MLB: Breaking Down the National League Wild Card Playoff Round

MLB Sports News


  • The National League Wild Card playoffs start Tuesday with the Diamondbacks at Brewers and Marlins at Phillies.
  • It’s a best two-out-of-three series for teams in the Wild Card round. The Higher seed hosts all three games.
  • The Dodgers and Braves each received a bye to the NL Divisional Series and await the winners.

October means playoff baseball is here.

The chase for the last National League playoff spot came down to the final weekend, but the Diamondbacks and Marlins were able to sneak in past the Cubs, Reds and Padres.

Major League Baseball expanded the playoffs ago adding a full Wild Card Round in 2022, then the Divisional Series, then Championship Series and then the World Series. American sportsbooks will offer markets on each game, and each round, plus World Series MVP when that starts.

Here’s a look at the National League Wild Card round, it’s a best two out of three to advance.

Diamondback (84-78) at Brewers (92-70)

DraftKings has the Brewers as the favorite in this series at -170, with the Snakes at +145.

Milwaukee is the third seed, and champion of the NL Central, which they seemed to clinch weeks ago. This is the Brew Crew’s fifth time in the playoffs in the last six years, but they haven’t won a round since 2018, and have never won the World Series. Devin Williams has been lights out as the closer with 36 saves and a microscopic 1.53 ERA.

The sixth-seeded Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2017. They got a big boost at the plate from Corbin Carroll who batted .285 with 25 homers and Ketel Marte. The D-Backs have a pair of quality starters in Zach Gallen and Merrill Kelly.

Before casting your lot with the Brewers, remember, in the regular season, Arizona won four of the six meetings.

Marlins (84-77) at Phillies (90-72)

The Phillies went from the sixth seed all the way to the World Series last year before losing to Houston. This year they are starting in the four spot. DraftKings Sportsbook likes them to win the wild card round at -185.

Philadelphia still has star Bryce Harper, who missed a big chunk of the season with a torn UCL in his throwing arm, but finished with 21 homers. Nick Castellanos led the Phils with 106 RBI and the Phillies have three good starting pitchers in Zach Wheeler, Taijuan Walker and Aaron Nola.

If you’re wondering about the Marlins, you aren’t the only one. Miami was 67-67 entering September, but closed on a 17-9 to make the playoffs for the first time in a full season (2020 doesn’t count) since they won the World Series back in 2003. The bullpen is good, and second baseman Luis Arraez led the league with a .354 average. Florida won the season series 7-6.

Waiting on Deck

It’s rest and recover time for the top-seeded Atlanta Braves (+310 to win World Series) and second-seeded LA Dodgers (+450). Atlanta was the best team in baseball, winning 104 games led by the amazing Ronald Acuna Jr. who is the first member of the 40-70 club, with 41 homers and 74 stolen bases during the regular season.

LA quietly won 100 games – overshadowed by the Braves -- but they’re still loaded. Freddie Freeman had a ridiculous 59 doubles in the regular season, and Mookie Betts and Max Muncy each went over 100 RBI, but there are concerns about star pitcher Clayton Kershaw who has been dealing with shoulder problems.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.