MLB Wild Card Predictions: How To Bet These 4 Playoff Series (2023)

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow (20) reacts after walking in a run in the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.
Image Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

In baseball, there’s not much turnaround time from the end of the season to the playoffs, leaving us little time to break down the matchups. While some teams secured their playoff spots weeks in advance, others fought for positioning until the very last out on Sunday.

A few of those teams will look to turn around, hit the road, and get ready for a crucial playoff game just 48 hours after the regular season’s conclusion. Others had time to rest, prepare, and set up their preferred starting pitchers for these matchups.

These factors will influence some of our MLB Wild Card predictions below. Let’s break it down.

MLB Wild Card Predictions

The following MLB Wild Card predictions were made on the morning of Monday, October 2. There’s always a chance some of the information and/or odds have shifted since publishing.

Tampa Bay Rays: Win Game 1 & Win The Series (-105)

This Wild Card series promises to be one of the most exciting and evenly-matched contests of the round.

In Game 1, I’m leaning towards the Rays, especially with their probable starter Tyler Glasnow giving them a pitching advantage. While the Rangers would have loved to start Max Scherzer in this spot, his injury complicates matters.

Texas might opt for left-hander Jordan Montgomery, which could present a tough matchup against a predominantly right-handed Tampa Bay lineup.

Although I see the Rays clinching the series on their home turf, there’s reason to believe that this series could stretch to three games. My betting recommendation is to back the Rays for both Game 1 and the series win at -105 odds, but betting on the series to go three games at -102 odds is an extremely viable option.

Where to bet: Tampa Bay Rays to win Game 1 and series | -105 at FanDuel Sportsbook

Philadelphia Phillies To Sweep The Marlins (+175)

It’s pretty incredible that the Marlins made it into the postseason, and this is a legitimate team that could surprise. However, this Wild Card matchup is a tough one for Miami, who will play at the Philadelphia Phillies while facing the likes of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola in Games 1 & 2.

The Marlins won this series in the regular season 7-6, but the Phillies outscored them by a total of 64-55. It’s also worth noting for betting purposes that these teams went under the total in five of their last seven head-to-head meetings.

The Phillies have the edge in almost every facet of the game, and the atmosphere from Citizens Bank Park will be electric. This is another instance of where you can hedge if the Phillies win Game 1.

Where to bet: Phillies win series 2-0 | +175 at FanDuel Sportsbook

Minnesota Twins: Win Game 1 & Win The Series (+115)

It’s astonishing that the Twins have lost 18 consecutive playoff games. While many could point to this stat as a reason to NOT back Minnesota, I’m not following that logic. It’s unfair to judge the 2023 Twins—packed with impact players that had no hand in that dubious streak—based on the challenges Joe Mauer and company faced in the early 2000s.

Furthermore, the Twins have enjoyed about 10 days of rest, getting their pitching matchups in place while the Blue Jays were still vying for a playoff position.

Given the strong pitching from both teams and the 3:38 p.m. local start time introducing shadows between the mound and batter’s box, I’m expecting a low-scoring series.

I’m confident in betting under 7.5 total runs for Game 1. Additionally, I believe the Twins are poised to win this game, breaking their playoff losing streak, and ultimately clinching the series. If the Twins take Game 1, we can always hedge this bet to lock in profit.

Where to bet: Twins win Game 1 & win series | +115 at FanDuel Sportsbook

Milwaukee Brewers: Win Game 1 & Win The Series (-115)

The Diamondbacks are a great story this season, proving themselves as a legitimate playoff team behind some exciting young talent. However, there are concerns as they head into Game 1 with starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt, a 24-year-old rookie, who has posted a concerning 5.72 ERA this season.

Further, Arizona’s bullpen this season has been below average in terms of xFIP and WAR. Given these factors, it’s understandable that the Brewers are favored at -182 to clinch Game 1 behind a better pitcher at home.

We are taking this and bundling it into a parlay of the Brewers winning Game 1 and then taking the series in either two or three games.

Where to bet: Brewers win Game 1 & win series | -115 at FanDuel Sportsbook