With the playoffs upon us, for the first time ever there will be 12 teams looking to win the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Now with sports wagering legal in Ontario and in most of the United States, baseball fans can look to do some winning of their own.
With a new format comes some uncertainty in the betting market, especially with first-ever, best-of-three Wild Card series where only one team gets to be the host. The addition of two extra teams adds another wrinkle for bettors and oddsmakers alike.
Hosting one of those series will be the Toronto Blue Jays as they take on the Seattle Mariners – who broke a 21-year playoff drought – with Jays’ ace Alek Manoah facing off against Luis Castillo in an anticipated pitcher duel in the opening matchup on Friday.
According to Bet 365 the home team as expected is listed as a -150 favourite to win the series and the Mariners are +130 underdogs. The first game of the series’ odds is slightly tighter with the Jays listed as -135 favourites and the road team as +115 underdog.
It takes a different kind of person to bet against their team in the first game of the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value somewhere else on the board, and with the best pitcher from each team taking the mound, under 3.5 runs in the first five innings at -115 is a great value play.
For Jays fans looking just beyond this game and this opening series, a +1400 bet to win the World Series is great value, especially for a team who in the pre-season were second favourites to lift the trophy at +900.
Even betting on your team is something some fans wish to avoid as it is already stressful enough watching every pitch and at bat of a playoff matchup, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value plays elsewhere.
In the National League, the San Diego Padres – a team that made a lot of buzz making big trade moves, acquiring players like former 2019 World Series winner Juan Soto and stud closer Josh Hader – are listed as +2500 to win the World Series. Third longest odds just ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies at +2800 and the Tampa Bay Rays at +3000.
A team with so many talented players and pitchers including players Manny Machado and Joe Musgrove is worth taking a shot at especially at a number like that. It was only last year when the +2500 Houston Astros made the World Series and lost to the +1000 Atlanta Braves.