Could the Blue Jays be a Great Value Bet to win the World Series?

Baseball Sep 01, 2020

At 51-1 odds, and a good chance for a playoff spot, Toronto may be worth a look

Unlike the National League, where every team, save the Pittsburgh Pirates, has a legitimate chance at making the playoffs, the American League is a bit more bifurcated.

Five teams – Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and the LA Angles – are effectively eliminated. Additionally, upstart Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles, two teams expected to be doormats in 2020, are the only two teams with a chance – realistically speaking – to crack the top eight. Entering play on Monday, August 31st, the second wild card team (Toronto Blue Jays) held a two-game lead over the Tigers.

Four weeks before the end of the regular season, the New York Yankees are still listed as the favourite from the American League at 5.5:1.

It’s not that the Yankees aren’t supremely talented. In fact, even with the loss of Luis Severino to Tommy John surgery, it was the American League team without a weakness – a long and deep lineup, a rotation that added Gerrit Cole, a bullpen full of relievers – at the start of the season. The flaw with the Bronx Bombers is the same flaw as last year: they can’t stay healthy. That’s not to say that Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton, and other key pieces won’t return healthy in time for the playoffs, but with so much uncertainty surrounding their roster, they represent terrible value.

Six of the other teams (Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland A’s, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, and Cleveland Indians) that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today are listed no longer than the White Sox at 19:1.

The only playoff team that the oddsmakers consider a legitimate longshot is the Toronto Blue Jays at 51:1. Given that the only two teams within five games of the final playoff spot are the not well regarded Orioles and Tigers – both listed at 201:1 – the Blue Jays appear to have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. In fact, Fan Graphs currently puts their postseason chances at 75.8%.

Given the crapshoot of this year’s playoff format, which in no way benefits the best teams, a very young but talented lineup that may return Bo Bichette by mid-September and an injury-riddled rotation that just added Taijuan Walker from Seattle to compliment ace Hyun Jin Ryu, they are worth a flyer at this stage.

As for the other six, the pitching of the Cleveland Indians (2nd best ERA in the majors at 2.85) makes them a worthy wager at 17:1.

-- written by Hot Rodz


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