Of the four major sports in the US, Major League Baseball has the fewest teams that make it into the postseason. A few years ago a total of eight teams found themselves playoff bound. There were three division winners in each league and one wild card. Now, there are two wild card teams in each league.
However, the addition of an extra wild card has not lengthened the playoffs very much, as the two teams in each league play a one-game playoff. The winner goes on to play the top team in their respective league and the other two clubs play each other.
The MLB playoff structure includes the Division Series, which is a best-of-five series. This shortened series calls for teams to step up immediately. The team that wins the first game has a big advantage for the rest of the series.
The next series, which is best-of-seven, is the National League Championship Series (NLCS) and American League Championship Series (ALCS). The winners of those series meet in the final seven-game series known everywhere as the World Series. Thus, with two one-game playoffs, two five-game series, and four seven-game series, sports bettors have ample opportunity to wager during the MLB postseason.
Wild Card Game
The one-game wild card playoff is an all-or-nothing proposition. Expect teams to throw everything that they can into this game. Although that may seem to be an unwise strategy, as the winner will be weakened going into the divisional playoffs, remember that they will have some time to recover as the next series can go up to five games.
When betting, think of the first round in this way: With an additional one-game playoff, the wild card team needs to win four of its next five games. The top-seeded team, meanwhile, must win only three of its next five.
This puts the wild card teams at a disadvantage in a few ways. They must play and win one more game than the opponent they face in the divisional series, and they do not enjoy home field advantage. Still, some wild card teams have put together great postseason runs that have led them to the league championship and even the World Series.
With divisional play you may discover that home field is very important. There is little leeway in these short series. If the home team wins each game, then they take the series. Consider this and, also, how well each club has played at home. Also determine if the home field advantage in some way favors the home team’s pitching and/or hitting.
League Championship Series
The LCS can be as long as seven games. This series is often very unpredictable, as the two teams tend to be fairly evenly matched. In betting on the LCS in each league, you’ll need to take into consideration that the NLCS will not feature a DH and the ALCS will. This is especially important as far as totals are concerned, as the lack of a DH can lower run production.
Being Dutiful to Your Mission
Your mission is to successfully pick playoff games and make a profit. Here are ten important factors to consider during the postseason.
- Pitching is important in every manner.
- A single hitter having a great series can make all the difference.
- Injuries are key and older players may be tired at this point.
- Home field can turn a series.
- A team with a quality set up man and closer can take it all.
- Great pitching beats great hitting.
- A smart manager can be a difference maker.
- The deeper into the playoffs, the closer the games.
- Home runs are gold.
- Big plays in the field can turn a game around.
When it comes to the MLB playoffs, professional sports bettors understand that they are handicapping an entirely new season. Pitchers who have been great during the regular season can become inconsistent, and those who have struggled may be spot on. Good hitters can transform into great hitters, and guys who have been smacking the cover off the ball may have trouble seeing and connecting with it.
In addition to considering stats, assess how tired players are, if they are hurt, and how well they deal with extreme pressure. Does one team have a guy or a bunch of guys who perform well under the spotlight? At some point that is what occurs, and that is the team that makes it to the ultimate level: the World Series.