Craig Mucklow’s rooting interest in the MLB postseason is clear. The vice president of trading for Caesars Sportsbook is A.B.H.
Anyone. But. Houston.
“We have the $3 million at 10-1 with Mattress Mack,” Mucklow said. “So we are anything but an Astros fan.”
The American League division series begin Tuesday with the Astros facing the Seattle Mariners in one best-of-five set, while the New York Yankees take on the Cleveland Guardians.
Houston is a -240 favorite at the Westgate SuperBook to win the series over the Mariners, who are 2-1 to advance. The Yankees are -215 favorites over the Guardians (+185).
In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres square off in a rematch of the 2020 division series. The Dodgers are -220 favorites to win the series, and the Padres are +190.
The defending champion Atlanta Braves meet the Philadelphia Phillies in the other NL series. The Braves (-200) are favored, with the Phillies +175 to advance.
”I think the Dodgers and Braves are definitely on a collision course in the National League,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “I think it’ll play true to form where the four home teams are all going to meet.”
Seattle is in the playoffs for the first time since 2001 and rallied from a seven-run deficit in Game 2 to clinch the wild-card series against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Astros feature a power-packed lineup and a starting rotation led by Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander.
Guardians starting pitchers Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie will try to minimize the impact of Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who set an AL record with 62 home runs. New York is looking for its first championship since 2009.
The Astros are +350 to win the World Series, and the Yankees are the 5-1 second choice. The Mariners are 12-1 and the Guardians 16-1.
The Dodgers led the majors with 111 wins, and the only question mark might be whether they have enough starting pitching. San Diego lost 14 of 19 to the Dodgers in the regular season.
Atlanta is trying to become the first team to win back-to-back championships since the Yankees won three straight from 1998 to 2000. The Phillies are led by Kyle Schwarber, who topped the NL with 46 home runs to go with a major league-leading 200 strikeouts.
Los Angeles is the favorite to win the World Series at +275, with the Braves at +450. The Padres are 10-1 and the Phillies 12-1.
”We’re actually in fairly good shape on all teams to win the World Series,” Esposito said. “We actually lose a small amount to the Dodgers, which is kind of hard to believe because a team that’s been a favorite all year we normally do well to.
“Of the longer shots, we lose to the Mariners. But in really good shape with the Astros, Braves and Padres.”
Mucklow noted that with the new playoff format, the division-winning Astros, Yankees, Braves and Dodgers have been resting since the regular season ended Wednesday and could be rusty in Game 1.
The Astros are -220 on the money line in Game 1 against the Mariners (+200), and the Yankees are -210 in the opener against the Guardians (+190).
The Dodgers are -210 against the Padres (+190) in the series opener, and the Braves (-196) are favored over the Phillies (+178) in Game 1.
”I don’t think the Dodgers are a shoo-in. I don’t think the Astros are a shoo-in. I think anything’s possible,” said Adam Pullen, Caesars assistant director of trading. “Look what happened last year. The Braves were an 80-something win team and then went on to win it all. It’s just who gets hot at the right time.”