2020 is shaking up the playoffs for just about every sport with baseball being the most recent example. The NHL is having a qualifying round that allows 24 teams to compete for the Stanley Cup, the NBA has the chance at a play in series between the eighth and ninth seed and now the MLB has announced 16 teams will make the playoffs for the 2020 season.
Most baseball fans are used to the 10 team format that sees two wild card teams compete to play against one of the division winners. With the 2020 MLB season already shortened, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the decision to expand the playoffs to give fans more exciting playoff baseball.
How It Will Work
The first round of the playoffs this season will see eight best of three series with seedings going one through eight for each conference. The higher seed in each matchup will host all three games. This will lead into the Divisional Series. Once the playoffs hit the Divisional Series, it will go back to a best of five then a best of seven.
If this playoff format were implemented last season, it would have seen the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers make it from the American League. The New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs would have made it from the National League.
This deal also includes that TBS and ESPN will hold the rights exclusively to air all the playoff games in the new format. This should lead to a nice structure for the MLB’s 2020 postseason plan.
How This Affects Betting Futures
The new postseason structure adds a lot of value to the middle teams when betting on Odds to Win the World Series. Last season, we witnessed an incredible run by the Washington Nationals, who squeaked into the playoffs. A huge part of every sport is just making the postseason. Once you are into the postseason, everyone is back on even playing fields and have a chance to make a deep run.
With three extra teams being added to each Conference, there is a lot of value in some middle teams, who could struggle to get in on the ten team format, but could make it based on the new 16 team format.
Some great examples of teams with increased value include the Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels. The Red Sox and Diamondbacks are both at +5000, while the Angels are at +2800. These three teams have solid rosters to make a run and have better chances at making the playoffs with the new format.
The new format does not take away from the top tier teams this season though. When the Wild Card round hits, the higher seed will host all three games in the best of three, which is a huge advantage. Despite their likely being no fans in attendance, each ballpark is built differently, so having your familiar park will help you in a lot of ways.