MLB Playoff Expansion Shifts World Series Longshots’ Odds
Major League Baseball’s one-year postseason expansion from 10 teams to 16 for the unique 2020 season drew praise and criticism from various corners.
But the news did not change the World Series betting odds of most of the top contenders. The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, winners of the two Opening Night games played on Thursday, remained co-favorites at +400.
However, for those considered MLB betting longshots to win it all, there was notable movement.
Of the top 22 teams on the World Series futures board at William Hill, only two of them had odds move on Thursday. But all eight of the bottom teams saw a significant drop of their championship odds.
How World Series 2020 Odds Shifted
MLB’s owners had until the first pitch of the first game of the 2020 season to negotiate a one-season playoff expansion. They got a deal done with a couple hours to spare.
Eight teams from each league will now qualify the postseason. There is no one-game wild card, as has been the case in recent years with a 10-team playoff format. Instead there are eight first-round matchups, each a best-of-three series. Second-round series will be the usual best-of-five, with best-of-seven remaining for the League Championship Series and World Series.
Many believe it’s the right move in a baseball season unlike any that has happened before. Others say it dilutes a 60-game MLB regular season in which every game matters.
Let me say this about MLB's playoff format this season— The Greek Freak?? (@AKilimos) July 24, 2020
1) Not sure I love 16 teams making it, but at the same time makes playoffs more interesting and opens door for upsets
2) I LOVE the fact there are no more single game eliminations, every series starts off best of 3
Love the expanded playoffs. MLB/MLBPA won't ever do a salary cap. Keeps teams like the #Pirates around. Hope it will be adopted permanently.— Adam Crowley (@_adamcrowley) July 23, 2020
2020 World Series Favorites
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+400|
|New York Yankees||+400|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1600|
|New York Mets||+2000|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+2000|
Odds are from William Hill; they are accurate as of publication but subject to change.
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There was nearly zero movement among the upper echelon in MLB futures betting on Thursday. Only two teams that started the day lower than +15000 saw its odds move on Opening Day. The Houston Astros, behind only the Dodgers and Yankees at +750, dipped to +600. Another team in the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels, moved from +3500 to +3000.
While the playoff expansion barely made a blip among the favorites, it created a seismic wave underneath. The eight teams not realistically considered in the MLB odds running are, at least to some extent, more so in the mix.
World Series 2020 Odds For Longshots
|Team||Thursday Odds||Friday Odds|
|San Francisco Giants||+20000||+15000|
|Kansas City Royals||+40000||+30000|
The playoff field jumped by 37.5% -- each of these teams had their odds fall by 25% to 33%.
There still remains a sizeable gap between the top 22 and bottom eight. The Toronto Blue Jays (+6500) and Texas Rangers (+6600) were considered fringe playoff teams. The Rockies are next on the board.
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