Don’t even think about betting on the four different MLB wildcard series until you read this. We’ve analyzed all the matchups and were confident in our MLB Wildcard predictions. Keep reading to get them for free!
- What: 2023 MLB Wildcard Round
- When: Game 1’s start Tuesday, October 3
- How To Watch: Fox and FS1 (AL series); TBS (NL series)
MLB Wildcard Picks
The MLB playoff race went down to the final day on Sunday. The results? The Astros and Orioles got a bye in the AL, while the Dodgers and Braves got the same in the NL. That leaves eight teams to square off in a best-of-three wildcard round to get their shot at them. Here are our favorite picks to advance in the MLB wildcard round:
No. 6 Blue Jays at No. 3 Minnesota Twins
Of all the underdog wildcard teams, the Blue Jays have the best betting odds of advancing. The best betting sites for baseball have the Minnesota-Toronto series as almost a toss-up. Here’s the latest lines:
The Jays surprised the league this season. Not by making the postseason, but by how they did so. They were supposed to be an offensive juggernaut (as was the case in 2021 and 2022), but instead, pitching got them into October baseball. Toronto’s starting rotation combined to have the best ERA in the AL. Four different Jays pitchers started at least 31 games so they benefitted from consistency too.
The Twins will match that pitching prowess in this series though. They’re more “top-heavy” with two All-Stars on the rotation in Pablo Lopez (11-8, 3.66) and Sonny Gray (8-8, 2.79). The good thing for Minnesota is you really only need two in a three-game series like this one. We think those two will break the Twins’ dreaded curse of 18-straight postseason losses. Minnesota gets our money here.
No. 5 Texas Rangers at No. 4 Tampa Bay Rays
Both these teams started the season on complete tears — Rays were 13-0, while Rangers led the division most the season. But pitching woes have unraveled both seasons down the stretch. The reasons for those woes are different, however. Tampa just isn’t healthy. Rotation starters like Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, and Jeffrey Springs are out and not expected back. Texas, on the other hand, just isn’t good, particularly in their bullpen. The Rangers blew an eye-popping 33 saves compared to actually saving 30 games.
In a three-game series, sometimes you can get away with subpar pitching but even then, we just don’t trust Texas at all. Blowing 33 saves is comically bad. They’ve sped up their rebuild process with this overachieving season, but the Rangers still need more time. Take the Rays to sweep here.
No. 5 Miami Marlins at No. 4 Philadelphia Phillies
This playoff series is the most lopsided of the four, per the oddsmakers. As it stands, the Phillies are a convincing-200 favorite over the Marlins:
Miami has somehow defied the odds all season to get here and they’ll have to do the same in the wildcard. Just across the board, Philadelphia is seemingly a cut above them, but most noticeably in hitting. Offensive talent like Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, and Kyle Schwarber, among others, give the Nats way more firepower than the Marlins.
Yet, there’s an inkling inside of us saying to pick Miami instead. Are they the better team? No, but that doesn’t mean they can’t steal two of three games. And at these steep odds, it feels like a risk worth taking for a team that’s been sneaky all year long anyway.
No. 6 Arizona Diamondbacks at No. 3 Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee is par for the course this season — they’re a playoff team that’s good, but not really great. This has been their M.O. for the better part of the last half-decade. The 2023 squad is being carried by one of the most well-balanced pitching staffs in all of baseball. Starters Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta are filfthy good, but the bullpen has performed equally as well.
Then there’s Arizona, that’s hobbled into this playoff spot. The Diamondbacks started 2023 hot (they led the division half the season), but have been on a downslope ever since the Summer. That’s not a good trend to bet with so fading the Dbacks makes all the sense in the world.
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