This has been a season unlike any other. Now that we have passed the adjusted trade deadline, we have a good idea of who the real contenders are for World Series odds.
Throwing a wrench into things is the expanded playoff format the MLB is using this season. You’d think adding a few more teams to the party wouldn’t make that big a deal. However, baseball is the ultimate game of “on any given day.” Just look at the pitchers who have pitched no-hitters. It’s not like all of those guys are in the Hall of Fame.
This article is a look at current World Series odds for the teams likely to the be in field. Let’s see if we can find some value plays here. For the purpose of this piece, I am going to be comparing World Series futures from August 24 to today so we can see how player movement and some team performance have moved the needle.
The bets I would make are at the bottom…so please read through.
World Series Odds
Los Angeles Dodgers – +350 (Aug 24) / +350 (now)
No change in World Series odds for the favorite to win it all. They have come so close in recent seasons, most notably against Houston in the World Series. They were not very active at the deadline and seem to have a lock on their division, again. Those odds are actually pretty good value as winning the NL still looks pretty easy for this group.
New York Yankees – +450 / +460
Seeing a very small increase here. A healthy Yankees team is a force to be reckoned with but they are anything but these days and they also didn’t reinforce at the deadline. It does not look like they will slide out of the playoffs but this is too much to pay for a team in a funk right now. Even if they can get healthy I am not buying. Their pitching other than Gerrit Cole is suspect.
Tampa Bay Rays – +850 / +750
It is no surprise that we have seen movement with Tampa. It’s not that the team has gotten better personnel-wise but they are playing great and got a major “acquisition” with the return to health of Charlie Morton. They can stack up an imposing 1,2,3 with the rotation and their bullpen is solid. The question remains a lineup devoid of stars. This is great value though.
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Oakland A’s – +850 / +850
The A’s are good but they also have the stigma of a team that has failed in the playoffs regularly. Is this the team to breakthrough? I am not sure but I am sure they can play better than what we have seen so far this season, especially at the plate. Their biggest challenge might be that their best arm is their least experienced one. Good payoff but I am not hot on Oakland.
Atlanta Braves – +1100 / +1400
There are four teams currently at +1400. The Braves look like they have the best chance to win their division among that group but I think those other teams have higher ceilings. Atlanta needs to get healthy which means the return of Ozzie Albies at some point this month. They are also hopeful that Cole Hamels becomes a useful piece. I am not sold on that. Don’t take this bet.
Minnesota Twins – +1100 / +1400
The Twins are in a dogfight with Chicago and Cleveland, and it should be a lot of fun for all of us. They just got a couple of key pieces back in Josh Donaldson and Byron Buxton. Even though their path to a division championship is not as easy as Atlanta’s this team is better than the Braves and has more pitching depth certainly. They just have to hope they do not face the Yankees. You could sprinkle a little here and hope they mash their way forward.
Chicago Cubs – +1400 / +1400
The Cubs are the leaders in the NL Central. The interesting thing about this team is that they are probably not as good as recent iterations, save that Yu Darvish has looked really good this season. They have enough offense and Darvish could be an ace to start a series and dominate. They could also lose a series in a sweep. That is so Cubs right. I don’t like the value for the low floor.
Chicago White Sox – +1500 / +1400
The White Sox are super exciting right now. Their lineup is loaded with power and I love the mix of young and old they have. The same goes for the rotation now that they have a Dallas Keuchel to match with Lucas Giolito and others. The question for the Sox is whether it is too much too soon? They seem like a lock for the playoffs though and might even win the division. A lot to like but bet it soon or else the price might drop even more.
San Diego Padres – +2000 / +1600
The unanimous winner of the trade deadline and the most exciting team in baseball. Making the playoffs seems like a lock at this point. However, even though those odds are dropping, an NL West title does not seem possible. Similar to Chicago above things are progressing quickly for the Padres. Those pesky Dodgers are still in the way and their pitching is limited. I see the emotional appeal here but don’t really like the bet.
Houston Astros – +1400 / +1600
If you are going to make this bet you are wagering that Justin Verlander comes back and is the pitcher we want him to be. The lineup is really good and will get better when Alex Bregman but the starting group right now has a lot of inexperience beyond Zach Greinke. This one has great value if you have good insight on Verlander or are just looking for a bit of a lottery ticket play. Much better than Oakland at half the payoff.
Cleveland Indians – +1500 / +2000
This might be the best bet to make right now. Cleveland has the best pitching in the Majors and their offense has to get better right? It would have been nice to see some splashy additions for the Indians but their path to the playoffs and probably the division seems pretty solid. Compared to the Twins and the White Sox they are the much greater value. I would hit this one right now.
St. Louis Cardinals – +3300 / +3300
The Cardinals are never bad but this is not a very interesting team. Jack Flaherty has proven to be of ace quality which makes them intriguing for a short series but I am not a fan of their lineup. The guys they were hoping would develop into the next stars are just better than average. They look solid for the playoffs but not a run.
Toronto Blue Jays – +6600 / +3300
I have to admit I am sentimental about this one…I love my hometown Buffalo Blue Jays, haha. They are over .500 and looking like they are going to be in the playoffs. Also, I think they have solid sleeper status thanks for recent upgrades to the pitching staff. I know Robbie Ray is not Steve Carlton but the lefty has talent and could dominate for a game or two, then who knows. The lineup is young but has promise for World Series futures.
Bets to Consider (Best Value):
Dodgers, Astros, Indians, Blue Jays
Bets to Avoid (Prove me wrong):
Yankees, Braves, Cardinals