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Braves And Dodgers Are Biggest MLB Favorites But Stumbled At This Stage In ’22

Braves And Dodgers Are Biggest MLB Favorites But Stumbled At This Stage In ’22

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The post Braves And Dodgers Are Biggest MLB Favorites But Stumbled At This Stage In ’22 appeared first on SportsHandle.

Fans of quick baseball results might have liked the MLB’s wild card round every bit as much as this year’s changes to speed up the games themselves.

As for those who prefer drama in their postseason sporting events, there was little to savor in four best-of-three series that all ended Wednesday in two-game sweeps.

One presumes some of that will change starting Saturday as all four division series get underway. And for those whose rooting interest is heightened by a little sports betting action, Sports Handle has scanned a collection of national online sites to find the best odds being offered.

If you simply believe the best approach at this time of year is to back underdogs across the board, given all the uncertainties of the MLB playoffs, you may be on to something.

Unexpected wild card series wins by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers would have amply rewarded anyone who picked underdogs across the board this week and went a simple 2-2 on the wagers.

Likewise, upsets in last year’s division round series by the Philadelphia Phillies over the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres over the Los Angeles Dodgers would have provided nice profits to offset losses betting against the favorites in the 2022 American League series.

Whatever the approach, line shopping is always advised to get the best numbers available. Before getting into details of the division series, here are the best prices that were available Thursday morning if betting any of the eight teams to win the World Series, using eight of the most widely available legal sportsbooks:

  • Atlanta Braves: +310 (DraftKings)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: +475 (Caesars Sportsbook)
  • Houston Astros: +490 (FanDuel)
  • Baltimore Orioles: +700 (FanDuel, Barstool Sportsbook)
  • Philadelphia Phillies: +1000 (BetMGM)
  • Texas Rangers: +1000 (DraftKings, BetRivers)
  • Minnesota Twins: +1050 (bet365)
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: +1600 (Caesars, BetRivers, Barstool, bet365)

And now, a quick preview of the best-of-five series that all start Saturday:

Orioles vs. Rangers

This matchup that starts in Baltimore could easily be surmised as the most interesting, given the close odds between two teams making their first postseason appearances since 2016.

Many of the sportsbooks make it a standard -110 to take either team in the series, while Caesars and Barstool lean slightly to the home team, with the Orioles -120 and Rangers at +100, or even money.

Baltimore, with a 101-61 record, earned a No. 1 seed with the most wins in the American League. Texas was dominant, however, in sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays by scores of 4-0 and 7-1 this week.

The Rangers are loaded offensively, with the vaunted middle-infield combo of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien helping the team land among MLB leaders in numerous categories. The pitching is more of a question mark due to multiple injured starters, though excellent performances by Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi made that a moot point in the wild card games.

A young Baltimore squad is deep across the board in talent, and a stellar bullpen has even survived the loss from injury to closer Felix Bautista.

One fact lending further credence to the closeness of the teams: They split their season series 3-3.

Astros vs. Twins

For the other American League series, the gap in the teams’ experience and expectations is quite different.

Houston, the defending World Series champion that has won the AL West six of the last seven years, is favored strongly enough that the best price available on it to win this series is -150 from FanDuel. Those backing a Minnesota upset can get a payout of +143 from Caesars.

While this 90-win Astros club fell short of its preseason wins projection, it played strong ball in September to overcome the Rangers and Seattle Mariners and earn one of the AL’s two byes.

Now it has a group of well-rested, postseason-experienced starters in Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier to supplement an always-powerful lineup anchored by familiar stalwarts such as Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, and Kyle Tucker.

One star the Astros no longer have is Carlos Correa, who hit 18 postseason homers for them over the years and will be sitting in the opposing dugout. While Minnesota lacks the overall star power of Houston, the team tied for the AL home run lead with 233, with 12 players in double digits.

The Twins will be playing with little to lose, having used the wild card round to snap an 18-game playoff losing streak. In beating the Toronto Blue Jays by scores of 3-1 and 2-0, they demonstrated their potential to block Houston from becoming the first repeat World Series champion since the New York Yankees in 2000. The Twins actually beat the Astros 4-2 in games head-to-head this season, though those were all in the spring when Houston was more injury-depleted and had yet to acquire Verlander.

Braves vs. Phillies

This series between teams that know each other intimately is interesting for multiple reasons, most notably how Atlanta was heavily favored over Philadelphia in last year’s division round, yet the Phils won in four games and made it all the way to the World Series.

And again, thanks to their MLB-best 104 wins (14 more than Philadelphia), Atlanta is a big favorite. The shortest odds for a bettor backing them would be the -165 offered by DraftKings. Those who like the Phillies can get +155 from BetMGM.

The Phils might have acquired a few more backers on the strength of their wild card dominance over the Miami Marlins in 4-1 and 7-1 victories.

This year’s Braves, however, appear to be even more of a juggernaut than last year’s version, considering an offense paced by Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and Austin Riley that produced 307 homers. That number tied the MLB record.

Atlanta also won the season series between the two teams 8-5.

Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks

Facing a divisional rival it finished 16 games ahead of in the standings, Los Angeles is the biggest favorite of all among the four teams with home-field advantage in the five-game series.

FanDuel and DraftKings both list the Dodgers -200, and others have them favored by even more. Those predicting a big upset could use Caesars Thursday for a potential +196 payout.

There’s little that any baseball fan doesn’t already know about the Dodgers, considering the longtime excellence of players like Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Clayton Kershaw, who once more all had superb seasons.

It is the 11th straight playoff appearance by Los Angeles, which took eight of 13 games from Arizona in regular-season matchups. Yet, for all that success, the Dodgers have only one recent World Series crown, and it was in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

That could spell some potential for a young, exuberant Arizona squad that was tied with Los Angeles at the All-Star break but stumbled in the season’s second half to barely claim the final wild card spot.

The Diamondbacks’ 84 wins are by far the fewest among the eight remaining teams, but their feisty attitude came through in come-from-behind 6-3 and 5-2 wins at Milwaukee in the wild card games.

Just two years ago, Arizona lost 110 games. Like Minnesota, they have little to lose now, and just like San Diego and Philadelphia in last year’s NL division round series, that makes them dangerous.

The post Braves And Dodgers Are Biggest MLB Favorites But Stumbled At This Stage In ’22 appeared first on SportsHandle.

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