MLB postseason futures: Backing the favorites to win it all
The regular-season marathon is a thing of the past, and we're now heading into high-stakes, high-drama postseason baseball.
Let's take a look at a couple of futures worth playing before the games begin.
Braves to win World Series (+300)
The Braves are a true powerhouse. They're one of the best offensive teams the league has ever seen and enter the playoffs at the top of their game - at least at the dish.
Atlanta led the majors in batting average, home runs, barrel rate, and xwOBA in September. They hit for power, they hit for average, and - led by Ronald Acuña Jr. - they can also cause teams problems on the bases.
What I love about the Braves is their power doesn't come at the expense of plate discipline. In fact, only five teams struck out at a lower percentage in September. And that's despite a very high swing rate - and swinging for power.
The Braves are a complete offense. There isn't a team in the sport that can comfortably slow them down.
Although their pitching has been a little inconsistent, the offense overpowers opponents so regularly that it may not matter.
Most of the contenders this year carry significant flaws. The Dodgers have pitching concerns; the Rays lost a chunk of their lineup to injury; the Orioles' offense drastically slowed down the stretch (23rd in runs per game over their last 15); the Astros look vulnerable as defending champions. The list goes on.
Every team has a clear weakness or two, and none possess an overwhelming strength that can match the Braves' offense.
Look for Acuña, Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, and Co. to power the Braves to a World Series victory.
Diamondbacks to win series vs. Brewers (+160)
Let me preface this by saying I believe the Brewers are right to be favored in this series. They're simply favored by too much.
A -190 price point is a lot to pay, given the Brewers' statistical profile and how similar it is to that of the Diamondbacks.
The Brewers posted a .292 xwOBA in September, and the Diamondbacks managed .296. Milwaukee recorded a 6.2% barrel rate, while Arizona came in at 5.4%.
Then you focus on pitching, and the xwOBAs and barrel rates allowed are also extremely close to one another.
The Brewers likely have an advantage when it comes to rotation depth. For me, though, this bet comes down to a couple of things.
Arizona has the best hitter in this series, with Corbin Carroll (5.9 WAR) clearing anybody on Milwaukee. It can also be argued the D-Backs have the best pitcher, with Zac Gallen (5.2 WAR) beating out Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta (Brandon Woodruff missed a lot of time and realistically couldn't challenge).
Given the Diamondbacks have the most valuable hitter, the most valuable pitcher, and a similar underlying profile, a +160 price is simply too much to pass up.
I expect a close, competitive series and will happily take my chances with the underdogs.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.