(Photo credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports)
The Tampa Bay Rays opened the Major League Baseball playoffs at home on Tuesday, and as the second biggest favorites to advance from the wild-card round.
The Rays (99-63) were -160 favorites to eliminate the Texas Rangers (90-72) at DraftKings, where they have been backed by 86 percent of the money wagered on the series winner. As -150 series favorites at BetMGM, the Rays lead all wild-card teams with 74 percent of the money backing them to get past the Rangers.
It is a tough draw for Texas (135), which was leading the American League West standings until a loss on the final day of the season. Houston won the division, courtesy of a tiebreaker, dropping the Rangers into a wild-card series against the fourth-seeded Rays, who fell one victory short of their franchise mark set in 2021.
"It's going to be up to us to go through Tampa and play a really good team," Texas manager Bruce Bochy said before Tuesday's Game 1. "So we've got to bounce back and get this offense going. It's good to be here."
The biggest favorites entering the wild-card round are the Philadelphia Phillies, who were being offered at -190 by the book to get past the Miami Marlins (160).
Philadelphia had drawn lopsided action with 91 percent of the money and 90 percent of the total bets placed on the series winner. The same is true at BetMGM, where Philadelphia has drawn 63 percent of the series bets at -165.
Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber has also been the most popular player by total money and bets at DraftKings to lead the wild-card round in home runs, followed by teammate Bryce Harper.
The third shortest wild-card series odds belong to Milwaukee Brewers, who have drawn 79 percent of the money as -155 favorites at DraftKings to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks (130).
The Minnesota Twins won the AL Central, but face the closest series odds at -115 against the Toronto Blue Jays (-105).
Among the postseason teams, the Diamondbacks have seen the biggest shift among World Series odds. After opening as a 7000 longshot, Arizona's odds of winning the title have shortened to 3000. That puts them ahead of the Marlins, who have moved from 5000 to open the season to 3500.
The Atlanta Braves remain the World Series favorites at most sportsbooks. That includes 250 at BetMGM and 310 at DraftKings. That's ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose World Series odds are 425 and 450, respectively.
The Astros didn't clinch a playoff spot until the penultimate day of the regular season. In the span of 48 hours, they went from potentially missing the postseason to claiming the AL West title.
With days of rest in hand, Houston now has the shortest odds among AL teams to win the World Series at 500 by BetMGM and 450 by DraftKings,
The Astros are also 185 to win the AL pennant at the latter, where they have been backed by 45 percent of the money and 22 percent of the total bets. Houston also leads the way with 32 percent of the money placed on the World Series champion at the book - nearly three times as much as the next closest team, the Braves at 12 percent.
BetRivers, which is offering Atlanta at 280 and Houston at 475 to win it all, reported a Braves-Astros World Series to be the most popular pick among the public, attracting 22.6 percent of the total futures money and 27.6 percent of the total bets.
Should it happen, it would pit the most recent two World Series champions against each other - Atlanta won in 2021 and Houston took the title last year.
WORLD SERIES WINNER ODDS
Atlanta Braves (310)
Los Angeles Dodgers (450)
Houston Astros (450)
Baltimore Orioles (700)
Tampa Bay Rays (1000)
Philadelphia Phillies (1300)
Texas Rangers (1600)
Toronto Blue Jays (1600)
Milwaukee Brewers (1700)
Minnesota Twins (2000)
Arizona Diamondbacks (3000)
Miami Marlins (3500)
DraftKings, entering play on Tuesday.
--Field Level Media