By the time Thursday rolls around and the divisional playoffs open in Major League Baseball, we will be down to eight teams vying for this year’s title. The divisional round is a big test for even the best team in baseball, as the best-of-five format leaves little room for error and a small amount of time to recover from any lulls in play. As a result, this round can be quite unpredictable, much to the dismay of those who bet favorites. Let’s look at key betting results from divisional rounds of the past to see if we can uncover anything to help us breeze through this year’s series.
Overall Series Results Since 2000
— A total of 84 divisional round series have been played since 2000, and better seeds are just 43-41 (51.2 percent).
— There is a decent break in success level for the better seeds when they won at least eight more games than their opponents in the regular season, as their record in those series is 15-10. Tampa Bay will have this edge over the AL wild-card winner, as will San Francisco if St. Louis upsets Los Angeles in the NL wild-card game.