MLB Playoffs: The Three Tightest Playoff Races in the MLB’s Final Two Weeks

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Michael Savio
Baseball news


  • The Rays trail the AL East lead by two games with six games coming against Toronto
  • The Mariners are 5-11 since September 1
  • San Francisco has seven games remaining against the Dodgers

While we have several playoff races decided, there are still three that are neck and neck heading into the season’s final two weeks. Each has several teams within three games of each other, and several will square off before the seasons ends on October 1.

Below we will break down all three of those races, giving you the odds and insights you need to place winning wagers at your favorite MLB betting sites this September.

The AL East Division

The AL East usually features an exciting September, but not usually with these two teams. The Orioles currently lead the division by two games over the Rays, who led for most of the season. These two rivals just split a four-game series over the weekend, showing just how close they are.

The Orioles have two big advantages in this race. First, they have a far easier schedule with series against the Guardians, Nationals, and Red Sox. That is a big advantage as the Rays will have six games coming up with the Blue Jays.

The second advantage is that they are relatively healthy. The Rays lost their ace, Shane McClanahan, for the season and budding superstar Wander Franco is out as he is facing a criminal investigation. That is a lot of distraction, and few teams can continue to win after losing their top pitcher and top hitter.

The AL West Division

  • Odds to win from FanDuel Sportsbook
    • Houston Astros -300
    • Seattle Mariners +440
    • Texas Rangers +550

This has been the most exciting division race in baseball over the last month. While the Rangers had led for almost the entire season, a poor August allowed the Astros and red-hot Mariners to overtake them. Houston currently leads the group, with the Rangers trailing by 1.5 games and the Mariners by 2.5. All three teams lost their series over the weekend, with only the Astros managing a single win.

While their division lead is small, US sportsbooks are all over the Astros to win it. However, they blew a chance to build that lead last week by going 2-4 against the A’s and Royals. Their easy schedule was a major advantage in this race, but that has been squandered. Three of their final four series are against playoff contenders, meaning things will only be getting harder from here.

While Seattle has the second-best odds, they have been awful in September. They are 5-11 since September first, but there is still time to salvage their division hopes. The Mariners will head to Oakland for a suddenly crucial series before closing the year with three games against the Astros and seven against the Rangers.

Texas recently found out Max Scherzer will miss the remainder of the season, but this team has been winning more than the Astros and Mariners. They may now own the easiest schedule remaining, especially if the Seattle slump is for real. However, Texas will finish the season with a seven-game road trip, adding another level of complexity for their division hopes.

NL Wild Card Race

  • Odds to make playoffs from bet365 Sportsbook
    • Arizona Diamondbacks -135
    • Chicago Cubs +100
    • Cincinnati Reds +175
    • Miami Marlins -165
    • San Francisco Giants +825

The Diamondbacks currently hold the second wildcard spot while the Cubs and Marlins are 0.5 games back and tied for the third wildcard spot. The Reds are 0.5 games out of the final spot, while the Giants trail by two games.

The biggest factor over the final two weeks is the remaining schedules for these teams. Many faces similar challenges, but the Reds clearly have the easiest path ahead of them. They will face the Twins, Pirates, Guardians, and Cardinals to close the season. While the Twins are good, the remainder of those teams are all under .500.

On the other end, the Giants and Cubs are a brutal stretch remaining. San Francisco has seven games coming up against the Dodgers, while the Cubs close against the Brewers and Braves.

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid. As an adult, Michael started picking games for a small sports betting site and has built it into a career. His experience allows him to provide tips and information to help other bettors improve their game. Michael cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (his alma mater), and the Ottawa Senators. He specializes in baseball betting but has extensive experience in football, basketball, and hockey. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children or hiking and enjoying the outdoors.