How Do the MLB Playoffs Work in 2022? Complete Guide & Current Odds

How do the MLB Playoffs work in 2022? Introducing the new Postseason format for baseball and the most up-to-date MLB Playoffs betting odds.

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When it comes to postseason play, the sports world has collectively decided that “bigger is better!”

The NFL expanded the Playoffs from 12 to 14 teams and was immediately rewarded with two of the most exciting postseasons in league history. College football continues to fight to triple the size of its playoff from four teams to 12, while even subtle changes like expanding from 64 to 68 teams has added a layer of excitement to March Madness.

Now, baseball is joining the party. The sport previously expanded its postseason from four teams to eight in 1995 and added two more teams in 2012.

They’re up to 12 teams as of 2022 – an even six per league. But there are a few interesting format changes as well. So, how do the MLB Playoffs work? We break down the changes and current MLB playoff picture.

Who’s in the MLB Playoffs?

The biggest change to the MLB playoff picture with six teams per league is there are now four distinct “rounds” of playoffs, with the top two teams in the American and National Leagues receiving automatic ‘byes’ to round two.

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Under the previous system, each league’s three division winners qualified while the two non-division champions with the best records played a one-game, winner-take-all contest to qualify for the playoffs and play a five-game series with the No. 1 seed.

Now with six teams in each league, each League sends three division champions and three wild-card teams to the playoffs, and the four rounds will be as follows:

Wild-Card Round:

The division champion with the worst record (#3 seed) plays the wild-card team with the worst record (#6 seed); while the top wild-card team (#4 seed) plays the second wild-card team (#5 seed). These are all best-of-three series. The top two division champions in each league receive byes.

The twist from the past system, however, is that they play the entire best-of-three series at the home fields of the #3 and #4 seeds. The bottom two teams receive no home games.

Divisional Playoffs:

The top two divisional champions play the wild-card round winners in best-of-five series under the following format:

  • The #1 seed plays the winner of the #4 vs. #5 matchup
  • The #2 seed plays the winner of the #3 vs. #6 matchup

These games revert to traditional home-field advantages, where the higher seed hosts games 1, 2, and 5 with the lower seed hosting games 3 and 4.

League Championship Series:

The old, familiar baseball playoffs. The two survivors in the American and National Leagues face off for a trip to the 2022 World Series.

Higher seeds host games 1, 2, 5, 7; lower seeds host game 3, 4, and 6.

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2022 World Series:

American League champion vs. National League champion, best-of-7 for the 2022 MLB title.

Since 2017, home-field advantage has belonged to the league champion with the better regular-season record.

American League Playoff Picture

So let’s put some names to all these numbers! As of September 20, the American League playoff picture would look like the following. Of course, this can (and probably will) change.

This year, there will be no tiebreaker games if teams finish with identical records. Head-to-head records during the regular season, and if necessary, other methods will be used to break any ties rather than a tie-breaking game.

PLAYOFF ROUNDTEAMS INVOLVED, HOME FIELD, ETC.START DATE
Wild-Card RoundNo. 6 Tampa Bay Rays at No. 3 Cleveland Guardians, No. 5 Seattle Mariners at No. 4 Toronto Blue Jays (Best-of-3 series; All games played in Cleveland/Toronto)October 7
Division SeriesWinner of Tampa Bay/Cleveland vs. No. 2 New York Yankees, Winner of Seattle/Toronto vs. No. 1 Houston Astros (Best-of-5 series; traditional home-field format)October 11
American League Championship SeriesWinners of two divisional series (Best-of-7 series; traditional home-field format)October 19

National League Playoff Picture

PLAYOFF ROUNDTEAMS INVOLVED, HOME FIELD, ETC.START DATE
Wild-Card RoundNo. 6 Philadelphia Phillies at No. 3 New York Mets, No. 5 San Diego Padres at No. 4 St. Louis Cardinals (Best-of-3 series; All games played in Atlanta/St. Louis)October 7
Division SeriesWinner of Philadelphia/NY Mets vs. No. 2 Atlanta Braves, Winner of San Diego/St. Louis vs. No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers (Best-of-5 series; traditional home-field format)October 11
American League Championship SeriesWinners of two divisional series (Best-of-7 series; traditional home-field format)October 18

2022 World Series

PLAYOFF ROUNDTEAMS INVOLVED, HOME FIELD, ETC.START DATE
World SeriesAmerican League Champions vs. National League Champions (Best-of-7 series; traditional home-field format. Team with best regular-season has home-field advantage)October 28. Game 7 would be played November 5.

MLB Odds for 2022 World Series

So, how do the MLB Playoffs work is out the way. Now, who’s best equipped to win this thing?

In the National League, there are essentially seven teams battling for six spots. But the American League is considerably more open, with 10 teams still holding a realistic chance at playoff qualification.

The Los Angeles Dodgers sit atop the National League and appear to be the team to beat, while a recent slump has knocked the New York Yankees from atop the American League in favor of the Houston Astros.

2022 World Series Odds

But everyone starts fresh in October! A look at the odds:

(All odds from FanDuel Sportsbook)

Championship Series, American League and World Series Odds

TEAMTO REACH LEAGUE CHAMP. SERIESTO WIN AMERICAN LEAGUETO WIN 2022 WORLD SERIES
Houston Astros-195+160+380
New York Yankees-170+210+550
Toronto Blue Jays+290+650+1600
Tampa Bay Rays+300+750+2000
Cleveland Guardians+370+1100+3000
Seattle Mariners+500+1100+3000

Championship Series, National League and World Series Odds

TEAMTO REACH LEAGUE CHAMP. SERIESTO WIN NATIONAL LEAGUETO WIN 2022 WORLD SERIES
Los Angeles Dodgers-210+140+300
Atlanta Braves-160+220+500
New York Mets+260+550+950
St. Louis Cardinals+240+800+1700
Philadelphia Phillies+500+1300+3000
San Diego Padres+550+1400+3000
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