MLB playoff changes have modest impact on World Series odds

The Washington Nationals will have a slightly different road in defending their World Series Championship. The MLB announced a new format for 2020, featuring an increase from 10 to 16 teams.

Patrick Everson
Last Updated: Jul 24, 2020 10:15 AM ET
Washington Nationals MLB World Series
Photo By - USA Today Images

MLB betting got a postseason boost Thursday with news of an expanded playoff format for this shortened season. Instead of the traditional 10 teams – six division winners and four wild cards – there will now be 16 teams.

PointsBet USA and Circa Sports provided insights on how playoff expansion impacts MLB futures odds – World Series betting, as well as AL and NL line movement.

How do the expanded playoffs impact World Series odds?

In a nutshell, not very much. PointsBet USA director of communications Patrick Eichner said the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays – all longer shots of varying degrees – saw the most notable line movement.

The Red Sox tightened from +4,000 to +3,000, the Rangers moved from +7,500 to +5,000, and the Blue Jays shifted from +10,000 to +8,000.

“That said, every team toward the bottom – so essentially the fringe playoff teams – saw an adjustment,” Eichner said.

Circa Sports took World Series odds off the board on Thursday’s news, but went back up Friday morning, handling it similarly to PointsBet USA.


How do the expanded playoffs impact AL and NL championship odds?

It’s very much the same answer as the World Series question. Chris Bennett, sportsbook manager for Circa Sports, said the bottom-rung teams saw adjustments, but there were virtually no changes to any other teams.

“I tightened the odds on some of the worst teams – the (Baltimore) Orioles, (Pittsburgh) Pirates, (San Francisco) Giants. Nothing drastic,” Bennett said, noting those teams were among those adjusted in World Series futures, too.

Where can I bet MLB odds?    

Many online books and casinos offer bets on baseball odds and props. Check out the best sportsbooks available where you live.

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