The 2022 MLB Playoffs are finally here. However, they look slightly different this season due to sweeping changes in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
The playoffs have expanded to 12 teams, with first-round byes awarded to teams with the two best records in each league.
Gone are the sudden death Wild Card rounds, replaced by a pair of three-game Wild Card series in each league.
So, who is most likely to emerge victorious and move on to the Divisional Round of the MLB Playoffs? Let’s look at the betting lines for the 2022 MLB Wild Card round and make some predictions.
MLB Wild Card Series Odds
Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Guardians
Rays (+102) | Guardians (-120)
Seattle Mariners at Toronto Blue Jays
Mariners (+154) | Blue Jays (-180)
Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals
Phillies (+112) | Cardinals (-130)
San Diego Padres at New York Mets
Padres (+164) | Mets (-194)
All MLB gameday odds are current as of Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 11 a.m. ET, from FanDuel sportsbook.
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AL Wild Card Predictions
(3) Cleveland Guardians vs (6) Tampa Bay Rays
The Cleveland Guardians are set to host the Tampa Bay Rays after winning the American League Central and locking up the third seed in the playoffs.
Cleveland ended the regular season on a massive hot streak, winning their division running away after being in a tight race for most of the summer, while the Rays enter the AL Wild Card as the last team in.
The Guardians will rely on contributions across the board behind José Ramírez, with Andrés Giménez, Steven Kwan, Amed Rosario, and Myles Straw all capable of wreaking havoc on the basepaths. Meanwhile, the Rays carry a league average 101 wRC+ at the plate this season, with a 93 wRC+ in September.
Neither team holds a significant edge on the mound. Tampa Bay carries a superior season-long ERA, while Cleveland finished with the second-best ERA in the AL during the second half.
That said, look for a closely contested series full of pitching duels between the likes of Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, Shane McClanahan, Tyler Glasnow, and Jeffrey Springs.
I am picking the Guardians to advance to the second round due to their home-field advantage in this three-game set.
Series Prediction: Guardians in 3 Games
For a game-by-game breakdown, visit our Guardians vs Rays AL Wild Card series prediction page.
(4) Toronto Blue Jays vs (5) Seattle Mariners
The Toronto Blue Jays are set to have home-field advantage taking on the Seattle Mariners.
In a three-game series, Toronto can take down any team in the league with Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah on the mound.
However, Julio Rodríguez will be making his postseason debut for the Mariners, who also have power threats such as Eugenio Suárez and Cal Raleigh in the lineup that can turn a game on its head quickly
I have to give the edge to the home team once again and pick Toronto to win in three games. In a series this close, I would expect the Blue Jays’ lethal hitting, led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and George Springer to be the difference maker
Series Prediction: Blue Jays in 2 Games
For a game-by-game breakdown, visit our Mariners vs Blue Jays AL Wild Card series prediction page.
NL Wild Card Predictions
(3) St. Louis Cardinals vs (6) Philadelphia Phillies
Since the trade deadline, the St. Louis Cardinals have been on a hot streak thanks to superb pitching performances by José Quintana and Jordan Montgomery.
The Cardinals also boast an incredible top half of their lineup with NL MVP frontrunner Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Tommy Edman. Not to mention the second-half heroics of future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols.
They will take on the Philadelphia Phillies, who boast an equally dangerous lineup headlined by Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Rhys Hoskins. Although, the real danger of facing Philly in a three-game series is having to deal with the two-headed monster of Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler.
This will be a very close matchup on paper, and if you compare how each team has fared down the stretch, this seems like an almost easy call going to Cardinals’ way.
That said, it’s difficult to bet against the Phillies’ rotation in such a short series, even on the road.
Series Prediction: Phillies in 3 Games
For a game-by-game breakdown, visit our Phillies vs Cardinals NL Wild Card series prediction page.
(3) New York Mets vs (6) San Diego Padres
The New York Mets could and should have won the NL East but instead find themselves in the Wild Card round due to inferior play in September. However, this does not change the fact that the club from Queens is a nightmare scenario for any opposing team in a short series, given the presence of Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.
Over the last two weeks, the Cy Young duo have shown themselves to be mortal, which could give their opponents more confidence than usual heading into this series. However, it is still a challenging assignment in which the Mets will be heavily favored.
New York has a lethal combination near the top of their lineup in Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso. The pair of infielders have combined for over 230 RBIs and are the engine that makes the Mets offense go. Unfortunately, neither player has played well down the stretch, which played a considerable role during the Mets’ September slump.
Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres have struggled since the trade deadline. The team locked up their postseason berth late in September, following a loss.
The Padres offense is led by Manny Machado, who posted his sixth 30-homer season this year. However, after mortgaging their future to acquire Juan Soto, the former National has struggled, posting a slugging percentage under .400 with San Diego.
If the Padres are going to advance in the playoffs, they will need their offense to start clicking in a hurry while getting solid performances from Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell. All of them are capable of going toe to toe with the best pitchers in the league.
Series Prediction: Mets in 2 Games
For a game-by-game breakdown, visit our Padres vs Mets NL Wild Card series prediction page.