by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
A shortened regular season could increase the chance of a Cinderella team crashing Major League Baseball’s playoff party, but that might only go so far with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020.
While the start date and length of the MLB regular season is fluid due to the COVID-19 pandemic, playoff betting props are live. The Blue Jays are currently listed back at +600 to make the playoffs and -800 to miss them at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. While Toronto has upgraded its roster and there is reason to expected continued improvement from second-year everyday players Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero, it could take a lot to go from last season’s .414 winning percentage (67-95) to the .593 pace that it took to earn a American League wild-card spot in 2019.
Beyond a shoo-in such as the New York Yankees (-4000 to make, +1400 miss) or the Los Angeles Dodgers (-5000 make, +2000), there are value plays across all six MLB divisions. The Tampa Bay Rays (-120, +100), with a balanced offense led by Austin Meadows and their deep pitching, have retained betting value as the AL East has been thinned out with the Boston Red Sox in retooling mode.
The Minnesota Twins (-225, +185) are a major minus-money favorite at online sports betting sites in the AL Central, but the up-and-coming Chicago White Sox (+185, -225) are an intriguing darkhorse with a beefed-up lineup built around outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert.
The AL West is the circuit’s most competitive division with the likes of the scandal-tainted Houston Astros (-350, +290), Mike Trout-led Los Angeles Angels (+180, -220) and Oakland Athletics (+125, -145). Having a wild-card team emerge out of the weaker Central is at least an outside possibility.
Over in the National League, the Atlanta Braves (-110, -110) are very close to even money in spite of successive NL East titles. Atlanta’s nucleus that includes centerfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is just coming into its own, and a shorter season might help with optimizing the performance of a bullpen seen as an Achilles heel last season. Interestingly, the last five World Series-winning teams from the NL all had a drop in wins the following season, which might be a reason to fade the defending champion Washington Nationals (-125, +105).
The NL Central is a wide-open field between the St. Louis Cardinals (+110, -130), Chicago Cubs (+160, -180), Cincinnati Reds (+170, -200) and Milwaukee Brewers (+250, -300). A six-season playoff drought means the Reds aren’t high on casual fans’ radar, but they have put some key additions around on-base machine Joey Votto.
The Dodgers’ dominance means everyone else in the NL West is playing for a wild-card spot. The Arizona Diamondbacks (+180, -220) are the only other team in that group with a relatively low price on those MLB odds, but they might lack the star power to contend.