MLB playoffs odds and bracket

Logo_Baseball_MLB 64x64

How do the MLB playoffs work?

The Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs begin in early October and feature a total of 12 teams. The three division winners and three wild-card teams (those with the next best regular season record) advance to the postseason from both the American League (AL) and National League (NL).

The lowest-seeded division winner and three wild-card teams face off in a best-of-three Wild Card Series, with the two winners then going on to face the top two seeded division winners in the Division Series. The winners of both Division Series progress to the best-of-seven Championship Series, from which the ALCS and NLCS champions then contest the best-of-seven World Series.

Several different odds and markets are available throughout the MLB playoffs. For example, if the Toronto Blue Jays entered the playoffs as a wild card, you could bet on them to win the Wild Card Series, or alternatively to win the American League Championship Series or World Series.

The best MLB sportsbooks


MLB Championship Series

The American League Championship Series (ALCS) and the National League Championship Series (NLCS) are contested by the final four teams in the MLB playoffs. The winner of each series is crowned the champion of their respective league and advances to the World Series. Baseball bettors are always looking to get in on Championship Series action, as the final four always features some of baseball’s finest teams and players.

Determining who to back between a pair of great teams is a difficult proposition, which is why all the information you need to research your bets is available with BET.CA.

Be sure to check out the latest odds from top sportsbooks, as well as the latest stats and recent results and upcoming matches to ensure you’re fully prepared to make educated bets.

Betting on the outright series winner is the most popular MLB Championship Series bet, although other types of MLB playoffs bets are available. For instance, you can bet on how many games a team will win the series in, or which team will hit the most home runs by series end.

Baseball_MLB_New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz
© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

What is the MLB Wild Card Series?

The MLB playoffs begin with two sets of Wild Card Series in both leagues: one between the lowest-seeded division winner and wild-card team with the worst regular-season record, and another between the other two wild-card teams. Wild Card Series are best-of-three, with the higher seeded team hosting all three games, and determines which teams progress to the Division Series.

Wild-card teams can be from any division within the respective leagues. For example, the AL East is often a powerhouse division. There have been years when all AL wild-card spots have been occupied by AL East teams, and under the current format four of five teams from a single division can all make the playoffs (although at least one will be eliminated before the Division Series).

One of the most iconic wild-card games in MLB history was between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles back in 2016. Both teams finished with an 89-73 record, and Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to send the Blue Jays to the Division Series in dramatic fashion.

What are MLB playoffs standings?

The MLB playoffs standings are ultimately determined by who has the best overall regular-season record. For example, six different teams will win their division, but the three teams from each league are ranked one through three based on their final record. The best and second-best division winners from each league automatically progress to the Division Series, while the third-best faces off against the wild-card team with the worst regular-season record in the Wild Card Series.

After the Wild Card Series, the eight remaining teams form the final playoff bracket, with four teams from each league on each side of the bracket. The winner of each Division Series goes to their respective league's Championship Series, forming a final four. The winner of each Championship Series wins their league and advances to the World Series.

The team with the best regular-season record in each series also gets home-field advantage. From 2003 to 2016, World Series home advantage was awarded to the team from the league that had won the MLB All-Star game, but that has since been changed.

MLB playoffs FAQs

What team has never been to the MLB playoffs?
When do the MLB playoffs start?
How many games are there in the MLB playoffs?

BET.CA's baseball guides are produced by our expert writers, whose passion for MLB betting spans decades. They're here to arm you with everything you need to know about Major League Baseball betting.

BET.CA staff
BET.CA staff