Paul Goldschmidt

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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.

Trout, Harper lead way on MVP futures at Sportsbooks

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(OddsShark.com) — Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout has emerged as the +150 favorite on the odds to win the American League MVP award at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in the season ahead, sitting just ahead of reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson.

After earning AL MVP honors in 2014 Trout enjoyed an outstanding campaign again last year, belting a career-high 41 home runs to go along with 90 RBI. However, he was unable to get the Angels into the postseason, as the club finished a game back of the Houston Astros in the race for the second AL Wild Card berth.

Donaldson returns to action sporting +450 odds to win the AL MVP in 2016 following a season in 2015 in which he achieved career highs with 41 home runs, 41 doubles, and 123 RBI.

The Blue Jays third baseman received 23 of a possible 30 first-place votes in AL MVP balloting last year after leading Toronto to its first AL East division title since 1993, including a stunning 43-18 stretch run by the team.

Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado finished fourth in AL MVP balloting last season, but closely trails Donaldson on the MVP odds at a strong +550 in third place.

Two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers sports +800 odds, ahead of Boston Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts at +900, while Houston Astros shortstop and 2015 AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa trails at +1600.

Over in the National League, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has emerged as a clear +200 favorite to repeat as NL MVP at the sportsbooks. Like Donaldson, Harper busted out in 2015, hitting 42 home runs while tallying career highs with 38 doubles and 124 walks.

Harper is chased by Andrew McCutchen and Paul Goldschmidt, both sporting NL MVP odds of +500. McCutchen was once again the model of consistency in 2015, connecting on 36 doubles and knocking in 96 runs while making just two errors patrolling center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Goldschmidt finished second to Harper in NL MVP voting in 2015 after hitting .321 and driving in 110 runs for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who enter the 2016 season with much improved 12/1 odds to win the National League Pennant after winning just 79 games last season.

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton rounds out the front of the pack in NL MVP betting at +650, followed by Chicago Cubs third baseman and last season’s NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, who sits at an intriguing +900.