2017 MLB Playoff Odds

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)
Chicago Cubs -1200 92.3% 94.1% +650 13.3% 5.9%
Los Angeles Dodgers -650 86.7% 95.6% +425 19.0% 4.4%
Cleveland Indians -650 86.7% 92.6% +425 19.0% 7.4%
Boston Red Sox -350 77.8% 79.2% +260 27.8% 20.8%
Washington Nationals -300 75.0% 84.9% +240 29.4% 15.1%
Houston Astros -280 73.7% 78.4% +220 31.3% 21.6%
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%
Seattle Mariners +120 45.5% 30.9% -150 60.0% 69.1%
Texas Rangers +135 42.6% 29.1% -165 62.3% 70.9%
St. Louis Cardinals +165 37.7% 41.2% -205 67.2% 58.8%
Detroit Tigers +200 33.3% 28.6% -260 72.2% 71.4%
New York Yankees +200 33.3% 15.6% -260 72.2% 84.4%
Pittsburgh Pirates +200 33.3% 26.4% -260 72.2% 73.6%
Colorado Rockies +275 26.7% 9.0% -375 78.9% 91.0%
Baltimore Orioles +300 25.0% 18.0% -400 80.0% 82.0%
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%
Arizona DBacks +425 19.0% 7.7% -650 86.7% 92.3%
Kansas City Royals +500 16.7% 6.5% -800 88.9% 93.5%
Miami Marlins +550 15.4% 12.4% -900 90.0% 87.6%
Minnesota Twins +700 12.5% 5.4% -1400 93.3% 94.6%
Atlanta Braves +700 12.5% 1.7% -1400 93.3% 98.3%
Philadelphia Phillies +800 11.1% 1.2% -1600 94.1% 98.8%
Oakland Athletics +900 10.0% 9.3% -1800 94.7% 90.7%
Chicago White Sox +1400 6.7% 0.5% -3300 97.1% 99.5%
Cincinnati Reds +1600 5.9% 0.5% -4000 97.6% 99.5%
Milwaukee Brewers +1600 5.9% 0.8% -4000 97.6% 99.2%
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.

  1. Tampa Bay Rays to make the playoffs (+400)
  2. Los Angeles Angels to make the playoffs (+325)
  3. New York Yankees to miss the playoffs (-260)
  4. Colorado Rockies to miss the playoffs (-375)
  5. 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.

 

Source: SportsInsights