball odds from FanDuel Sportsbook refresh periodically and are subject to change, including on props and live betting.
Game 1 moneyline odds and pitchers
- Texas (+126) at Tampa Bay (-148) – Rangers TBD vs Rays T. Glasnow
- Toronto (-102) at Minnesota (-116) – Blue Jays K. Gausman vs Twins P. Lopez
- Miami (+138) at Philadelphia (-164) – Marlins J. Luzardo vs Phillies Z. Wheeler
- Arizona at Milwaukee – TBD and posted Monday as announced
More MLB Playoffs News and Odds
So who advances and ultimately wins the World Series? As noted in ESPN’s MLB Playoffs preview, over the 54 seasons since MLB went to divisions, only 14 times has the team with the top record won the World Series.
World Series Odds 2023
+260 Atlanta Braves
+410 Los Angeles Dodgers
+480 Houston Astros
+700 Baltimore Orioles
+1200 Tampa Bay Rays
+1200 Philadelphia Phillies
+1800 Minnesota Twins
+1800 Texas Rangers
+2000 Milwaukee Brewers
+2000 Toronto Blue Jays
+4000 Arizona Diamondbacks
+5000 Miami Marlins
The Atlanta Braves had the best record this season while winning 104 games. Recall last season the Los Angeles Dodgers were even more dominant in winning 111 games, but failed to even reach the World Series. In 2021, the San Francisco Giants (107) and LA Dodgers (106) had the best seasons before meeting in the playoffs with the Dodgers winning 2-1 over the Giants in the deciding game of the divisional series. But the Braves upset the Dodgers in the NLCS and went on to win the World Series despite just 88 regular season win.
Tossing out the shortened season of 2020 (COVID), neither the Astros (107) or Dodgers (106) won the 2019 World Series, although Houston made it before losing to Washington in seven games.
The 2018 Boston Red Sox with 108 regular season wins were the last team with the top record to win the World Series.
The American League is more wide open and has a better chance of a wild card round team advancing to the World Series. That includes the Twins, who have the worst record of all 12 playoff teams but had the most win in the AL during September and are healthier along with stronger pitching.
The Atlanta Braves were the best team in baseball this season. They had eight All-Stars, and it will be a bigger surprise if they don’t at least make the World Series and ultimately win it all. The Braves offense scored 947 runs – the most by an NL team since 2000. Atlanta led the majors in batting average (.276) and OPS. The Braves have the MVP in Ronald Acuna Jr., who became the first player to steal 70 bases and hit 40 home runs in a season. Matt Olson was the MLB home run (54) and RBI (139) leader, and the strikeout king was Spencer Strider (281), who was the only 20-game winner this season.
The rest of the pitching staff needs to perform well, but it’s the Braves year to win the World Series.
You can bet on it.
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