MLB Playoffs Picture 2019: Latest Odds, Expert Predictions

The Division Series of the MLB playoffs get underway on Thursday and there is no shortage of narratives accompanying the first round of the postseason.

The Los Angeles Dodgers aim to become only the first time to reach the World Series three years in a row since the New York Yankees achieved the feat between 1998 and 2001.

The Dodgers will also hope to go one better than they did in the last two seasons, when they lost the World Series to the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox respectively.

The Astros are one of four teams to have won 100 regular season games this year and arrive into the postseason looking to win a second title in three years.

The Yankees, meanwhile, have breached the 100-win threshold this season and are hoping to reach the World Series for the first time in a decade.

The Minnesota Twins, their opponent in the Division Series, meanwhile, will not be looking that far ahead.

Minnesota has won its first divisional title since 2010 but hasn't won a playoff series since 2002 and has lost its last 13 postseason games—tying an MLB record.

Here's how experts think the postseason will pan out.

Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his solo home against the San Francisco Giants with Will Smith #16 in the second inning of their MLB game at Oracle Park on September 27 in San Francisco, California. Robert Reiners/Getty

Bradford Doolittle—ESPN

The Yankees have won the American League East title comfortably, but Doolittle believes New York's staring rotation has frailties that can be exposed.

"Getting to the Yankees early and undermining the leveraged opportunities for Boone's bullpen is the best path to beating New York."

Rustin Dodd—The Athletic

Despite the concerns surrounding their rotation, Dodd believes the Yankees can't be underestimated.

"For all the questions, the Yankees remain in good position to return to their first World Series since 2009," he wrote.

"They will open against the Twins, a team they have eliminated on five separate occasions since 2003. Their bullpen can be ferocious. Giancarlo Stanton is back. [DJ] LeMahieu lost out on the batting title but will receive MVP votes.

Stephanie Apstein—Sports Illustrated

The Dodgers have lost the last two World Series but Apstein expects them to go one better this year.

"I think the Yankees and Astros are probably better teams than the Dodgers," she wrote.

"But whichever one emerges from the death match of an ALCS will have sustained a lot of damage. The New York bullpen is so good that I expect it to shut the door on Houston, but three straight series with all hands on deck is a lot to ask of a relief corps that will finish second among contenders in innings pitched.

Mark Feinsand—

Feinsand expects the Houston Astros to win a second title in three seasons, again defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

"Everyone has been waiting for the Yankees and Astros to face off in the ALCS—and it's going to happen," he wrote.

"Houston's home-field advantage helps it return to the World Series, where it will get the Dodgers in a 2017 rematch. Just like the first time, the Astros will emerge victorious, winning their second title in three years."

Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros
Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros pitches in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 29 in Anaheim, California. Kent Horner/Getty

Danny Vietti—CBS Sports

Like Feinsand, Vietti expects the Dodgers to banish their World Series demons this year.

"If they can't do it this year, when is it ever going to happen? If anything, this pick is out of boredom of seeing the same team in the World Series every single year. Los Angeles' path to a championship is not easy [...] Not only will they raise the trophy, Southern California will be celebrating after a clean sweep of Oakland."

Latest MLB playoffs odds

Bookmakers consider the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers the firm favorites to meet in the World Series.

According to Oddschecker, the Astros are 19/20 favorites to win the American League Championship Series, followed by the New York Yankees at 12/5.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, are 87/100 to win the National League, followed by the Atlanta Braves at 13/4.