The 2021 AL Playoff Odds Favor These Five Teams Making the AL Postseason

Gerrit Cole pitching

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws during the second inning in Game 5 of a baseball American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • The New York Yankees are given prohibitive -950 odds to make the American League playoffs
  • Five other teams have opened as odds-on favorites to reach the postseason
  • MLB is going back to its previous playoff format, meaning there are only five postseason spots up for grabs

MLB is returning to its prior playoff format and that’s going to be bad news for at least one AL team among the six showing minus odds in the opening betting market on which clubs will make the postseason in 2021.

The New York Yankees head the way. The Bronx Bombers are listed at a prohibitive betting line of -950 in the opening 2021 MLB playoff odds.

Beyond the Yanks, the Chicago White Sox (-288), Minnesota Twins (-151), Oakland Athletics (-123), Houston Astros (-111), and Toronto Blue Jays (-109) are also all better than even-money to earn one of the AL’s five postseason positions.

2021 AL Playoff Odds

Team Odds To Make Playoffs Odds to Miss Playoffs
New York Yankees -950 +600
Chicago White Sox -288 +225
Minnesota Twins -151 +125
Oakland Athletics -123 +100
Houston Astros -111 -111
Toronto Blue Jays -109 -114
Tampa Bay Rays +115 -139
Los Angeles Angels +160 -200
Cleveland +240 -313
Boston Red Sox +278 -368
Texas Rangers +900 -1600
Seattle Mariners +1000 -3500
Kansas City Royals +1100 -3750
Baltimore Orioles +1200 -2500
Detroit Tigers +1200 -2500

Odds as of Feb. 23rd.

The three division winners – AL East, Central, and West – and two Wild Card teams will qualify for the playoffs.

Lock Them Into MLB Playoffs

Yes, there’s uncertainty about the Yankees’ starting rotation. Doesn’t that seem to be evolving into an annual occurrence, though? The Bronx Bombers always manage to come up with enough serviceable arms to get the job done. And they can always outhit their pitching woes.

Hiring 76-year-old Tony LaRussa as manager and adding closer Liam Hendriks, it’s clear the Chicago White Sox are going all-in to win this season. The Minnesota Twins can’t win once they get to the playoffs, yet they always find a way to get the to the playoffs.

There’s Value in These AL Plays

The Toronto Blue Jays were part of the expanded playoff picture last year. Bringing in free-agent outfielder George Springer and shortstop Marcus Semien, and considering Vladimir Guerrero’s sudden commitment to fitness, the Jays should grab a Wild Card spot this season.

The departure of the likes of Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, Brad Hand and Carlos Carrasco from Cleveland has people thinking fire sale for this team that is to be renamed later. However, that’s not taking into account how deep the pitching  staff is on this club.

Shane Bieber won the AL Cy Young Award and and then they follow with Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale. Cleveland won’t score a ton of runs, but if they score enough, those arms possess the talent to keep the team on the cusp of the playoff race.

Swing and a Miss

No matter how you roll with the Houston Astros, you’ll get -111 odds. The best play is to bet the Astros to be playoff outsiders. Minus Springer and pitcher Justin Verlander (elbow injury), this is no longer an elite ball club.

A rotation once fronted by Verlander and Gerrit Cole now runs out Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers Jr., and Framber Valdez as the top three starters. They’ll need some young pitchers and unproven outfielders to step up if Houston wants to maintain its four-year stretch of making the playoffs.

Some teams play small ball. In Tampa Bay and Oakland, these teams play small-market ball.

The Athletics lost a ton of talent, including Semien and Hendriks. Tampa Bay waved goodbye to former AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell. Both of these clubs often decipher ways to patchwork over their economic disadvantages. But it’s hard to bet on the unknown.

Robert Duff



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