The 2022 MLB playoffs should be as fun as ever. Thanks to the expanded format, a total of 12 teams will qualify for postseason play this year. The two teams with the best records in each league get rewarded with first-round byes, as well.
Avoiding the Wild Card Round entirely does give those top-four finishers a leg up on the field when it comes to the pennant race.
If the season ended today, the New York Yankees and Houston Astros would skip the AL Wild Card Round, while the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets would earn those byes on the National League side.
Of course, there is still a long way to go before any of that is decided. The unofficial second half of the 2022 campaign gets underway on Thursday, and MLB betting sites are updating their futures odds all the time.
Needless to say, those MLB pennant odds have changed quite a bit since the season began. Here’s a look at the updated MLB odds to advance to the World Series this fall.
MLB Odds to Win American League Pennant
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Angels
Kansas City Royals
Yankees Now Favored (+575 -> +175)
The Yankees have been the biggest story of the 2022 season thus far. The Toronto Blue Jays were actually favored to claim the pennant before the season began, but the AL now the Yanks’ to lose. New York will come out of the All-Star break with a league-best 64-28 record and a massive 13-game lead in the AL East.
As of now, this team has no real weaknesses.
The starting staff owns the second-best ERA of any in the AL at 3.20, though there are fresh injury concerns with Luis Severino, unfortunately. Nestor Cortes has also shown signs of coming back down to earth following his blazing start to the year.
Battery mates take the All-Star Game. @HipHipJose5 🤝 @Cortes_1210 pic.twitter.com/bJ2dUD9g9M
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 20, 2022
Injuries have been the Yankees’ primary issue over the past couple of years, but they’ve been able to stay largely healthy to this point. As long as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are still upright and mashing in the middle of the lineup, this offense is as dangerous as any come October.
Houston Jumps (+550 -> +210)
If the Yankees don’t go on to win the pennant, it’ll likely be because the Astros once again got in their way. Houston has eliminated New York from the postseason three times since 2015, most recently in the 2019 ALCS. The two teams have become rivals over the years, but the results have been rather one-sided in Houston’s favor.
Justin Verlander, who is pitching his first full season since 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, is probably the frontrunner to win the AL Cy Young Award this season. That’s a remarkable feat for a 39-year-old, and he’s once again headlining a starting rotation fully capable of going toe-to-toe with that of the Yankees in a short playoff series.
Jeremy Peña hits his 13th homer of the year with Jose Altuve on base. pic.twitter.com/N40RqyOy98
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 17, 2022
The offseason departure of Carlos Correa has been offset by the emergence of his replacement, Jeremy Pena. Correa was one of the Astros’ locker room leaders, but Pena is letting his play do most of the talking. Houston’s 24-year-old rookie shortstop ranks third among all American League players at the position in WAR (2.7), trailing only Boston’s Xander Bogaerts (3.7) and Texas’ Corey Seager (3.1).
Blue Jays Dip (+450 -> +650)
MLB betting sites were quite bullish on the Blue Jays before the season began. Toronto owned the best AL pennant odds of any team at +450. Despite the fact that they’re in third place in their own division coming out of the break, Toronto’s odds haven’t slipped too much (+650).
Catching the Yankees in the AL East looks rather unlikely given Toronto’s current 14.5-game deficit. However, the Jays would nab one of the three AL Wild Card spots if the season ended today. Earlier this month, the Jays controversially fired manager Charlie Montoyo despite a winning record, citing the need for a new voice in the locker room.
I understand that Charlie Montoyo is a good guy and he isn’t even such a terrible tactical manager anymore but somebody needs to be held accountable. He can’t be managing this team when the next series starts.
— Wins and Flosses (@WinsAndFlosses) July 10, 2022
With Hyun-jin Ryu out for the season and Jose Berrios underperforming, don’t be surprised if the Jays are heavily involved in the starting pitching market leading up to the August 2nd trade deadline. At the +650 odds, however, Toronto still looks a little overvalued by oddsmakers in the AL pennant race.
MLB Odds to Win National League Pennant
Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Mets
San Diego Padres
St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants
Dodgers Holding Steady (+250 -> +170)
The LA Dodgers opened the season as the betting favorites to win the National League. As of the All-Star break, nothing has changed. Los Angeles’ NL pennant odds have even improved slightly, from +250 before the season to +170 at the unofficial halfway point.
The Dodgers are never afraid to get aggressive around the trade deadline, either. We saw them make the splashy move for Trea Turner and Max Scherzer around a year ago at this time. It’s entirely possible Andrew Friedman will pick up the phone and make another call to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo later this month, this time with Juan Soto in mind.
Mookie Betts and Trea Turner with first-inning singles, the first time two Dodgers have hits in an All-Star Game since Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in 2011https://t.co/YKtURxNzQq
— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) July 20, 2022
Los Angeles has won the NL pennant three times since 2017, so playoff experience is certainly not an issue with this team. The current +170 MLB pennant odds do still offer some upside. If the Dodgers make another big move before the upcoming trade deadline, their odds will only fall from here.
Braves Surging…Again (+750 -> +425)
You’d think oddsmakers would have learned their lesson last year. The Braves opened the 2022 season with just the third-best odds of any team to win the National League at +750. This is in spite of the fact that they came to within a game of doing so in 2020 before they won the World Series last year.
Atlanta got off to yet another sluggish start, but they’ve turned things around in a big way since the calendar flipped to May. The Braves are now just 2.5 games adrift of the Mets for the top spot in the National League East, with more than enough time left in the season to make up the necessary ground. Atlanta has won this division in each of the last four seasons, and a fifth consecutive crown is very much in sight.
The Mets won’t be an easy team to dethrone with Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom atop the rotation, but health concerns linger for both veteran aces. The Braves are once again one of the most well-rounded teams in all of baseball, and a healthy Ronald Acuna Jr. could make all the difference in the world once the playoffs roll around.
Giants Flailing (+850 -> +2200)
The Giants finished with the best record in the sport a season ago at 107-55. Unfortunately, Gabe Kapler’s squad has been unable to recreate the magic so far in 2022.
Injuries have played an unfortunate role, of course. All of Brandon Belt, LaMonte Wade, Mike Yastrzemski, Evan Longoria, and Tommy La Stella have spent time on the injured list, while San Francisco has, thus far, been unable to replace Buster Posey following his retirement. Brandon Crawford is hitting just .215 after his sudden renaissance a season ago, as well.
Giants have no shot at the playoffs if Brandon Crawford continues to play like this. Inexcusable GIDP.
— Sean Jordan (@BaySean) July 12, 2022
The Giants simply aren’t as good as they were a season ago when just about everything seemed to go their way. San Francisco is still only a half-game out of the final NL Wild Card spot, but there are a handful of teams jockeying for those positions. Unless things turn around in a hurry, the Giants might be one-and-done as a playoff team.
MLB Odds to Win AL Pennant
Toronto Blue Jays (+450)
Yes, you’re reading that correctly. The Toronto Blue Jays are currently +450 favorites to win the American League, per the latest MLB pennant odds from BetOnline.
We know they can mash.
Last year, the Jays led the majors in OPS (.796), home runs (262), and slugging percentage (.466). Toronto finished third in runs scored (846), second in both runs batted in (816) and batting average (.266). The departure of Randal Grichuk was essentially offset by the arrival of Matt Chapman. With the reigning AL MVP runner-up in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. anchoring the lineup, there is no reason to believe the Blue Jays won’t rank among the MLB leaders in most major offensive categories again in 2022. For the most part, this is still an incredibly young lineup that should only improve moving forward.
Toronto lost ace Robbie Ray in free agency, but added Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi this winter. With Alek Manoah, Jose Berrios, and Hyun-jin Ryu already in the mix, the Blue Jays’ rotation suddenly looks like a major on-paper strength. The bullpen is more of a work-in-progress, but that’s an area that can be addressed before the trade deadline.
That said, this is a largely inexperienced team in the most loaded division in the majors.
The AL East is home to three other World Series-caliber teams, so navigating their way to the top of the division won’t be an easy task for the upstart Blue Jays. The expanded postseason format will make it easier for the Jays to punch a playoff ticket, but I’m not at all sold on their status as the early favorite to win the pennant.
Houston Astros (+550)
Ah, that’s more like it. The Astros have won the American League pennant three times in the last five seasons, though they’re still searching for their first World Series title that isn’t tainted by scandal.
Houston has lost a number of big-name players in free agency over the past few years, but that hasn’t kept them from contending on a yearly basis. Could the decision to let Carlos Correa walk to Minnesota be the one that slams their World Series window shut? Perhaps, but I’ll believe that window is closed when I see it shut.
All my son Yordan does is hit BOOMBAHS pic.twitter.com/YsekQf4RCL
— Apollo Dez (@ApolloDez1) March 28, 2022
Dusty Baker can still put together an absurdly deep lineup built around Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Yuli Gurriel. Whether Jeremy Peña will capably fill in for Correa as the everyday shortstop remains to be seen, but pitching shouldn’t be much of a concern, either.
The ageless Justin Verlander has looked no worse for the wear so far in spring training after undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago. Behind him, the Astros have an impressive collection of young fireballers filling out the rotation.
No team has enjoyed more playoff success than the Astros have over the past half-decade. The reigning AL champions almost feel undervalued at their current +550 MLB pennant odds. Houston is as viable a betting option as anybody else to win the AL for the fourth time since 2017.
New York Yankees (+575)
The Yankees are among the favorites to win the AL pennant every single year. This is in spite of the fact that New York hasn’t actually won the American League since they last won the World Series in 2009. New York’s 13-year pennant drought is their longest since going without an AL title from 1982 until 1995.
Of course, nobody outside of the Bronx is crying for a team that already owns 27 World Series titles. Most believed the Yankees would try to lure Correa or another big-name free agent to town this offseason, but Brian Cashman and co. instead opted to largely stick with the roster they already had. The Yankees’ most notable additions this offseason were Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. It was a bit surprising for a franchise that handed out a $300 million contract to Gerrit Cole just a couple of years ago.
Frankly, I think the Yankees’ MLB pennant odds are only as favorable as they are because of their winning reputation. I’d sooner bet on the Blue Jays or Astros at similar odds. There are a few teams with even longer MLB odds to win the AL pennant I prefer over the Yankees at +575, too.
Chicago White Sox (+650)
The White Sox have been billed as the next American League super-team over the past couple of years, but we’re still waiting for that to come to fruition. The White Sox haven’t even won a playoff series since their victory over the Astros in the 2005 World Series. In 121 years of existence, the Pale Hose have just 30 postseason wins all-time. The Astros have won 45 playoff games…since 2015.
Regardless, there is undoubtedly tons of talent here.
Health will be key, as both Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez missed significant time with injuries a season ago. Chicago will likely cruise to a second consecutive AL Central title in a weak division, which certainly improves their chances of paying off your wager. Teams in the AL East and AL West certainly don’t have quite as easy a path to the postseason, which makes them inherently riskier betting options to win the pennant.
Tony La Russa has a trio of ace-caliber pitchers atop the rotation in Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Dylan Cease.
The final two rotation spots aren’t quite as locked down, but the Sox have worked this offseason to improve an already-deep bullpen. Between Liam Hendriks, Craig Kimbrel, Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly, Aaron Bummer, and Garrett Crochet, the White Sox don’t have a reliever incapable of touching triple digits.
The American League is rife with talent, but it’s hard not to like the White Sox’ +650 MLB pennant odds entering the season.
Tampa Bay Rays (+700)
The Rays’ 2021 campaign came to a disappointing end with an upset loss to the Red Sox in the ALDS. However, that lackluster postseason showing led to oddsmakers undervaluing Tampa Bay going into 2022. The Rays, who won the AL pennant two years ago before finishing with the AL’s best record last season, are way down at +700 to win another pennant this term.
The Rays’ MLB odds to win the pennant should not be this long.
Kevin Cash’s unconventional approach to pitching has now become conventional around the league. Even with Tyler Glasnow likely sidelined for the year, the Rays have an embarrassment of riches on the pitching side. Shane McClanahan and Shane Baz look like future aces, while Luis Patiño showed major promise in his first year with the team in 2021.
Kevin Cash says that Shane McClanahan will be the Rays opening day starter.
“It should be an honor. His body of work last year is deserving. He stepped up after Glasnow’s injury and fulfilled a major role.”
— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) March 29, 2022
It’s also easy to forget Tampa Bay’s underrated offense finished second in the big leagues in runs scored (857) a season ago. Wander Franco is an ascending superstar set to anchor the lineup for the next decade.
We know by now what kind of lockdown bullpen the Rays have at their disposal, too.
A team without any glaring weaknesses should not be facing such long MLB pennant odds. I’d be all over Tampa Bay to win the American League for the second time in three years at +700.
Best MLB Odds to Win Pennant in American League
You probably can’t go wrong betting on any of the aforementioned teams to win the AL pennant in 2022…except the Yankees, that is.
Of this group, Tampa Bay stands out the most as a +700 long-shot.
The Rays just aren’t getting the respect they deserve. After that, Houston (+550) and Chicago (+650) look like solid values. Toronto (+450) is a bit overvalued, but I’d still take a shot on the Blue Jays before dropping anything on the Yankees at similar odds.
The best bets to win the AL pennant in 2022 are listed as follows:
PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!
MLB Odds to Win NL Pennant
Los Angeles Dodgers (+250)
As you may expect, the Dodgers have the shortest MLB pennant odds of any team at +250. Much like the Astros, the Dodgers have three World Series appearances under their belt since 2017, with one championship in that span. LA amassed arguably the most talented roster we’ve seen in decades a season ago, only to fall to the Atlanta Braves in an NLCS upset.
The Dodgers haven’t been shy about spending money in recent years. After the offseason signing of former NL MVP Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles’ 2022 payroll is up over $231 million. For reference, the Orioles’ payroll is sitting at about $25 million. The Dodgers have four different players due at least $20 million this year alone. Anything other than another World Series title will be a major disappointment for a team that has made winning at all costs its No. 1 priority. That’s an admirable goal in a time in which many teams are blatantly tanking. However, outspending everyone else hasn’t necessarily amounted to a dynastic run for this team in recent years, either.
Will Clayton Kershaw hold up? What will happen with Trevor Bauer? Will Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger bounce back from subpar seasons? Can the bullpen weather the losses of Kenley Jansen, Corey Knebel, and Joe Kelly? Dave Roberts guaranteed a championship for this team, but there are still quite a few question marks looming for the Dodgers.
New York Mets (+500)
Speaking of spending, the Mets have done plenty of that since Steve Cohen bought the team. Francisco Lindor became a $300 million man last year, only to proceed to endure the worst offensive campaign of his career. The Mets absolutely need Lindor to play like a franchise player if they want to live up to their lofty expectations this season.
No other team in the sport boasts a starting duo as fearsome as Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, but the 3-through-5 spots in the rotation (Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco) aren’t sure things. The Mets spent quite a bit of money fortifying the lineup with Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha, while Robinson Cano is back after his season-long suspension.
Max Scherzer’s first Mets start is an Apple TV+ exclusive https://t.co/IeS9hBOFD9 pic.twitter.com/HlIWYk2l7c
— New York Post (@nypost) March 29, 2022
The Mets haven’t made the playoffs since 2015, which makes their +500 odds to win the NL pennant look a little short. You can argue the NL isn’t as rich with contenders as the AL is, but it’s still a little jarring to see the Mets with more favorable odds to win the NL pennant than the Astros have on the AL side.
I understand the Mets’ favorable +500 MLB pennant odds, but New York is far from the best value available heading into the season.
Atlanta Braves (+750)
The Braves have won the NL East in each of the last four years, and they finally reached the mountaintop with a surprising World Series triumph last fall. The Braves will look a bit different in 2022, however, most notably at first base.
Freddie Freeman is now donning Dodger blue, but he’ll be replaced by another slugger, Matt Olson. Freeman was the Braves’ undisputed leader, but there won’t be much of a drop-off, if any, in terms of on-field performance with Olson taking his place. Ronald Acuña Jr. is back after a torn ACL cost him the latter half of last season, as well. The Braves lost a few key contributors (Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson) to free agency, but most of the championship core is still in place.
Last year, the Braves caught lightning in a bottle. This is still a team fully capable of making another deep playoff run, however, which makes their +750 odds to repeat as National League champions look a little long.
San Diego Padres (+800)
Fernando Tatis Jr. would’ve cruised to the NL MVP a season ago if the Padres hadn’t collapsed down the stretch. Unfortunately, we likely won’t see Tatis until June, at the earliest, after he suffered a fractured wrist in a motorcycle crash during the offseason. So, the Padres’ best hitter will be out of the lineup to begin the campaign.
Still, the talent here is clear.
The Pads have aggressively spent money over the past few years in a desperate try to catch the Dodgers atop the division. They were unexpectedly beaten to the punch last year when the Giants came out of nowhere, but San Diego (+800) still has more favorable NL pennant odds than San Francisco (+850) heading into ’22.
Bob Melvin was asked if the Padres have gotten any assurances from Fernando Tatis Jr. that his motorcycle riding days are over: pic.twitter.com/osu495cWp2
— 97.3 The Fan (@973TheFanSD) March 15, 2022
The Padres beefed up the lineup by trading for Luke Voit earlier this spring, while Mike Clevinger will return to the rotation after Tommy John surgery sidelined him a season ago. Perhaps most importantly, the Padres upgraded the managerial post by swapping Jayce Tingler for a proven winner in Bob Melvin.
The Dodgers are still the class of the NL West, but the Padres and Giants appear poised to give LA a run for its money again this season.
San Francisco Giants (+850)
Nobody saw the Giants coming heading into last season. San Francisco had an aging roster and hadn’t posted a winning season since 2016. However, San Francisco staged one of the most unexpected turnarounds in recent memory, winning a league-high 107 games on their way to the NL West title.
Unfortunately for Gabe Kapler’s squad, the Giants’ season came to an early end at the hands of the rival Dodgers in the NLDS. Oddsmakers aren’t taking the Giants too seriously as a candidate to repeat the feat this year, as evidenced by their long +850 MLB pennant odds. We’ll see what the likes of Brandon Crawford and LaMonte Wade Jr. have in store after surprisingly excellent seasons at the plate.
Buster Posey retired, but the Giants have a readymade replacement behind the plate in Joey Bart. Pitching, platooning, and slugging proved to be a winning formula a season ago, and they’re still well-stocked on the pitching front.
Best MLB Odds to Win Pennant in National League
Clearly, the Dodgers are once again looking like the team to beat in the National League. Given the incredibly decorated roster and seemingly limitless resources, you can easily argue the Dodgers are a little undervalued at +250 MLB odds to win the pennant.
Last year showed they won’t be without their fair share of challengers, however.
The Mets (+500) are generating plenty of buzz, but the Braves, Padres, Giants, and even Brewers (+900) all look like interesting value options.
I’ll rank my favorite bets to win the 2022 National League title below:
Los Angeles Dodgers:
San Francisco Giants:
PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!