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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.

Astros remind Jose Altuve how short he is by assigning him short urinal

@JSMarisnick
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Jose Altuve is a really, really good baseball player (Pro tip: Draft him in your fantasy baseball league).

He’s also really short. As in 5’6″.

Jake Marisnick and the Astros reminded their star second baseman about his height today by giving him his own urinal.

The really short one.

You’d think the Astros would’ve done this joke a while ago but it’s still funny today.

MORE: Anthony Rizzo sings “Drops of Jupiter” for the entire team

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.