MLB Regular Season Winds Down This Weekend, With Astros World Series Favorites

Posted on: September 28, 2019, 03:36h. 

Last updated on: September 29, 2019, 09:20h.

It’s the final weekend of the Major League Baseball )MLB) regular season, and unlike recent years, this season’s playoff picture is pretty much set.

After being traded to the Astros nearly two months ago, pitcher Zack Greinke helped Houston become World Series favorites. The Astros now have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.(Image: Houston Astros/MLB)

Yes, there’s still a question about who will win the National League Central, and that could still come down to a playoff. However, the loser between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers will still have a chance for the Wild Card, where they would face the Washington Nationals in a one-game playoff for the right to move to the National League Divisional Series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves have wrapped up the National League West and East, respectively, with the Dodgers awaiting the Wild Card winner. The Braves will get ready for who wins out between the Cards and Brewers.

In the American League, everything is already set. The Oakland A’s and Tampa Bays Rays will play in the Wild Card Game, although it remains to be seen where the game will be played. The winner of that game will face the Houston Astros in the American League Divisional Series, while the Minnesota Twins face the New York Yankees in the other ALDS.

Over at FanDuel, the Astros, at +200, have the best odds of any team to win this year’s World Series. Not surprisingly, they have already guaranteed home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and the Astros are also the only team to have won 60 games at home this season.

However, among all playoff teams, Houston only has the fifth-best record against teams with winning records.

The Dodgers, who have home field in the NL, are the second choice at +270, followed by the Yankees at +400.

The odds lengthen from there, as the Braves are at +800. The Twins and Cards are at +1600, followed by the A’s (+1900), Nats (+2000), Brewers (+2500), and Rays (+2700).

Brewers Still Riding Hot Streak

While they still remain near the bottom of the odds board, it’s still amazing that the Brewers have hung around.

On Sept. 10, they lost Most Valuable Player candidate Christian Yelich for the season after he broke his right kneecap fouling off a pitch. Despite that loss of a player who was hitting .329 with 44 homers and 30 stolen bases, Milwaukee has won 13 of its last 16 games.

In that stretch, the Brewers overtook the Chicago Cubs to clinch at least a playoff spot, and they’ve whittled what was a five-game Cardinals lead on Sept. 10 to just one with two games left.

Really, it was against all odds what we just accomplished,” veteran left fielder Braun said after the team clinched a playoff spot in Cincinnati earlier this week. “It’s hard to articulate how unlikely what we just did was. But there’s still challenges that lie ahead.”

Another challenge may have popped up Friday night when Braun had to leave the game because of a left calf strain. He’s expected to get an MRI Saturday to determine the severity. But even as hot as the Brewers have been, they can ill afford to lose another productive bat (22 homers, 74 runs batted in) in the lineup.

Astronomical Bet

A Houston businessman is hoping to put down some big bucks on his hometown team.

On Tuesday, Jimmy Vaccaro, an oddsmaker at the South Point sportsbook, posted on Twitter a $200,000 bet his book took on an Astros futures bet to win the Series. At +250 odds, the winning bettor stands to net $500,000 if the Astros do indeed win it all.

The Los Angeles Times reported the bettor was Jim McIngvale, who owns a chain of mattress stores in Houston. Two years ago, he offered customers their $3,000 or higher mattress would be free if the Astros won the World Series.

When the Astros did just that, McIngvale was on the hook for about $13 million in mattress refunds. However, through insurance policies and some strategic bets on the team, the LA Times reported McIngvale cut his losses to about $1 million.

He’s made a similar offer again to customers, but this time he’s finding higher prices for insurance policies, and he’s looking for longer odds from sportsbooks. If Houston wins this year, the loss could be about $15 million, which is why he’s looking to hedge again. But he’s shopping for +250 odds on the Astros, and most books won’t offer the perceived favorite at that price.

“I hedge these bets not just for financial reasons, but so I can still root and pull for the Astros,” McIngvale told the LA Times. “I love the Astros. So, hopefully I can hedge this bet and the best thing that can happen is the Astros win the World Series and we can have a refund party where I give back over $15 million in furniture.”