Opening Day of the 2020 MLB season is always one of the most highly anticipated days in sports. This offseason has been filled with blockbuster deals and the unraveling of the biggest scandal that the league has seen since José Canseco testified in front of Congress. Many players have spoken their minds on the topic and baseball Twitter has slowly transformed into a virtual World War III between Astros, Dodgers, and Yankees fans. This season couldn’t come sooner for baseball lovers, players, and gamblers everywhere to say the very least. And with the start of the season comes the beginning of speculation as to who will take home that trophy for World Series 2020.
Aside from the three teams mentioned above, who all have consistently been among the favorites to win the Fall Classic over the last few years, organizations such as the Angels, White Sox, and Reds have spent enough money this Winter to shake up the odds for the 2020 World Series. That being said, let’s take a look at each team’s odds to bring home a ring for their city next October, breakdown some of the true values, and predict who will be holding up the 2020 World Series trophy at the end of the year.
HERE ARE THE 2020 WORLD SERIES ODDS FOR EACH TEAM ACCORDING TO THE ODDS FACTORY:
|New York Yankees||+350|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+400|
|New York Mets||+1600|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+1600|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+2000|
|Los Angeles Angels||+2500|
|Boston Red Sox||+3300|
|Chicago White Sox||+3300|
|San Diego Padres||+3300|
|San Francisco Giants||+10000|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+10000|
|Kansas City Royals||+25000|
The Yankees and Dodgers sit at the top with both roughly 4/1 odds to win it all. However, is there really value in those plays for two teams who have consistently failed to prove themselves in the playoffs over the last decade? Don’t get me wrong. The Dodgers and Yankees have phenomenal rosters and most “experts” undoubtedly will predict an LA vs NY World Series 2020 matchup. Having said that, there is way too much value elsewhere on the board for teams who improved over the offseason. Let’s start off by taking a look at some of the teams with the best value.
TEAMS WITH BEST VALUE:
WASHINGTON NATIONALS (16/1)
No team in the MLB has won back-to-back World Series since the Yankees did it three years in a row back the late 90’s. However, if you’ve watched any playoff games over the last few years, you’d know how valuable pitching is in October. The defending World Champions will enter the 2020 campaign with a similar lineup but will be missing a huge bat in Anthony Rendon, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels. That being said, they have a pitching rotation that includes World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, and Patrick Corbin. Scherzer has three Cy Young Awards under his belt. Strasburg and Corbin have both finished in the Top-Five in voting at least once over the last three years.
In addition to a juggernaut of a rotation, they added former Houston reliever Will Harris to an already strong bullpen. Come playoff time, the gift of having this caliber of pitching will make it very difficult for teams to get past them in a five or seven-game series. At 16/1, the Nationals are a great bet. My advice? That number will drop significantly once the season starts, so hop on that now.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX (33/1)
The White Sox finished 72-89 last year, but their front office showed the Chicago faithful this offseason that this team wants to win, and they want to win now. The White Sox signed Yasmani Grandal and Edwin Encarnacion to bolster a lineup that already had talent. They also added pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez to beef up their pitching staff that is headlined by young star Lucas Giolito. The bullpen needs work, but their lineup is up there with some of the best in baseball. Do keep in mind that the AL Central will be a tough division to win and the AL Wild Card will be an even tighter race. Between this division and the Angels, Athletics, and Rays, just getting into the playoffs could be tough. Nevertheless, I believe that this team is hungry and added enough talent this offseason to be worth a shot.
HOUSTON ASTROS (8/1)
The loss of Gerrit Cole was a big blow for the Houston Astros, but let’s not forget that they were a 100-win team before Cole even got to Houston and their lineup is essentially identical to the one that got them to the World Series last year. Their rotation is led by Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, but many people are downplaying the return of starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who missed last season with a torn UCL. McCullers had an ERA of 3.86 in 2018 before heading to the IL. So he has the ability to make up for some of what the Astros lost in Cole.
To address the elephant in the room, the Houston Astros will be playing with a chip on their shoulder this year and are out to prove to doubters that they’re a great baseball team. This is a team of winners. They’ve been there before and I have a feeling they’ll be back. At 8-1, it may be money well spent.
NEW YORK YANKEES (3.5/1)
The Yankees did two things this offseason: Signed Gerrit Cole and kept Gerrit Cole from signing with anyone else who might stand in their way of winning it all. Their lineup didn’t change much over the offseason. Gleyber Torres is one of the best rising stars in baseball and will certainly help them win games this year if he can stay healthy. DJ LeMahieu was one of the best hitters in baseball in 2019, but it’s hard to think that he’ll match his career-year that he had last season. They lost Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Gardner is getting old, and Giancarlo Stanton has spent more time at the doctor than Yankee Stadium over the last two years.
In addition to Cole, they do have some standout names in their rotation in Severino, Tanaka, and Happ, but whether these guys can pitch consistently and stay healthy is a big question mark. I think the Yankees are an enormously talented team that will win their division easily and make some noise in the playoffs, but even with the addition of Cole, I’d wait to pull the trigger on them to win it all, at least until we get into the season as the odds aren’t likely to drop all that much.
NEW YORK METS (16/1)
How a team that hasn’t won their division since 2015 has the 5th best odds to win the 2020 World Series is a little beyond me. Their rotation, with the addition of Marcus Stroman to a group that already had Noah Syndergaard and back-to-back Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, will be a strong force that will give teams trouble, but they have to score runs. They’re in a division with the defending World Series champions, a very talented team in the Atlanta Braves, the underperforming Phillies, and the NL Wild Card is going to be tighter than the pockets of Fred Wilpon during free agency.
Like the White Sox, the Mets are going to have to fight to even get in the playoffs. With that being said, if they get in the playoffs, they have a rotation that can carry them to the World Series (see the 2019 Washington Nationals). Run support will be the name of the game for the New York Mets. Will they improve in 2020? Yes, but they are very overvalued in my opinion when it comes to winning it all.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (16/1)
The St. Louis Cardinals have the same odds to win the World Series as the Mets, in a tougher division, with a lineup that…well, to put it nicely…isn’t that good. Their top starting pitchers, Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas, both put their names on the map last year after having solid seasons, but no one besides Paul Goldschmidt stands out in that lineup. Hell, I don’t even think the Cardinals are one of the top two teams in their own division. So, between that and the difficulty of getting one of those three playoff spots, I think the Cardinals might be the most overvalued team on this list.
The 2019-2020 MLB offseason was probably one of the most exciting in recent years in terms of big-name players moving around and signing hefty contracts. Some teams regressed, but we also saw many teams who haven’t been significant in years make some big acquisitions. Yet, some of these teams are still undervalued by The Odds Factory’s World Series odds. Here are a few sleeper teams who have a real shot of making a World Series run:
OAKLAND ATHLETICS (33/1)
No matter what team you support, I think it’s time to have some empathy for the A’s and their fans. They’re +3300 to win the World Series in 2020, but the A’s are a team that finished 2nd in the AL West the past two seasons and won 97 games in each of those. Their home-run hitting lineup, which is arguably one of the better lineups in baseball, is headlined by Matt Chapman, Ramon Laureano, Matt Olson, and Khris Davis.
Their hitting is fantastic. The issue is their pitching. The two top guys in their rotation are Mike Fiers, who just might be in witness protection come April, and Sean Manaea. Fiers isn’t leading a team anywhere and Manaea, while a solid pitcher at times, got shelled in the Wild Card game versus Tampa last year. Despite that, I believe the A’s have a good enough lineup to stay in playoff contention all year. If their front office can make some moves to improve their pitching, the A’s are definitely a sleeper team to keep an eye on.
CINCINNATI REDS (33/1)
They are in one of the toughest divisions to win in arguably all of sports, but the Reds put together quite a team this offseason and are looking to win their first World Series since 1990. It appears as longshot considering the difficulty of getting into the playoffs out of the NL Central, but they added Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas to a lineup that already contained Joey Votto and a couple of other strong young bats.
Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray will likely lead this rotation this year, which can be a good or bad thing depending on which version of each pitcher you get. Those two, along with Luis Castillo and Wade Miley, make for a fairly deep rotation. While it might not seem likely for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2012 to win a ring this year but if you’re going to gamble on a team with a high upside…pick the Reds.
HOW ACCURATE IS VEGAS WHEN IT COMES TO MLB PRESEASON WORLD SERIES ODDS?
I took a look back to see what the preseason odds looked like for the last ten teams to win championships, and let’s just say Vegas isn’t always right. Here are what the odds to win the World Series looked like in the Preseason for the last 10 World Champions:
|Teams (Preseason World Series Odds)
|2019: Washington Nationals (+1600)|
|2018: Boston Red Sox (+1150)|
|2017: Houston Astros (+1175)|
|2016: Chicago Cubs (+660)|
|2015: Kansas City Royals (+3300)|
|2014: San Francisco Giants (+2500)|
|2013: Boston Red Sox (+2800)|
|2012: San Francisco Giants (+2500)|
|2011: St. Louis Cardinals (+2500)|
|2010: San Francisco Giants (+2500)|
Aside from the Cubs’ historical 2016 championship run, it appears that good odds don’t always equal a good season when it comes to Vegas and baseball. Each of the last three World Series winners had higher than 11/1 odds to win. And the six teams to win it before the Cubs all came into the season with no higher than a 25/1 chance to win the title. The average odds for the past ten winners were an astounding +2068! If you go by that, perhaps the Twins, Phillies, or Rays are the play at +2000. Bottom line: Anything, and I mean ANYTHING can happen.
After bouncing back from a terribly disappointing playoff exit last October, the Atlanta Braves will find themselves back in the World Series in 2020. With their stacked lineup and already-solid starting pitching, I anticipate the Braves bringing in another starter at the trade deadline to put them over the top and get them into the Fall Classic. The issue? The Houston Astros will be back to represent the American League in the World Series. Houston looks to have one of the deepest, if not the deepest, lineups and pitching staffs in baseball. Atlanta should win a game or two at home, but the Astros’ deadly lineup and strong starting rotation will prove to be too deep for the Braves.
PICK: ASTROS OVER BRAVES IN 6.