The 2023 MLB playoffs begin with the Wild Card round on Tuesday, Oct. 3. After that, we’ll get into the Divisional Round on our way to the World Series. The Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros have byes through the Wild Card round after snagging the top two seeds in the AL, so it’s no surprise they’re the two betting favorites to win the pennant. We go over the odds to win the AL Pennant on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some predictions.
American League pennant odds
A few days ago, the Astros were 2.5 games out of the AL West lead and on the cusp of missing the postseason entirely. After a wild week and a sweep of the D-backs in Arizona, Houston has snatched its sixth division title in seven years — and sits as the betting favorite to make its second straight World Series. Of course, this isn’t your older brother’s Astros team: Yes, Justin Verlander is back, but he and the rest of this rotation have had a bumpy September, while the lineup is a bit thin after the big four of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker. Houston has owned this league in recent years and deserves the benefit of the doubt, but tread carefully.
The O’s, meanwhile, have the league’s best record and home-field throughout the playoffs — but slot in behind Houston here, largely because so many of their key players are totally unproven in October. That said, Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and Co. have as much firepower as anyone, and while the rotation flies under the radar, Kyle Bradish, Grayson Rodriguez and the returning John Means are an underrated trio. If Yennier Cano can do his best Felix Bautista impression, there’s no reason why Baltimore can’t keep this run going all the way to the World Series — they just took two of three in Houston this month, after all.
Two teams jump out here: the Rays and, yes, the Twins. Tampa is the more self-evident choice, given that they won 99 games and are only the fourth seed here because they narrowly lost out on the AL East to the O’s. Even without Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs (all lost to injury), there’s still lots of pitching talent here with Tyler Glasnow, Aaron Civale and Zach Eflin — and no one mixes and matches like Kevin Cash and Co. Yandy Diaz, Randy Arozarena and the rest of this lineup are getting healthy and hot at the right time, and in such a bunched-up league where every time has at least one glaring weakness, the Rays feel as good a bet as anyone.
As for Minnesota, well, just look at that rotation — would you want to face Pablo Lopez, Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan in a short series, with Bailey Ober and Kenta Maeda waiting in the wings? Whether the Twins can score enough is an open question, but they’ve been better this month and are trending toward getting Royce Lewis, Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa back in October. For the team with the longest odds of the field, you can make a surprisingly compelling case.
Pick: Orioles +275