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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:52 AM

NL Wild Card Cheat Sheet

The 60-game Major League Baseball season flew by and what remains are 16 teams playing for the World Series. This year's postseason is unique from several standpoints as the most teams ever will participate for the crown, while the final three rounds will be played at neutral sites.

The opening round involves a best-of-three series with the higher seed as the host. The three division champions in each league are the top three seeds, while the next three seeds are the second-place finishers from each division.

The final two teams to qualify for the playoffs in each league are the Wild Card teams, as Milwaukee is the only returning Wild Card squad from 2019, although the Brewers owned a losing record this season.

National League

#1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. #8 Milwaukee Brewers

  • LAD: 43-17 SU, 21-9 Home, 27-26-7 O/U
  • MIL: 29-31 SU, 14-16 Road, 25-30-5 O/U

Series Price

  • Los Angeles -340
  • Milwaukee +280

Series Schedule

  • Game 1 - Wednesday, Sept. 30 - 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 2 - Thursday, Oct. 1 - TBD
  • Game 3 - Friday, Oct. 2 - (If Necessary)

Is this the season the Dodgers finally break through and win the franchise's first World Series title since 1988? Los Angeles wrapped up its eighth straight NL West title, while looking for its third World Series appearance in the last four years. The Dodgers finished with the most runs in baseball this season (349) and the lowest ERA (3.02), while their .717 winning percentage (granted shortened season) was higher than the 2001 Mariners' squad that finished with the most wins ever (116).

The Brewers lost their season finale to the Cardinals, but thanks to the Giants and Phillies also losing on Sunday, Milwaukee is back in the postseason for the third straight season. In 2018, the Brewers hooked up with the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series and ultimately fell to Los Angeles in seven games.

Milwaukee went 11-12 on the road against playoff clubs this season, while Los Angeles played only nine home games against postseason teams, going 5-4.

#2 Atlanta Braves vs. #7 Cincinnati Reds

  • ATL: 35-25 SU, 19-11 Home, 32-23-5 O/U
  • CIN: 31-29 SU, 15-15 Road, 26-32-2 O/U

Series Price

  • Atlanta -140
  • Cincinnati +120

Series Schedule

  • Game 1 - Wednesday, Sept. 30 - 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 2 - Thursday, Oct. 1 - 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 3 - Friday, Oct. 2 - (If Necessary)

The Braves wrapped up their third consecutive NL East crown, but Atlanta failed to escape the Divisional Round in 2018 and 2019. It will be another tough go as Atlanta battles Cincinnati, while the Braves try to win their first playoff series since 2001.

Cincinnati showcases its strong three-headed monster atop its pitching rotation with Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo, and Sonny Gray. Bauer finished 5-4 on the season, but compiled a 1.73 ERA, which ranked tops in the National League. The Reds went 10-12 on the road against playoff teams in 2020, but closed the season going 6-1 in their final series openers.

Atlanta actually performed better at home against playoff teams (10-4) than non-playoff squads (9-7), as the Braves went a perfect 4-0 at home against the Rays and Yankees.

#3 Chicago Cubs vs. #6 Miami Marlins

  • CHC: 34-26 SU, 17-13 Home, 29-30-1 O/U
  • MIA: 31-29 SU, 16-14 Road, 32-27-1 O/U

Series Price

  • Chicago -240
  • Miami +200

Series Schedule

  • Game 1 - Wednesday, Sept. 30 - 2 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Game 2 - Thursday, Oct. 1 - 2 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Game 3 - Friday, Oct. 2 - (If Necessary)

The Marlins seemed like they had no shot at the playoffs prior to the season, while COVID-19 related issues sidelined Miami the first week. However, the Fish started at 7-1 and remained in playoff contention for the entire 60-game campaign for their first postseason appearance since 2003, when they captured their second World Series title.

On the way to that championship, the Marlins rallied past the Cubs in seven games of the National League Championship Series. Chicago looks for its long-term revenge after 17 years as the Cubs are back in the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. Yu Darvish is in the running for the NL Cy Young award as the Cubs' right-hander was tied for the league lead in victories with eight and finished second in the NL in ERA.

Miami held its own against playoff teams on the road this season at 7-8, capped off by a series victory over the Yankees this past weekend in the Bronx. The Cubs played 43 of its 60 games against playoff squads this season and racked up a 24-19 mark.

#4 San Diego Padres vs. #5 St. Louis Cardinals

  • SD: 37-23 SU, 17-13 Road, 28-30-2 O/U
  • STL: 30-28 SU, 15-13 Away, 24-29-5 O/U

Series Price

  • San Diego -240
  • St. Louis +200

Series Schedule

  • Game 1 - Wednesday, Sept. 30 - 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • Game 2 - Thursday, Oct. 1 - TBD
  • Game 3 - Friday, Oct. 2 - (If Necessary)

In spite of being listed as the fourth seed, the Padres posted the second-best record in the National League this season. San Diego started this shortened season at 11-13, but caught fire and pulled off a remarkable 26-13 mark the rest of the way, including a 13-6 record at Petco Park.

The Cardinals were forced to miss nearly three weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak early in the season, but found a way to make up nearly all of their postponed games for the exception of two. St. Louis took care of business on Sunday by beating Milwaukee to finish in second place of the NL Central and avoid playing an extra game or two at Detroit if necessary.

The Redbirds alternated wins and losses down the stretch in their final nine games, while going 20-21 against playoff teams. The Padres are making their first postseason appearance since 2006, when they also faced the Cardinals that season and ended up losing to St. Louis in four games of the NLDS.

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