HomeThe ShufflePlace Your Bets! MLB Heads to the Playoffs

Place Your Bets! MLB Heads to the Playoffs

Baseball surges to a thrilling regular-season finale with wild-card races keeping bettors on the edge of their seats, keyboards—or apps. Two teams qualify with at least three teams breathing down each other’s necks. Here’s what you need to know.

The regular MLB season ends Sunday, September 29 and the one-game wild-card playoffs launch the post-season on Tuesday, October 1.

The American League featured the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays all with more than 90 wins. Cleveland finishes on the road in Chicago and Washington.

The Athletics also hit the road against the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners. Tampa Bay hosts the New York Yankees and visits the Toronto Blue Jays.

The National League found some separation last week. The Chicago Cubs inexplicably choked, losing six straight at home and featuring two heartbreaking ninth-inning blown leads. Their chances are remote, in part because the Milwaukee Brewers compiled an ungodly 15-2 streak in recent weeks and look primed to make the playoffs.

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The other likely playoff team is the Washington Nationals, who are home all week, including a rare five-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies. The resurgent New York Mets, with longshot playoff hopes, face the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves, all at home. The faded Cubs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, who swept them at Wrigley Field last weekend.

Key Variables

  • The Washington Nationals have a major advantage in pitcher Max Scherzer, who it wants to start in the one-game wildcard opening round. But the Nationals will use him twice in the final regular-season week if need be.
  • Milwaukee has an unhittable reliever in Josh Hader, but if he’s overused in the week leading up to the playoffs, that could affect availability in a one-game post-season.
  • Watch the lines on teams that must win. If it goes to -200, they’ll be hard to wager. But a team needing a win in the neighborhood of -120 (you’re essentially laying 6-5 odds) is a good find.

Root for the home team! Place your MLB bets BetMGM.com.

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Dave Bontempo, a multiple award-winning writer and broadcaster, has covered sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, HBO and Showtime and called boxing matches on every major network. Dave is a winner of the Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence given by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and is a member of both the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame. He writes regularly for sportsquare.com and Global Gaming Business magazine.

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