by OddsShark (@OddsShark | https://twitter.com/oddsshark)
The betting favorites remain just that with good reason, but there is some interesting movement among the outside contenders in World Series futures as the Major League Baseball regular season enters the final six weeks.
The Houston Astros are the +225 favorite (bet $100 to win $225) on the 2019 World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Los Angeles Dodgers (+275) are the second favorite, followed by the New York Yankees (+450), Atlanta Braves (+900), Chicago Cubs (+1600), Cleveland Indians (+1600), Minnesota Twins (+1800), Washington Nationals (+1800), New York Mets (+2000) and St. Louis Cardinals (+2000).
The prices on the big four at sports betting sites are essentially unchanged from two weeks ago. The dominance the Astros and Dodgers are showing may serve to keep one team’s price from dropping. For what it might be worth, Houston’s pitching staff that recently integrated six-time all-star Zack Greinke into its rotation leads MLB in lowest batting average against since the all-star break, which might bode well for October when power pitching negates power hitting.
The Dodgers have MLB’s third-best ERA since the midsummer classic, and while their middle relief has elicited concerns, they have the seventh-best bullpen ERA so far this season.
Last season, six of the top seven teams in ERA after the all-star break made the playoffs, and all 10 playoff qualifiers were in the top 16. It is not telling of success – the Boston Red Sox were 15th before going on to win the World Series – but it shows a team needs at least a decent second half from its entire staff to have a chance in October. Drawing from that, then, it might seem prudent to fade both the Yankees (5.34 staff ERA since the start of the second half) and Braves (5.06 since the same point).
The Minnesota Twins’ price has doubled from +900 just two weeks ago. However, they have regained their AL Central lead over Cleveland and also have the softer remaining schedule of the two, increasing their chance of avoiding the one-and-done wild-card series. The Twins’ pitching staff has also had some long nights over the last month, but a point in their favor is that they have the best road record in the entire sport.
Among the other darkhorses, the Cubs’ bizarre home-road split – non-contenders such as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays actually have better away records than Chicago – should dictate fading them. Someone looking for a value play in that price range could make a more informed choice in either the Indians or the Mets, whose respective pitching staffs are first and second in MLB in ERA in the second half.