by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
Recent postseason history is not necessarily on the side of the favorite and second favorite in World Series futures, but that might work to the benefit of bettors who believe the Los Angeles Dodgers can go back-to-back.
With the calendar turning over to September, the defending champion Dodgers are the +300 favorite to capture the Commissioner’s Trophy on the World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The reigning American League champion Tampa Bay Rays (+400) are immediately below Los Angeles on a crowded futures board at betting sites, followed by the Houston Astros (+550), Chicago White Sox (+600), Milwaukee Brewers (+600), San Francisco Giants (+750), New York Yankees (+1000) and Atlanta Braves (+1600). (how sports betting works).
No team has repeated in 21 seasons. However, the Dodgers have shored up their strength on both sides of the ball by adding three-time Cy Young-winning pitcher Max Scherzer to a staff that has MLB’s best ERA since the all-star break by a fair margin, and have also added middle infielder Trea Turner to a deep batting order. The Dodgers are in a tight race with San Francisco in the NL West, and the prospect of being forced to the ‘best of one’ wild-card series will help their betting value.
The Rays have the AL’s best record, and their balanced lineup led by Brandon Lowe has MLB’s highest OPS (.803) since the all-star break. However, since MLB adopted a divisional format in 1969, only three teams have won the World Series after being the runner-up the previous year. It’s also happened only once in the wild-card era (2015 Kansas City Royals).
The AL West-leading Astros are hard to rule out due to a postseason pedigree that has seen them reach at least the ALCS stage in four consecutive seasons. Houston has an elite offense led by Carlos Correa and the third-best ERA in the American League. They also took the Rays to seven games in the playoffs last October in an off-year.
The White Sox might be a team to fade. Chicago has been just a .500 team so far in the second half, and the AL Central has not been represented in the ALCS in the last four seasons.
Milwaukee’s small-market status will keep the Brewers off some casual baseball watchers’ radar. The Brewers have a deep bullpen, led by Josh Hader and Trevor Williams, that has helped them fashion MLB’s second-best ERA in the second half. There will be questions about divisional strength of a contender out of the NL Central.
Conversely, both the Yankees and Giants have been tested far more while playing in MLB’s two deepest divisions. Both have also had top-five pitching staffs in the second half. The Yankees have never reached the World Series after making the playoffs as a wild card, but the Giants did so back in 2014.
Atlanta, led by 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman, has salvaged its season by wresting control of the shallow NL East. Some of the elements of a postseason sleeper are there. Atlanta has the fifth-best ERA in the second half, and has managed a respectable 12-11 record against the other five teams that presently hold or are tied for an NL playoff position.
The Toronto Blue Jays (+6000) are far down on the board after falling all but out of the American League wild card race