MLB Baseball Betting

Astros Win World Series, Favored to Repeat

It wasn’t the epic Game 7 everyone expected, but the Houston Astros are happy with the result. They beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 at Chavez Ravine to cash in as +138 underdogs on the MLB odds board – and win the 2017 World Series in the process. This turned out to be the biggest World Series in history from a betting perspective; the Astros were +145 underdogs when the series price went on the board, and they took their supporters on a roller-coaster ride all the way to the bank.

It’s easy enough to blame Yu Darvish for coming up short in the deciding Game 7. He was chased in the second inning after giving up four earned runs to Houston, almost a carbon copy of the loss Darvish took in Game 3. But in hindsight, if anything sank the Dodgers at the World Series, it was the relief pitching and the overuse of Kenley Jansen and Brandon Morrow. That could come back to bite Los Angeles next year, too, with both Darvish and Morrow expected to land big free-agent contracts in the offseason.


World Series Odds 2018:

If they stay in Los Angeles, at least they’ll have another shot at the title. The 2018 World Series betting odds at press time have the Dodgers at +550, just behind Houston at +500; however, the Astros are in a very good position from a roster perspective to build on last year’s success, while Los Angeles will have to add to their already MLB-leading payroll to re-sign Darvish and Morrow.

They just might do it. The biggest potential free agent out there is Shohei Otani, the brilliant pitcher/outfielder for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Japanese league. As a pitcher, Otani has been compared to Houston’s Justin Verlander, and the Dodgers may decide to keep Darvish as an inducement for Otani to cross the Pacific and join them. One problem: If Otani is cleared to leave Japan, he might not be eligible to play in the majors until 2019.

One more problem: the Chicago Cubs. The 2016 champions are still hanging around at +1100 on the MLB World Series odds list, and they’ll need some more starting pitchers if both Jake Arietta and John Lackey leave as expected. The Cubs figure to be big players in the hunt for Darvish and possibly Otani. They need some bullpen help, too, so Morrow will no doubt be one of their targets.


Can Cleveland Bounce Back?

Then you have the team that out-performed everyone else during the 2017 regular season. Cleveland posted a plus-254 run differential, over 50 runs better than the competition, but after a disappointing postseason, the Tribe are third favorites on the MLB futures market at +750. Pitching shouldn’t be a problem in 2018; the batting order is another matter, as Carlos Santana, Jay Bruce and Austin Jackson are all free agents this offseason. There aren’t many quality hitters available out there – Otani notwithstanding – so Cleveland can’t afford to lose what they’ve already got.

The Washington Nationals (+1100) have been tripping over the MLB betting lines for years, but they’ve got all the parts to make at least one more run at the World Series. They won’t face much opposition in the NL East, and they figure to improve in the dugout with Dave Martinez replacing Dusty Baker as manager. You can pretty much pencil in the Nats to re-join Houston and Los Angeles in the 2018 MLB playoffs.


Yankees vs. Red Sox

The most competitive division in baseball figures to be the AL East, where the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are tied at +1100 on the MLB futures market. The Yankees are in the stronger position of the two with their roster of young players, none more exciting than Aaron Judge, while the Red Sox are looking at a serious power shortage in their batting order – which their depleted system won’t be able to fill. Boston might have to nibble around the edges in free agency, or trade one of their core players to land a big fish like Miami Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton.

We could see some aggressive buying and selling during the offseason, so don’t be surprised if the World Series odds keep changing between now and the start of the 2018 campaign. Bovada will be on top of it all with fresh odds and analysis; in the meantime, congratulations to the Astros on a job well done and their first World Series title.


*Odds as of November 10, 2017