by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
There is a second-half trend that might have some validity as bettors seek out a pick to capture the Commissioner’s Trophy to cap off baseball’s shortened season.
With the Division Series round set to begin Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers are +230 favorites on the updated World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The New York Yankees (+400) and Tampa Bay Rays (+433), who go head-to-head on the ALDS side, are also high on the board at online sports betting sites, which also spreads out to the San Diego Padres (+650), Atlanta Braves (+750), Oakland Athletics (+900), Houston Astros (+1500) and Miami Marlins (+1500).
An old baseball adage says October is all about pitching, but it seems like offensive acumen late in the regular season is a better indicator of success. The last five World Series champion teams have had an average rank of 7.0 out of the 30 MLB teams in team OPS (on-base and slugging percentages combined) after the All-Star Game. Only the 2015 Kansas City Royals (14th) ranked lower than eighth. The same five teams had an average rank of 9.8 in second-half team earned-run average. That figure would be much higher if the 2016 Chicago Cubs (first in second-half ERA that year) had not surmounted a 3-1 series deficit against the Cleveland Indians (17th). In other words, success seems to be attained by teams with elite offenses and decent pitching that can be optimized in October, when rotations and bullpens get smaller.
The Cody Bellinger-led Dodgers were first in ERA and second in OPS (to Atlanta), so it would be understandable if one wants to take them as the chalk pick. Their NLDS opponent, the NL West rival Padres (fourth in OPS, eighth in ERA) could be worth considering as a value pick. San Diego, led by slugging shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., was 4-6 in its season series against the Dodgers, but has won the last three matchups started by longtime Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
The Yankees’ popularity and their impressive sweep of Cleveland in the wild card series probably explains their second-favorite status just ahead of the Rays. But Tampa Bay is 8-2 in its last 10 games against New York, and the Rays’ edge in pitching (third-best ERA to the Yankees’ 14th-best) appears to be larger than the Yankees’ edge in offense.
Similar to the Yankees, the Ronald Acuna Jr.-led Braves led MLB in OPS during the regular season but their pitching ranked a garden-variety 15th. In the other ALDS matchup, the Athletics have to overcome that franchise’s recent history of postseason failure and the absence of star third baseman Matt Chapman, while the Astros are far from the team that came within a single win of the 2019 World Series title, due to the loss of No. 1 starter Justin Verlander and a regression by offensive catalyst Jose Altuve.
Following the best-of-five ALDS and NLDS rounds, the American League Championship Series (ALCS) is scheduled to begin on October 11, with the NLCS beginning on October 12.