Mariners rise, White Sox tumble on odds to win World Series

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The Chicago White Sox continue their decline on the baseball futures after picking up just six wins in their past 21 games, a stretch that has knocked them from top spot in the AL Central standings and dropped them to +2000 on the odds to win the World Series at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The White Sox looked to be the surprise story of the young season, charging out of the gate to an American League-best 23-10 start and vaulting up the World Series odds from a middling +3300 on Opening Day, joining the favorites with strong +1100 odds in early May.

Chicago takes their first two-game win streak in two weeks into Detroit, where they kick off a three-game weekend set on Friday night at Comerica Park, but must return home next week for two series against division leaders, Washington and Kansas City.

While the White Sox have plummeted at the sportsbooks the Seattle Mariners continue their steady climb, riding a 9-5 run into a battle for first in the AL West standings and +1600 odds to win the World Series.

Winners of just 76 games a year ago, the Mariners opened 2016 as a +4000 afterthought on the title odds but have emerged as road warriors this season, tallying an MLB-best 18 road wins to date and improving to a +140 bet to win their first division crown since 2001.

The Chicago Cubs’ continued flirtation with a .700 win percentage has kept them atop the World Series odds as big +350 favorites.

The Cubs have gotten the job done, both on the mound and at the plate, with the club’s hurlers combining to post a major league-leading 2.65 ERA, while the offense sits third in the league in runs scored, forcing the run total OVER in six of their past 10 games according to the OddsShark MLB Database.

The Boston Red Sox own first place in the AL East standings going into the weekend and have climbed slightly to +900 on the World Series odds, where they are joined by the red-hot San Francisco Giants, who have rebounded after slipping to +1400 in early May.

The Nationals remain in the mix, sitting alongside the Mets at +1100 despite both clubs’ recent struggles with inconsistency, while the Rangers round out the favorites at +1200.

The Mariners are joined at +1600 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, just ahead of the resurgent Toronto Blue Jays, who are deadlocked with the defending champion Royals at +1800, while the Baltimore Orioles remain neck-and-neck with the White Sox at +2000.

Value in 2018 MLB Pennant Odds Ranges Beyond Astros, Yankees, Dodgers

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Only three teams have won consecutive pennants in the last 16 Major League Baseball seasons, which should be a nudge to look beyond the teams about to unfurl flags celebrating 2017 success.

Three weeks out from Opening Day, the defending World Series champion Houston Astros and the New York Yankees are +275 co-favorites on the odds to win the 2018 American League pennant  and the Los Angeles Dodgers have the National League’s top prop at +225, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Astros have a strong chance to repeat as AL champions thanks to the prospect of having a full season of both Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in the starting rotation, which should upgrade a pitching staff that had just the 11th-best earned-run average in MLB in 2017. The hype over the Aaron Judge-Giancarlo Stanton show has pushed the Yankees’ price below 3-to-1, but a wait-and-see approach should be taken with New York, since both sluggers could regress.

The Cleveland Indians (+325) and Boston Red Sox (+600) round out the top of the AL board. The Minnesota Twins (+1800), who have quietly improved and play in a shallow AL Central division, could be a surprise.

Over in the National League, the Dodgers still look scary at bat and on the mound and could benefit from getting a push in the NL West, where the San Francisco Giants (+1000), Arizona Diamondbacks (+1200) and Colorado Rockies (+1800) have no time for tanking. Iron sharpens iron, after all.

The Washington Nationals (+350) and Chicago Cubs (+375) likely won’t face such a deep group of challengers in their respective divisions, the NL East and NL Central. Since the Nationals are in a now-or-never situation with one-time MVP Bryce Harper due to become a free agent, there is some appeal in putting a bet down just to tap into that urgency in Washington. The Cubs should field a playoff-calibre team, but whether they ever re-capture their 2016 postseason magic remains to be seen.

It’s probably best to fade the St. Louis Cardinals (+900) and the aforementioned Giants, whose prices on the 2018 National League pennant odds owe more to history or recent success than the outlook on the field in 2018. Bettors seeking a sleeper have a far greater return by taking, say, Colorado, which has an exciting lineup built around third baseman Nolan Arenado and made the 2017 playoffs with the second-youngest pitching staff in all of MLB.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Dodgers head into spring training as World Series betting favorite

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While trading for Giancarlo Stanton gives the New York Yankees a pair of 50-home run hitters in their lineup, the sharps still believe pitching and depth are the name of the game in World Series futures.

Coming off a seven-game loss in the 2017 Fall Classic, the Los Angeles Dodgers are +500 favorites on the 2018 World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. As spring training gets underway in Arizona and Florida, there’s a big three at the top of the board, with the aforementioned Yankees (+550) and the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros (+550) offering a just slightly higher price than the Dodgers.

Major League Baseball has gone 17 consecutive seasons without a repeat champion and only three teams (2008-09 Philadelphia Phillies, 2010-11 Texas Rangers and 2014-15 Kansas City Royals) have made back-to-back World Series appearances. It’s possible the game is overdue for a change.

Both Houston and Los Angeles had more than 100 regular-season wins in 2017 despite the fact the best pitchers on either staff, the Astros’ Justin Verlander (late August trade) and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (injury), weren’t around for the full season. However, both teams still have a young core.

Adding Stanton as a big bat to go with Aaron Judge means the Yankees’ price has dropped by half from an opening +1100, days after the World Series. However, with TV analyst-turned-skipper Aaron Boone as a rookie manager, the Yankees will be trying to become only the fifth team to win the World Series with a first-year manager. Only one of the previous four – the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks – has come since the wild-card era began.

The Washington Nationals (+800), Cleveland Indians (+850), Boston Red Sox (+1000) and Chicago Cubs (+1000) are the only other teams at 10/1 or less. Considering its success over the last two seasons, Cleveland could be undervalued. Wariness about Washington stemming from its failure to advance past the NLDS is understandable, but the Nationals are in a do-or-done scenario with superstar rightfielder Bryce Harper in his contract year.

Adding Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, a pitcher-outfielder, has brought the Los Angeles Angels’ price down to +2800, from an opening +5000. Expecting one player to have that much impact in his first season stateside seems like a tall order.

The deep sleeper might be the Colorado Rockies (+5000), who have one of MLB’s most productive infields with third baseman Nolan Arenado, second baseman DJ LeMahieu and shortstop Trevor Story. Colorado’s prospects are contingent on either wrestling the NL West title from the Dodgers or winning the “best of one” wild-card series.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.