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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.

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.

Cubs Lead Major League Baseball with wins projections

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(OddsShark.com) — Following a breakthrough 97-win season in 2015, matching their highest win total since their last appearance in the World Series in 1945, the Chicago Cubs kick off the Cactus League schedule leading the league with an OVER/UNDER of 92.5 wins for the upcoming season at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Cubs’ 97-65 record ranked third overall in the majors, but the club was forced to settle for the NL’s second Wild Card after finishing third in the NL Central behind the two top teams in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A pair of National League contenders closely follow the Cubs on the MLB win total props for 2016. The Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants both missed the postseason in 2015, but each return to action sporting win totals of 89.5 for the 2016 regular season.

The Nationals opened the 2015 campaign as favorites on the odds to win the World Series, closely followed by the Giants, who won their third World Series crown in five years in 2014. But after strong starts, both Washington and San Francisco faded in the second half, finishing the campaign with 83 and 84 wins, respectively.

The defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals are a -115 bet to win OVER 85.5 games in 2016, after closing out last season with a 95-67 record, while the NL champion New York Mets, winners of 90 games and the NL East pennant last season, join the Giants and Nationals at an OVER/UNDER of 89.5 wins for this year.

The Cardinals led the majors with a 100-62 record last season, including an MLB-best 55 home victories, but are expected to fall off that pace with a 2016 regular season win total of 87.5, while the Pirates are pegged at 86.5 wins.

The Toronto Blue Jays posted a 43-18 record down the stretch after making a splash at last July’s trade deadline, finishing with 93 victories and their first AL East crown since 1993.

The Blue Jays have opened their Grapefruit League schedule leading the AL East teams on the baseball props, pegged at 87.5 regular season wins with -115 odds on the OVER and UNDER, closely followed by the Boston Red Sox at 86.5, and the New York Yankees at 85.5

Following nine straight losing seasons, the Houston Astros returned to respectability with an 86-win 2015 campaign, and join Toronto at 87.5, while the odds are against the AL West champion Texas Rangers, a -130 bet to win UNDER 84.5 games this season.