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Dodgers, Indians are World Series favorites in MLB postseason

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Last October was a rare instance where the team with the best record in baseball won the World Series, which is something to keep in mind before laying the favorite.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the +300 favorite on the World Series odds as the MLB playoffs begin Tuesday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Cleveland Indians (+350) are a close second favorite.

From there, the board spreads out to the teams with Division Series home-field advantage, the Houston Astros (+500) and Washington Nationals (+700), followed by the Boston Red Sox (+800) and defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs (+800).

Wild-card teams have won six of the last 22 World Series, while the top regular-season team has triumphed in only seven of the last 31. So there is potential to cash in early on the value of a wild-card team. The New York Yankees (+1400) stack up well against the Minnesota Twins (+2800) in the wild-card game. However, Aaron Judge, et al., fared poorly in their season series against both Cleveland and Houston.

The Arizona Diamondbacks (+1400), conversely, won the season series against the NL West rival Dodgers and might have the starting pitching and slugging prowess to take them out in a best-of-five NLDS. The Diamondbacks have to first get by the Colorado Rockies (+2800).

While MLB has not had a team repeat as World Series champions since 2000, teams that make a World Series seem more apt to do it again, regardless of what happened in the regular season (see the San Francisco Giants in 2010, 2012 and 2014). The Cubs, who have had their act together since the all-star break, are well-priced at 8/1.

It could well be that this is the year the Dodgers, five-time NL West champions, figure it out. But of the top seeds in each league, Cleveland played better in the second half and has lights-out pitching on the front end through the likes of Corey Kluber and on the back end with Cody Allen and lefty Andrew Miller in the bullpen.

As far as the wild-card matchups go, the Yankees (-235) are heavily favored against the Twins (+200), with a 7.5-run total in Tuesday’s AL wild-card game Yankees RHP Luis Severino is MLB’s hardest-throwing starter this season and the Twins are not a team of fastball hitters. Severino has limited batters to a .207/.265/.362 slash line (batting average, on-base and slugging percentage) this season at Yankee Stadium.

Twins RHP Ervin Santana also has a lifetime 6.43 earned run average in six games at Yankee Stadium, while allowing a .310/.379/.486 slash line.

The Yankees, with the likes of RHP Dellin Betances and LHP Aroldis Chapman, possess a deeper bullpen than the Twins. The total has gone under in five of Twins’ last seven road games against the Yankees.

The Diamondbacks (-166) are favored against the Rockies (+156) with an 8.5-run total in Wednesday’s NL wild-card game. Arizona is likely to start ace RHP Zack Greinke, who held the Rockies to a .229/.241/.435 slash line in five starts this season.

The Rockies’ presumptive starter, Jon Gray, is MLB’s second-hardest throwing starter. That could end up being in Arizona’s wheelhouse since power threats such as 1B Paul Goldschmidt, 3B Mike Lamb and RF J.D. Martinez make them one of baseball’s best teams at hitting against high velocity. If Arizona has a fatal flaw, it’s that closer Fernando Rodney has been human at home this season.

Arizona is 7-2 straight-up in its last nine games against the Rockies. The total has gone under in four of these teams’ last six games at Chase Field.

Orioles, Rockies among early surprises on baseball betting lines

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Not much was expected this season from the Baltimore Orioles, who kicked off the campaign as 20/1 longshots to claim the AL Pennant at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.  But two weeks into the season, the Orioles find themselves sitting atop the AL East standings with a league-leading 8-3 record.

The Orioles stormed out of the gate, sweeping the Minnesota Twins in a three-game series, before taking a pair from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game set that included one contest that was postponed due to weather.

Since extending their season-opening winning streak to seven with a pair of road victories over Boston, the Orioles have cooled off, dropping three of four to the Red Sox and Texas Rangers, but have seen their odds to win the AL East climb to 14/1 on the MLB futures.

With Sunday’s series finale in Texas postponed, Baltimore enjoyed a rare two-day break before they open a three-game series as +130 home underdogs in Tuesday night’s Blue Jays vs. Orioles betting matchup at Camden Yards.

The defending AL East champion Blue Jays opened as 11/2 favorites to win the American League crown, but have received inconsistent performances from both the bullpen and their vaunted offense and stumbled to an early 7-7 record.

The Blue Jays tallied an MLB-best 891 runs in 2015, but have averaged just 3.6 runs per game over their past five outings, forcing the run total UNDER in each, and sport a team batting average of just .227. Toronto’s shaky start has had minimal impact on their odds of winning the AL Pennant, though, which remain at a strong 7/1.

In the National League, the Colorado Rockies sit alongside the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the NL West standings, after taking two of three on the weekend from the World Series favorite Chicago Cubs and following up with a decisive 6-1 win over Cincinnati on Monday.

The Rockies broke camp as 150/1 World Series longshots, but remain stalled on the baseball futures despite jumping out to an 8-5 start, including series wins over the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants.

The Diamondbacks were busy during the offseason, signing starter Zach Greinke and trading for Shelby Miller, earning them 14/1 odds to win the NL Pennant on Opening Day. But with just two victories in seven home games, and Greinke and Miller going winless through the first two weeks, Arizona has tumbled to 20/1 to claim their first NL championship since 2001.