FanGraphs is one of the best in the business when it comes to advanced analytics for baseball, and among the fun graphs they have is their MLB Playoff Odds.
After the Rays thrillingly beat the Yankees last night, the Championship Series in both leagues are set. The NLCS will feature a battle of undefeated teams in the postseason, as the Braves will take on the Dodgers, who have been the overwhelming favorite to win the championship since the beginning of the season, and their odds have only increased as the field has shrunk. The Rays will take on everyone outside of Houston’s favorite enemy — the Astros.
FanGraphs gives the Braves a 38.9% chance of upsetting the best team in baseball during the regular season, which leaves the Dodgers with a 61.1% chance of advancing. They also predict Los Angeles has a 41.1% chance of winning the World Series, suggesting they will be the overwhelming favorite — if they advance — regardless of who they play.
However, what’s interesting is that even though FanGraphs gives the Braves the worst odds to advance to the World Series, they have the second-best odds at winning the World Series at 22.1%. The Astros come just behind them at 19.4%, and the Rays are last with a 17.5% chance at winning the whole thing. That means, if the Braves do happen to advance, FanGraphs views them as a favorite to win their first title since 1995.
Of course, absolutely none of this means anything. Nobody would have predicted that the Braves — with all of their starting pitching woes — would toss four shutouts in their first five playoff games… it doesn’t matter who they were playing. The games are won on the field, and baseball is the most difficult sport to predict.
Personally, I would give the Braves a little better than a 38.9% chance of upsetting the Dodgers. Los Angeles rightfully deserves to be the favorites, but these two matchup very evenly as far as offenses and bullpens go. You have to give the edge to the Dodgers starting pitching, but the Braves rotation has been brilliant throughout these playoffs, and the Dodgers have some questions of their own in that area. You also have to consider that Atlanta is playing with house money at this point, which makes this a very dangerous team, considering all the talent they have on their roster.