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2018 World Series Odds: Offense + Defense = Championship

2018 World Series Odds: Offense + Defense = Championship

When looking to make a futures bet, it is very easy to get caught up in looking specifically at offensive stats over the course of the season. However, I put a lot of weight on the balance between strong hitting and sound pitching when considering who might be the last team standing at the end of the year. Here’s my take on a few teams poised to make a deep run in the playoffs as we near the midpoint of the season.

Houston Looks to Become First Back-to-Back Champion Since 2000

The AL West may be one of the toughest divisions in baseball this season, with only one team – the Texas Rangers – sporting a sub-.500 record. Yet, with stiff competition, the Houston Astros, who are +450 to win the 2018 World Series, find themselves coming off a 12-game winning streak and are statistically one of the best teams in MLB. Simply put, the Astros are pummeling teams, sporting the third-best win percentage in the league with a +161 run differential, 56 runs better than the next closest team, the New York Yankees.

The Astros are led by a well-balanced attack, leading the league in batting average (.267) and sitting second overall with a .777 OPS. Combine strong hitting with the league’s best ERA and you have a recipe for success. Houston is the only team in MLB with a sub-3.00 ERA at 2.86. In comparison, the defending champions had a 4.12 ERA last season, excluding the playoffs. The bats were already there, now with the pitching staff doing its thing, the Astros are ready to become the first back-to-back champions since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees had a three-peat.

It should be noted that the two oldest pitchers in the starting rotation, Justin Verlander (35) and Charlie Morton (34), are both having incredible years. Verlander is currently sporting a 1.60 ERA which is nearly a full run lower than the mark he posted when he won the 2011 AL Cy Young Award. Meanwhile, Morton has a 2.74 ERA; he has never finished a season with an ERA below 3.00. Recently, we have seen both pitchers fall off a little bit, as Verlander has surrendered nine of his 19 earned runs this season over his past four starts. Similarly, Morton has a 4.29 ERA over his four starts in the month of June. It will be interesting to see how these veterans fare come the dog days of summer, and whether Houston will need to make some moves at the deadline for added depth to make another long playoff run.

Could Boston be a Thorn in Houston’s side?

Much like the Astros, the Boston Red Sox have been thumping teams in a less than stellar AL East. The BoSox are third in the league with a +101 run differential and are third with a .653 win percentage. Third place seems to be a common theme with Boston in many statistical categories, but there are a couple of areas that could make the squad, which has odds of +600, worth laying some money on.

Let’s start with OPS. Boston, once again, is third in the league with a .773 OPS and leads MLB with a .805 OPS vs right-handed pitchers. This is important if the Red Sox collide with the Astros, as four of Houston’s five starters are righties. Not only does Boston rank near the top of the league in all offensive categories, but its speed on the basepaths may be the difference. The Red Sox are in a tie for third with 55 stolen bases this season, and getting runners in scoring position could put them over the edge in a tight playoff game.

The Cubs are the Team to Watch in the NL

At +950 to win the World Series, the Chicago Cubs have the fifth-best odds to lift the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the year. The Cubbies lead the NL with a +99 run differential and have scored the fifth-most runs in all of baseball. According to our MLB Defensive Stats, Chicago has allowed the second-fewest runs and second-fewest hits across the league. The one area of concern that stands out is that the Cubs are dead last in MLB for allowing walks, giving up 4.31 free passes per game. The offensive stats speak for themselves, with Chicago in the top five in most categories, but a deadline acquisition to shore up the rotation may be needed to put this team over the edge. That boost could also come from Yu Darvish, who is rehabbing from a triceps injury.

2018 World Series Odds
Team Odds
New York Yankees +400
Houston Astros +450
Boston Red Sox +600
Washington Nationals +700
Chicago Cubs +950
Milwaukee Brewers +1100
Seattle Mariners +1200
Los Angeles Dodgers +1500
Atlanta Braves +1600
Arizona Diamondbacks +1800
Cleveland Indians +2000
Philadelphia Phillies +3300
St. Louis Cardinals +3300
San Francisco Giants +3500
Colorado Rockies +3500
Los Angeles Angels +4000
Pittsburgh Pirates +10000
New York Mets +12500
Minnesota Twins +12500
Detroit Tigers +25000
San Diego Padres +40000
Oakland Athletics +70000
Tampa Bay Rays +80000
Toronto Blue Jays +90000
Texas Rangers +90000
Chicago White Sox +90000
Baltimore Orioles +90000
Kansas City Royals +90000
Cincinnati Reds +90000
Miami Marlins +90000

Odds as of June 21 at Bovada

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To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best and a team’s ability to do so should be a major consideration when making a World Series futures bet. While some teams luck out and get the opportunity to pad their records vs inferior divisional competition, others are grinding almost every day vs top contenders, which in my opinion better prepares them for the playoffs. With that in mind, here’s a few things to consider as clubs approach the midpoint of the season.

Yankees are World Series favorites and the best vs the best

The Yankees have an MLB-best record of 19-7 vs teams with winning records.

The Yankees entered the regular season with odds of +650 to win the World Series, which put them behind the Astros and Dodgers, but thanks to an elite start, they’ve leapfrogged those teams and are the World Series favorite at +500. The Bronx Bombers have stood out this season by laying the smack down on other good teams as they have a league-best record of 19-7 vs teams with winning records. Most notably, they’ve gone 8-2 vs the Indians and Astros.

As good as they’ve been, they only have a minuscule half-game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East. Luckily for us fans, we’ll get to see the teams go head-to-head 13 more times in games that could ultimately decide the division.  

Astros have some work to do

They’re certainly not a victim of a World Series hangover, but the Astros have been rather average vs teams they might be seeing come playoff time as they’ve gone 18-16 vs teams with winning records. This is highlighted by going 2-5 in two series vs the Yankees, with three of those losses coming at home where they were shut out twice.

While their results vs the World Series favorite Yankees are a concern, their playoff seed will most likely come down to how they fare within their division as they currently sit tied with the Mariners for first place and will clearly want to avoid playing in the wild-card game. They’re 4-2 vs Seattle so far, but the division could come down to the remaining 13 games they play against each other. There’s also the possibility that the Mariners cool off as they face some very stiff competition throughout the remainder of their schedule which includes 16 games vs the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers.

Don’t discount the Dodgers just yet

It was a disaster start for the team many considered to be the National League’s best and there’s still some red flags — most notably Clayton Kershaw’s second stint on the DL — but they’re still in the mix for a playoff spot and just 2.5 games out of first in the NL West.

They’ve had some truly atrocious results so far this season, the worst of which was a four-game sweep at home at the hands of the Reds, but they’ve done their best work vs the best teams as they’ve gone 21-13 vs teams with winning records. LA will have its hands full the rest of the way with series vs the Cubs, Astros and Braves on the horizon (along with lots of tough divisional matchups), but they have shown some major signs of life this month as the highest-scoring team in the league with an MLB-best .966 OPS since June 1.

Here’s a look at the complete World Series futures oddsboard: 

2018 World Series Odds
Team Odds
New York Yankees +500
Houston Astros +550
Boston Red Sox +600
Chicago Cubs +750
Washington Nationals +800
Los Angeles Dodgers +1000
Cleveland Indians +1400
Atlanta Braves +1600
Milwaukee Brewers +1600
Philadelphia Phillies +2000
Seattle Mariners +2200
San Francisco Giants +2500
Arizona Diamondbacks +2800
Colorado Rockies +3300
St. Louis Cardinals +3300
Los Angeles Angels +3300
New York Mets +7500
Minnesota Twins +7500
Pittsburgh Pirates +7500
Detroit Tigers +10000
Oakland Athletics +10000
Toronto Blue Jays +25000
Tampa Bay Rays +25000
Texas Rangers +55000
San Diego Padres +65000
Chicago White Sox +75000
Baltimore Orioles +75000
Kansas City Royals +75000
Cincinnati Reds +75000
Miami Marlins +75000

Odds as of June 11 at Bovada

Archived Articles

We’re only just over a month into the 2018 MLB season, but there’s been no shortage of odds movement when it comes to the World Series futures market.

Online sportsbook Bovada is holding the Houston Astros as steady +500 favorites, with the Boston Red Sox (+600), New York Yankees (+650), Arizona Diamondbacks (+1000), Chicago Cubs (+1000), Los Angeles Angels (+1200), Cleveland Indians (+1400), Los Angeles Dodgers (+1400), Washington Nationals (+1600) and Atlanta Braves (+1800) comprising the top 10 on the odds list.

As of May 9, the Red Sox and Yankees (25-10), Indians (17-18), Astros (23-15), Braves (20-14), Cardinals (20-14) and Diamondbacks (24-11) were leading their respective divisions.

In terms of odds movement since April 21, the Red Sox have shifted from +800 to +600, with the Yankees (+800 to +650) and Diamondbacks (+1600 to +1000) also seeing their chances improve. On the opposite side of the coin, the Mets (+800 to +2200), Dodgers (+800 to +1400) and Indians (+1100 to +1400) have dropped down the board.

Watch out for the … Braves?

The biggest jump goes to the surprising Braves, who were available at +10000 in late April but have since improved to +1800. It’s going to be a massive task for the Baby Braves to win the World Series, but their odds are only going to shrink from here on out if they can keep up their hot pace.

Looking for more baseball betting info? Head over to our MLB page for everything you need to know to put some cash in your pocket while wagering on the diamond this season. Here’s a look at Bovada’s full list of odds.

2018 World Series Odds
Team Odds
Houston Astros +500
Boston Red Sox +600
New York Yankees +650
Arizona Diamondbacks +1000
Chicago Cubs +1000
Los Angeles Angels +1200
Cleveland Indians +1400
Los Angeles Dodgers +1400
Washington Nationals +1600
Atlanta Braves +1800
New York Mets +2200
St. Louis Cardinals +2200
San Francisco Giants +2250
Milwaukee Brewers +2500
Toronto Blue Jays +2800
Colorado Rockies +3000
Philadelphia Phillies +3000
Minnesota Twins +4400
Pittsburgh Pirates +4400
Seattle Mariners +5000
Detroit Tigers +15000
Oakland Athletics +17500
Tampa Bay Rays +20000
Texas Rangers +25000
Chicago White Sox +50000
San Diego Padres +50000
Baltimore Orioles +75000
Kansas City Royals +75000
Cincinnati Reds +75000
Miami Marlins +75000

Odds as of May 9 at Bovada

Archived Articles

The Boston Red Sox are really good at baseball. That’s not exactly a bold statement, as the Red Sox have become just the seventh team during the live-ball era to open an MLB season 15-2 or better.

Now, you may think that teams keeping that illustrious company have gone on to become the most dominant squads in baseball in their respective seasons and coasted to a World Series. That has not been the case. In fact, only two of the previous six teams went on to win the World Series – and two of them ultimately failed to make the playoffs altogether.

MLB Teams To Open Season 15-2 Or Better
Team Record Through First 17 Final Record Season Results
1955 Brooklyn Dodgers 15-2 98-55 Won World Series
1966 Cleveland Indians 15-2 81-81 Missed Postseason
1981 Oakland Athletics 16-1 64-45 Lost In ALCS
1984 Detroit Tigers 16-1 104-58 Won World Series
1987 Milwaukee Brewers 16-1 91-71 Missed Postseason
2003 San Francisco Giants 15-2 100-61 Lost In NLDS
2018 Boston Red Sox 15-2

Obviously, it is hard to know what this Red Sox team will accomplish during the dog days of summer – but this Boston squad looks a lot more like the 1984 Detroit Tigers than the 1966 Cleveland Indians. As of April 19, the Red Sox are in the top five in the MLB in (take a deep breath because this is going to be a long list) runs, hits, doubles, RBIs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, ERA, quality starts, opponent batting average and WHIP.

That’s just the basic stats – the Red Sox top the charts in too many forms of more in-depth analytics for me to bother listing.  

Maybe even more impressive? The Red Sox have accomplished this absurdly good start despite Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Drew Pomeranz all finding themselves on the DL. 

It may be odd to some bettors, though, to see the Red Sox with the second-best odds to win the World Series (+800), behind the 12-4 Houston Astros and tied with three other teams, including the 8-8 New York Yankees. You can accept being behind the Astros – they are the reigning champions and have still won 12 of their first 16 games – but Red Sox fans are certainly not happy about being positioned next to the Yankees.

Some people are going to point out that the Red Sox have not exactly faced the stiffest competition, already having played two series against the Tampa Bay Rays along with sets vs the Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins. However, if you have any doubt, look at what the Red Sox have accomplished against the Los Angeles Angels.

Can the Red Sox continue their torrid pace? No. You would be completely naive to think they could. But Boston already has a two-game lead over the rest of baseball, a three-game lead in the AL East and a lineup that simply doesn’t have any holes.

But hey, I’m sure we people were saying that about the ’66 Indians too.

2018 World Series Odds
Team Odds
Houston Astros +500
New York Yankees +800
Boston Red Sox +800
Los Angeles Dodgers +800
New York Mets +800
Chicago Cubs +900
Cleveland Indians +1100
Washington Nationals +1100
Los Angeles Angels +1100
Arizona Diamondbacks +1600
Minnesota Twins +2000
St. Louis Cardinals +2000
Toronto Blue Jays +2800
Colorado Rockies +2800
Milwaukee Brewers +4000
San Francisco Giants +4500
Seattle Mariners +5000
Pittsburgh Pirates +6000
Philadelphia Phillies +7000
Atlanta Braves +10000
Chicago White Sox +20000
Baltimore Orioles +25000
Tampa Bay Rays +27500
Texas Rangers +27500
Oakland Athletics +27500
Kansas City Royals +50000
San Diego Padres +50000
Cincinnati Reds +50000
Detroit Tigers +50000
Miami Marlins +50000

Odds as of April 19 at Bovada

Archived Articles

It seemed like just yesterday that I was sitting on my couch watching the Astros put up five runs in the first two innings of Game 7 in the World Series, paving the way to their first World Series win in franchise history. Houston opened at +1400 in 2017 and with the 2018 season upon us, the Astros will look to become the first team to win back-to-back championships since 1999-2000 and oddsmakers like their chances at doing so as they sit at the top of the World Series futures oddsboard.

With odds of +425 to win the World Series, everything points to the Astros being better than they were last season, which is rare for a defending champion. They didn’t lose any key pieces while adding Gerrit Cole to an already strong rotation. The lineup is still relatively young and includes a few MVP candidates who are in their primes and it’s incredibly helpful to be in a division that lacks a serious secondary contender.

Repeating in baseball isn’t easy. Just ask the Cubs, who ran out of steam vs the Dodgers in the NLCS, but the Astros clearly have all the talent and experience to win the whole damn thing in 2018. 

Best World Series Sleeper Bets

Yes, the Astros are my pick to win the 2018 World Series, but they don’t offer much value at +425. It’s a hard bet to make with the uncertainty of a 162-game regular season and playoffs that tend to be a crapshoot. With that said, here’s a few teams further down the board that I think could be in the mix in October.

Minnesota Twins +3000

Coming off a 2017 where they earned a wild-card berth, there’s a lot to like about the Twins in 2018. They didn’t lose much in the offseason and they added some nice pieces to create a very well-rounded roster. They still lack that No. 1 starter type but the Royals proved in 2015 that that isn’t necessary to go all the way.

Colorado Rockies +4000

The Rox cooled off down the stretch last season, but still made the playoffs and, like the Twins, made some additions to improve in the offseason. They should challenge the Astros and Yankees for the best offense in baseball and could very well be in the market for some difference-making talent at the trade deadline.

Philadelphia Phillies +7500

If you’re looking to drop a few bucks on an extreme long shot, look no further than the Phillies. After five straight embarrassing seasons, winning is now a priority in the City of Brotherly Love with the signings of Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana. Pairing those two with some young talent finally has the rebuild on track and with a few breaks they could find themselves in the postseason.

Here’s every team’s odds to win the 2018 World Series and don’t forget to check out our 2018 MLB betting preview:

2018 World Series Odds
Team Odds
Houston Astros +425
Los Angeles Dodgers +500
New York Yankees +650
Cleveland Indians +750
Chicago Cubs +750
Washington Nationals +900
Boston Red Sox +1200
St. Louis Cardinals +2000
San Francisco Giants +2500
Los Angeles Angels +2500
New York Mets +2500
Arizona Diamondbacks +3000
Milwaukee Brewers +3000
Minnesota Twins +3000
Toronto Blue Jays +3000
Colorado Rockies +4000
Seattle Mariners +5000
Philadelphia Phillies +7500
Pittsburgh Pirates +15000
Baltimore Orioles +15000
Atlanta Braves +17500
Tampa Bay Rays +20000
Texas Rangers +20000
Chicago White Sox +20000
Oakland Athletics +20000
San Diego Padres +20000
Cincinnati Reds +25000
Kansas City Royals +50000
Detroit Tigers +50000
Miami Marlins +50000

Odds as of March 28 at Bovada

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