The 2017 MLB Playoffs appear to have all the elements needed to create a wildly entertaining postseason.
Three teams won 100 games during the regular season, rivals Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are both playing October baseball for the first time since 2009.
The Cleveland Indians are trying to win their first championship since 1948 and end their long drought like the Chicago Cubs did a year ago.
And yes, the Cubbies are back in the playoffs to defend their rings.
The MLB Playoffs begin Tuesday with the Wild Card game between the Minnesota Twins playing in the Bronx against the New York Yankees. The home team is the favorite in Las Vegas at -250, with the over/under at 7.5 runs.
On Wednesday, the Colorado Rockies travel to play the Arizona Diamondbacks. Again, the home team is picked to win, with the D-Backs at -170.
With the best record in the American League at 102-60, the Indians await the winner of the Twins and Yanks. The Los Angeles Dodgers, the overall best record in MLB at 104-58, get the Rockies or Diamondbacks.
The other Division Series matchups include the Red Sox vs. the Houston Astros, and the Cubs vs. the Washington Nationals.
Of the 10 playoff teams, just three, the Astros, Rockies, and Nationals, have never won the World Series. At 69 years, the Indians have the longest streak in baseball without a championship.
Tribe and Dodgers
While the Wild Card games will provide win-or-go-home excitement, bettors in Las Vegas don’t have much enthusiasm for their title hopes.
The odds for the Yankees and Diamondbacks to win the Commissioner’s Trophy are both at +1400, with the Twins and Rockies even longer at +2800. Should one of the long lines come true, bettors will be handsomely rewarded. A $100 bet on Minnesota or Colorado nets $2,800.
As for the favorites, online sportsbook Bovada has the Dodgers and Indians at equal odds to win the World Series at +333. The Astros are the only other team seemingly close at +450. The Nationals are listed at +750, followed by the Red Sox and Cubs at +800.
Prior to the first pitch of the regular season, oddsmakers had great confidence in Cleveland and Los Angeles at the very least making the MLB Playoffs. The lines for the teams were around -750, meaning a $100 wager before the 162-game season is netting just $13.33 this week. The Cubs were even longer at -1500, a $100 bet returning a measly $6.67.
There were some bargains, however, and bettors who took odds are reaping the rewards. After going 59-103 in 2016, the preseason odds on the Twins making the playoffs was +700. The Arizona Diamondbacks had a similar reversal of good play. They lost 93 games in 2016, justifying oddsmakers putting them at +400 to begin the season.
The Rockies were also underdogs at +270, as were the Yankees at +200.