The usual suspects are back atop the futures board.
The odds to win the 2021 World Series have bounced all over the place during the first two months of the regular season. Some early surprises shook up the futures and even gave some of the most popular public picks some added value for those brave enough to "buy low."
But now, the powerhouse teams with the most talent (and biggest payrolls) are playing good baseball again and accordingly, the futures odds have settled. There are relatively few surprises as to which teams are expected to have the best chance to win Major League Baseball's championship next fall.
Start with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which predictably are the favourites priced at +320. So, the defending world champions are 3.2 to 1 to repeat.
The New York Yankees lead the American league as betting favourites – again, another non-surpirse. Like the Dodgers, the Yanks got off to a slow start this season. But they're back into the groove and playing up to everyone's expectations. Right now, you can get the Bronx Bombers at +575 to win it all.
The next three favourites were also forecasted before the season began to be exactly where they are right now. It's no surprise to see the San Diego Padres at +675, the New York Mets at +775 (who look very overrated at this number), and the Chicago White Sox at +850.
The very best values look to be in the next group of teams – which are all capable of winning the World Series if things break right. They shouldn't be double or triple the odds to win the fall classic of those teams that tend to attract more attention (Dodgers, Yankees, Mets).
For my money, give me any of the teams in the 12-1 to 22-1 range. This group includes – Houston Astros (+1200), Boston Red Sox (+1700), Oakland A's (+2000), and Tampa Bay Rays (+2200). Each of those teams is in first- or second-place in their respective divisions (by contrast, the Dodgers are in second place and the Yankees are in third place). You tell me if the Dodgers are really 7 times more likely to win the World Series than the Tampa Bay Rays. I think not.
Among the longshots, look at the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians as darkhorses with lots of value. St. Louis, priced at 30-1, has a long history of competing when not so much is expected of them. The Cardinals are in first-place and may have the easiest trek to the series if they're in contention come September. Meanwhile, the Indians have been a surprise at 6 games over .500 in the AL Central. Yeah, they probably won't last, but this team at 40-1 odds could sneak in as a Wild Card and then get hot in the playoffs. There's clearly value on these two teams.
As for crazy longshots, how about the Washington Nationals priced at +9000? After you stop laughing, remember back to 2019 (the last full season of Major League Baseball) when this team was 42-41 at the end of June and seemed to be going nowhere. Washington ended up making the playoffs as a Wild Card, winning the National League pennant, and then upsetting the Astros in the World Series.
Crazy things have happened before, and could happen again.
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