2022 MLB Playoffs: New Playoff Format Explained

Good news for baseball fans: More teams are in the MLB playoffs now.

This year because of a new MLB playoff format, 12 teams have a shot to make it to the World Series, including six from each league — the three division winners, plus three Wild Card teams. 

During recent years, 10 teams had a shot, five from each league.

In addition to adding more excitement, the new format presents additional opportunities for those interested in MLB betting.


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How do MLB playoffs work in 2022?

Gone is the Wild Card game, basically a one-game playoff, that had been around since 2012. That one-game showdown is being replaced by a best-of-three Wild Card series.

Here is how the new major league baseball playoff seeding works in each league:

No. 1 seed: Best league record

No. 2 seed: Second-best division winner

No. 3 seed: Division winner with the third-best record

No. 4 seed: Wild Card team with the best record

No. 5 seed: Wild Card team with the second-best record

No. 6 seed: Wild Card team with the third-best record

In the Wild Card round, the No. 3 seed, which is the division winner with the worst record, will face the No. 6 seed in each league, and the No. 4 seed will face the No. 5 seed. The three-game Wild Card series begins Oct. 7.

The top two seeds in each league receive first-round byes and advance to the division series. The division series begins Oct. 11 in each league.

The league championship series starts Oct. 18, with the winner from each league advancing to the World Series.

The World Series begins Oct. 28 with Game 1 going to the team with home-field advantage (the one with the best regular season record) and runs through Nov. 5, if all seven games are needed.


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How The MLB Playoffs Teams Match Up

The American League’s Houston Astros and National League’s Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites to square off in the World Series.

But things could change before then, especially with 12 teams in the playoffs this year.

Here are the final regular season records and how the playoffs shape up.

American League Division Leaders:

Houston Astros (106-56)

New York Yankees (99-63)

Cleveland Guardians (92-70)

AL Wild Card:

Toronto Blue Jays (92-70)

Seattle Mariners (90-72)

Tampa Bay Rays (86-76)

National League Division Leaders:

Los Angeles Dodgers (111-51)

Atlanta Braves (101-61)

St. Louis Cardinals (93-69)

NL Wild Card:

New York Mets (101-61)

San Diego Padres (89-73)

Philadelphia Phillies (87-75)

The Major League Baseball playoffs are set. The Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Cleveland Guardians, L.A. Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals are the division winners.

The New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies are the three Wild Card teams from the National League, and the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners are the Wild Card teams from the American League.

The Wild Card round, a best-of-three series, starts Friday.

  • Rays at Guardians, 12:07 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Phillies at Cardinals, 2:07 p.m. ET, ABC
  • Mariners at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Padres at Mets, 8:07 p.m. ET, ESPN

The winners of the MLB Wild Card series format will play the division winners in the Division Series. That is a best-of-five series, with the top two division winners in each league being the higher seed in a 2-2-1 new format.

The two winners from the National League will move on to the National League Championship Series and the AL winners go to the American League Championship Series. Those winners move on to the World Series and the home-field advantage goes to the team with the best record.


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Odds To Win The World Series

Below are the odds to win the World Series, as provided by FanDuel Sportsbook:

  • Los Angeles Dodgers +300
  • Houston Astros +380
  • Atlanta Braves +500
  • New York Yankees +550
  • New York Mets +950
  • Toronto Blue Jays +1600
  • St. Louis Cardinals +1700
  • Tampa Bay Rays +2000
  • Cleveland Guardians +3000
  • San Diego Padres +3000
  • Seattle Mariners +3000
  • Philadelphia Phillies +3000




How does the MLB wild card work?Up Arrow

There are three divisions in the National League and American League. The winners of those three divisions will be seeded 1-3 from the best record among them to the worst record. The next three teams are wild cards and will be seeded 4-6 from best record among them to worst.

How Many Games are there in a Wild Card Series?Up Arrow

This year in the MLB playoffs, there will be a Wild Card round that is a three-game series in both leagues and will be played at the home park of the higher seed. That replaces the old format of singular Wild Card game.

How many wild card teams in MLB/ how many teams make the MLB playoffs?Up Arrow

Starting with the 2022 MLB playoff format bracket, there will be six wild card teams. A total of 12 teams in Major League baseball make the playoffs, six division winners and six non-division winners with the best records, called Wild Cards.

How many MLB teams make the playoffs?Up Arrow

There will be 12 teams in the playoffs, six from the American League and six from the National League. This is a major expansion for Major League Baseball. Until 2012, teams had to win their division to make the playoffs.

Is the Wild Card Game still around?Up Arrow

No, the singular Wild Card game has been replaced by two best-of-three Wild Card series in the new postseason format for the 2022 season. The original Wild Card game was started in 2012 and it was played until the 2021 MLB playoffs.

How does the new playoff format in 2022 work?Up Arrow

The two division winners with the best records get a bye to the division series. The next four teams go to the WCS. WCS winners play the two teams on a bye in the division series. Those winners go to the Championship Series, those winners reach the best-of-seven World Series, and the team with the best record has home-field advantage.

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