How Have Overperforming MLB Teams Fared in Playoffs?

How Have Overperforming MLB Teams Fared in Playoffs?

The Cincinnati Reds have taken Major League Baseball by storm over the past month.

The game’s oldest ballclub has won 23 of its last 31 games, a streak that coincided with the callup of rookie sensation Elly De La Cruz. Cincinnati enters the All-Star Break with a 50-41 record, good enough for first place in the National League Central by a game over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Throughout the span, the Reds have gone from postseason longshots to favorites to win their division, much to the delight of Ohio sportsbooks. It’s a far cry from the expectations placed upon manager David Bell’s team before the season began.

Last year, critical injuries and a roster teardown led to the Reds posting just their second 100-loss season in the franchise’s history. Against that backdrop, oddsmakers expected the team to flirt again with triple-digit losses.

Oddsmakers initially set the Reds projected wins at 65.5. Now, though, the Reds are on target to claim a playoff spot and win 90 games. With that in mind, – your source for Ohio sportsbook promos - decided to look back at every team with a projected win total under .500 to reach the playoffs since the MLB expanded to two wild cards in 2012* and how they fared.

Overperforming MLB Teams That Make Playoffs

We utilized records from and preseason win totals from, and here’s what we found. 

Year TeamProjected Wins Final Record Playoff Result
2012 Baltimore Orioles 69 93-69  Lost in ALDS
2012 Oakland A's 72 94-68 Lost in ALDS
2017 Minnesota Twins 74.5 85-77 Lost AL Wild Card Game
2018 Atlanta Braves 75 90-72 Lost in NLDS
2015 Texas Rangers 75.5 88-74 Lost in ALDS
2018 Oakland A's75.597-65 Lost in AL Wild Card Game
2021SF Giants 75.5 107-55Lost in NLDS
2015  Houston Astros 76.5 86-76 Lost in ALDS
2013 Pittsburgh Pirates77 94-68 Lost in NLDS
2013 Cleveland Indians 77.5 92-70 Lost AL Wild Card Game
2017 Arizona Diamondbacks 77.5 93-69 Lost in NLDS
2016Baltimore Orioles 79.5 89-73 Lost in A Wild Card Game
2015KC Royals80.595-67 Won World Series
2017 Colorado Rockies 80.5 87-75Lost NL Wild Card Game
2021  Boston Red Sox 80.5 92-70 Lost in ALCS
Totals 5 Lost in Wild Card Game; 8 Lost in Divisional Series; 1 Lost in Championship Series; 1 Won World Series

 (*-2020 season excluded due to the COVID shortened season and expanded playoff format.)

Odds Against a Red October

As you can see, only one time in 15 tries did an overachiever even reach the World Series, and that was the Kansas City Royals, who won it all in 2015.

Whether Cincinnati even reaches the playoffs remains to be seen, but Ohio betting apps definitely have paid attention to the Reds run.

The Reds started the season with odds of +6600 at BetMGM to win their division. By May 1, when they had a 12-16 record, the odds were +10000. A month later, as they began turning things around, the Reds’ odds at BetMGM were +2500. At the start of this month, they were +200 – the second choice behind the Brewers (+125).

Heading into the All-Star Break, the Reds are +125 to win the division at BetMGM, still second behind Milwaukee’s -105. Even if the Brewers or another NL Central team clips them for the division title, there’s still a chance they could earn one of the three available Wild Card berths.

However, the Reds’ odds still remain long to win the NL pennant (+3000) and World Series (+5000).

Many Reds fans have put their money behind their team, thanks to Ohio sports betting launching earlier this year. As of last week, BetMGM reported that 44.6% of the NL Central bets and 39.8% of the handle were on the Reds, easily making them the book’s biggest liability in the market.

You can sign up with a BetMGM Ohio promo code today and receive a first bet offer of up to $1,000.



Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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