Q: The Giants and Athletics are down 2-0 in their respective series. Is it worth it to take them to win at longshot odds? What’s the history of best-of-5s and a team coming back from a 2-0 deficit?
—Kyle, from somewhere.
BTB: Good question. Let’s start here: The Giants are currently being offered at 10-to-1 odds (vs. Cincinnati) and the Athletics are 6-to-1 (vs. Detroit) to come back from 2-0 deficits. Keep in mind that San Francisco’s next three games will be played on the road, whereas Oakland will return home for the remainder of the series.
As you might expect, Cincinnati and Detroit are heavy favorites to advance because history is on their side. Since the Division Series began in 1995, there have been 42 teams that have taken a 2-0 advantage. Of those teams, 38 of them advanced—that’s 90.4 percent—and not one has blown a 2-0 lead since 2003.
More specifically, an NL team has never come back from a 2-0 deficit (0-21 all time).
In the case of the Giants, the odds are fair but hardly in their favor. Besides, you’ll likely earn more return on investment if you were to simply bet them on the moneyline in each of the next three games. (You’d earn roughly 11.5-1 by our estimations.)
We don’t see any value in taking the Athletics at 6-to-1, a number that’s overinflated because of their homefield advantage.
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