At long last, the 2021 MLB playoff field is officially set. After a thrilling set of Wild Card matchups, eight teams remain in the hunt for the World Series, including the reigning champion Los Angeles Dodgers. And with postseason-bracket clarity comes our first batch of MLB playoff picks 2021: predictions for every division series.
Here are the latest MLB betting odds, courtesy of BetOnline:
|Chicago White Sox
|Tampa Bay Rays
|Boston Red Sox
|Los Angeles Dodgers
|San Francisco Giants
Like usual, you should confirm these MLB playoff odds with BetOnline and other top online sportsbooks before making your MLB playoff picks. Division series games begin immediately, but the lines will still move before the opening pitch and as each matchup plays out its scheduled games.
2021 MLB Division Playoff Predictions
We will begin with our 2021 American League Division Series picks, since the ALDS is set to start on Thursday, October 7. After that, we will move on to our 2021 National League Division Series predictions.
Houston Astros (-130) vs. Chicago White Sox (+112)
Though it comes as no shock the Houston Astros enter the ALDS as favorites over the Chicago White Sox, they are not exactly posting Goliath odds. This keeps in theme with what we saw to close the season: Houston might be vulnerable.
More than that, Chicago's pitching staff is straight-up scary. They rank in the top seven of ERA and led the entire league in strikeouts per nine innings during the regular season.
How the White Sox's arms hold up against Houston's bats is anyone's guess. Captained by Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez, the Astros finished the year third in slugging percentage and second in on-base percentage.
Houston's offensive firepower inevitably sways us. They pair it with a good enough pitching staff and should be able to outlast Chicago over the course of an entire series.
OSB Prediction: Houston Astros (-130)
Tampa Bay Rays (-168) vs. Boston Red Sox (+144)
Kudos to the Boston Red Sox for their thoroughly impressive victory over the New York Yankees in the American League Wild Card game. Their offense has come a long way. They join the Astros as the only teams to place in the top three of both on-base and slugging percentage.
Still, we have questions about how well their pitching staff can hold up. They rank in the bottom half of the league in ERA and can be feast or famine; either they amass a bunch of strikeouts or they get rocked by the top and middle of the opposing team's batting order.
At the same time, we have similar questions about the Tampa Bay Rays offense. They don't wield a ton of long-ball hitters, and their capacity to convert with runners in scoring position is alarmingly low. It makes sense to predict an upset here.
OSB Prediction: Boston Red Sox (+144)
Milwaukee Brewers (-142) vs. Atlanta Braves (+120)
Oddsmakers clearly trust the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff, and we don't exactly blame them. They have three potential aces in Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta and Adrian Houser.
However, we just can't overlook their struggles on the other side of the plate. The Brewers have the worst on-base and slugging percentages among the eight teams to crack the division round.
Indeed, some will be worried about rolling with the Atlanta Braves when they have offensive problems of their own. We're not too reluctant. Some of their youngsters showed real progress later in the season, and their pitching rotation is built to traverse all sorts of different matchups.
OSB Prediction: Atlanta Braves (+120)
Los Angeles Dodgers (-146) vs. San Francisco Giants (+124)
This is the division series everyone will have their eye on. Many consider the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants to be the two best teams in baseball. They might be right.
The Dodgers' offense has withstood plenty of ups and downs this season, but they continue to have the best pitching staff in baseball. No team owns a better ERA or is allowing fewer hits per nine innings.
The reigning champs are the natural pick in this series given their uptick in offensive consistency. And yet, we only recently found out superstar pitcher Clayton Kershaw will be out for the entire postseason. That changes the calculus a bit.
Can Julio Urias, Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer and Trevor Bauer carry the playoff load without him? Our answer is a resounding yes. The Dodgers go five stud pitchers deep. They can lose one and still obliterate rival offenses.
This isn't to say San Francisco will fold without a fight. Their pitching staff is similarly deep, and they notched the better offensive numbers during the regular season. We're just inclined to side with the reigning champs when push comes to shove.
OSB Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers (-146)
Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your MLB postseason betting: