The 2017 MLB season is scheduled to begin on Sunday, April 2 with three games, headlined by the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs facing off against the rivaled St. Louis Cardinals. As the start of the new season draws near, sportsbooks are shifting their focus from basketball to baseball with a number of different futures and prop betting opportunities.
Earlier this week, the offshore sportsbook BetOnline posted playoff odds for all 30 MLB teams. The Chicago Cubs, who are the clear-cut favorites to win the World Series, have the best odds of making the playoffs at -1200. Those odds translate into an implied probability of 92.3%.
FanGraphs released their projected standings for every team earlier this offseason, which contains their expected win-loss record and playoff probabilities for every team. These forecasts utilize several different systems such as Steamer, ZiPS, and staff playing time estimates to project the 2017 MLB season. By comparing these projections with the playoff odds from BetOnline, we’re able to see which teams the folks at FanGraphs believe are being overvalued and which are being undervalued.
The table below compares the latest playoff odds from BetOnline and the playoff probabilities from FanGraphs.
|TEAM||MAKE PLAYOFFS||Implied Probability||Make Playoffs (FanGraphs)||MISS PLAYOFFS||Implied Probability||Miss Playoffs (FanGraphs)|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||-650||86.7%||95.6%||+425||19.0%||4.4%|
|Boston Red Sox||-350||77.8%||79.2%||+260||27.8%||20.8%|
|New York Mets||-160||61.5%||58.6%||+130||43.5%||41.4%|
|San Francisco Giants||-150||60.0%||65.8%||+120||45.5%||34.2%|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+120||45.5%||48.5%||-150||60.0%||51.5%|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+165||37.7%||41.2%||-205||67.2%||58.8%|
|New York Yankees||+200||33.3%||15.6%||-260||72.2%||84.4%|
|Los Angeles Angels||+325||23.5%||30.8%||-450||81.8%||69.2%|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+400||20.0%||26.6%||-600||85.7%||73.4%|
|Kansas City Royals||+500||16.7%||6.5%||-800||88.9%||93.5%|
|Chicago White Sox||+1400||6.7%||0.5%||-3300||97.1%||99.5%|
|San Diego Padres||+2500||3.8%||0.2%||-10000||99.0%||99.8%|
Although there’s largely a consensus in regards to the league’s top teams, there are some notable discrepancies which could be exploited by bettors. For example, FanGraphs gives the Tampa Bay Rays a 26.6% probability of making the playoffs, while their current odds (+400) equate to a 20.0% implied probability. That means the Rays are actually being undervalued by oddsmakers according to the FanGraphs’ projections.
The list below displays the top five values based on the FanGraphs’ playoff probabilities.
- Tampa Bay Rays to make the playoffs (+400)
- Los Angeles Angels to make the playoffs (+325)
- New York Yankees to miss the playoffs (-260)
- Colorado Rockies to miss the playoffs (-375)
- Seattle Mariners to miss the playoffs (-150)
Bettors should always shop for the best line before placing a wager, and that’s especially true for futures where the price can vary dramatically from sportsbook to sportsbook. It’s also important to note that these props take fairly low limits, and bettors would need to wait nearly six months to get paid out. For that reason, I would not recommend placing a wager on this prop bet.