2018 MLB Baseball Playoffs
American League Playoffs
American League Divisional Series
Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees
After the Athletics playoff hopes were crushed by New York, MLB betting playoff odds from sportsbooks like Bodog show the Yankees as underdogs in this series, but the Bronx Bombers appear well-suited to steal a divisional series win against the winningest team in baseball.
The Boston Red Sox haven’t played meaningful baseball in a while, eroding the competitive edge for some clubs. New York enters the division series on a high, defending home advantage for the wild card game before blasting Oakland out of the stadium.
Boston won 10 of 19 meetings against the Yankees in 2018, a tiny edge which means little in the playoffs. New York set a new record during the regular season with 267 homers, but the Yankees plated fewer batters than the Red Sox, who had slightly improved batting depth.
Incredibly, the two pitching staffs were nearly identical – Boston had a 3.75 ERA while New York finished with a 3.78 ERA. Both clubs completed the season with a .237 BAA, emphasizing how close this matchup looks on paper.
Since the Yankees finished strong, they should be considered a superb candidate to upset the Red Sox.
New York Yankees +130
Houston Astros vs Cleveland Indians
Last year’s World Series winners will meet the 2016 World Series finalists for what should be the most tightly contested division series in the MLB. Houston enjoyed another outstanding regular season to clinch the AL West over the A’s, while Cleveland didn’t have much competition in the lackadaisical AL Central, earning the division crown by a comfortable 13 game margin.
Houston edged Cleveland during the regular season, winning four of seven matchups. The Astros won two of three meetings in Houston, while Cleveland earned two wins in four matches in Ohio. Cleveland had three more wins at home compared to the Astros, but Houston was the best road team in the MLB with a 57-24 record.
As such, the Astros home advantage will loom large over Cleveland, who must steal a game in Texas while defending their own field. Houston was one of the hottest clubs at the end of the campaign, winning eight of their last ten. Cleveland didn’t experience much urgency down the stretch, winning six of ten to wrap up the season.
Despite Boston’s incredible regular season, Houston should be considered favorites to repeat as World Series champs.
Despite Boston’s incredible regular season, Houston should be considered favorites to repeat as World Series champs. The Astros pitching staff had an MLB-best 3.11 ERA and .217 BAA, over half a run less than the closest AL staff. Cleveland produced the third-most runs in the MLB, but Houston had the sixth-ranked regular season offense, which isn’t a significant difference.
Cleveland’s a superb ball club, but the Astros should proceed to the ALCS by clinching this series in four games.
Houston Astros -189
National League Playoffs
National League Divisional Series
Milwaukee Brewers vs Colorado Rockies
Both the Brewers and the Rockies had to get into the post season the hard way, competing in a single game elimination against the Chicago Cubs to clinch a spot in the divisional round. Milwaukee enter the playoffs with an eight-game win streak, every victory required to outpace the Cubs. Colorado needed an 8-2 finish to the season to qualify for the wild card match.
The Brewers offense scored the least volume of runs of all playoff teams with 754, while Colorado finished with 26 more runs scored, seventh best in the majors. Milwaukee offsets their lack of offense with a pitching staff that finished top five in the MLB, earning a stingy 3.73 ERA and .233 BAA. The Rockies pitching staff finished 20th with a 4.33 ERA and a .250 BAA, shocking stats for a playoff club.
Some of the Rockies mediocre pitching was absorbed by a club which finished top five in fielding, ceding only 74 errors for a fielding percent of .988. The Brewers were among the worst fielding teams in the MLB, giving up 100 errors for a .982 fielding percent. A difference of .006 in fielding percentage may appear tiny, but playoff baseball can be decided by the smallest of margins, giving the Rockies a genuine advantage.
Milwaukee easily won the season series with Colorado, as the Brewers took five of seven matchups with the Rockies. Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story will lead the Rockies attack, with the latter tearing into Brewers pitching all season long. Brewers MVP candidate Christian Yelich has been on an unstoppable tear, sluggers Jesus Aguilar, Travis Shaw had 30+ homers while Lo Cain was one of the best lead-off men in the big show.
Colorado ace Kyle Freeland will need rest after the wild card game, which adds to Milwaukee’s pitchingadvantage. However, the Rockies have proven themselves as a mentally tough competitor, so expect this series to go the distance.
Milwaukee Brewers Odds -182
Los Angeles Dodgers vs Atlanta Braves
After the Los Angeles Dodgers came within a single game of winning the World Series last year, the club was perilously close to playing a wild card match. Instead, they defeated the Rockies in a one game tie-breaker to secure the AL West with 92 wins.
Atlanta weren’t considered potential competitors out of the NL East, but this young team surprised the National League by outpacing the Washington Nationals, winning the division by eight games. The Braves enjoyed an incredible season from rookie Ronal Acuna Jr., along with outstanding campaigns from Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman. They provided enough run production for a solid staff lead by Mike Foltynewicz.
Statistically, the Dodgers have the superior club, including outstanding depth in the batting lineup and on the rubber. Los Angeles had the second-best team ERA at 3.38, tied for third with a .230 BAA. Atlanta’s staff had a slightly better BAA (.229) but allowed more earned runs, despite a better fielding percentage.
Atlanta had a top-ten offensive team in the regular season, powered by small ball, while the Dodgers produced the fifth most runs in the majors, finishing second in homers to the Yankees. Playoff baseball often rewards small ball run production, but the Dodgers slugging lineup looks too deep and deadly. The Dodgers won five of seven games against the Braves in 2018, dominating the matchup.
Expect the Dodgers to begin their post season odyssey with a quick sweep of Atlanta.
Los Angeles Dodgers -278
MLB Playoffs Quick Predictions
American League Championship Futures
New York Yankees vs Houston Astros
Pick Astros +187
National League Championship Futures
Los Angeles Dodgers vs Milwaukee Brewers
Pick Brewers +200
MLB World Series Futures
Houston Astros vs Milwaukee Brewers
Pick Astros +350
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