The Twins have overcome plenty of obstacles on their way to winning 85 games and securing a spot in the MLB postseason. It’s been a great story all year long. You could even consider them baseball’s version of Cinderella in this 10-team tournament for the 2017 World Series trophy.
Sports books don’t see them as a good bet.
In fact, several online publications are counting the Twins as the least likely team to win the whole thing. Vegas Insider, for example, has the Twins and Rockies tied at 25:1 odds to win it all this year, worst of the 10 teams that qualified for the postseason. It’s unsurprising to see Wild Card teams have the lowest odds, of course. They have to win one more game. And in a sport in which outcomes are really hard to predict on a game-by-game basis, that Wild Card round could amount to a coin flip, dramatically reducing odds of getting through the tournament .
The Diamondbacks are the next-longest shot, at 18:1, per Vegas Insider. The Yankees, amazingly, are marked 8:1 — just as likely as the Red Sox and Nationals — despite having to play their way into the Division Series. The Cleveland Indians currently are seen as the favorites to be World Series Champs. Followed by the Dodgers, Astros and Cubs.
The Yankees are favored against the visiting Twins, of course, but to have that good of odds despite needing to win one game to keep their season alive surprised me a little.
The stats site launched by Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight.com, gives the Twins a 37% chance to beat the Yankees on Tuesday. That factors in things like home rest vs. road travel, the starting pitchers (Ervin Santana versus Luis Severino), and the relative strength of each team. A 37% chance doesn’t sound that great if you’re a Twins fan. If those odds proved to be spot on, though, and the two teams played that series over 162 games, the Twins would basically be the equivalent of a 60-win team (60-102).
In other words, the 2017 Resilient Twins would be reduced to the 2016 Total System Failure Twins. That’s discouraging for Twins fans on one hand. But on the other, that bad baseball team still won 59 games!
It’s a one-game, win-or-go-home scenario. And it’s baseball. Anything can happen.