Let’s be clear about it: This hasn’t been a vintage offseason for exciting baseball trades and acquisitions. Sure, the likes of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper have still to make high-profile moves and there have been some really interesting moves, but we are on the eve of Spring Training, so time is running out for teams who wish to look drastically different by Opening Day on March 28th.
In light of that, most odds-setters will be fairly confident that the odds right now will be similar to those in around six weeks’ time. Moreover, with a quite offseason in terms of blockbuster trades, you can imagine that the betting markets favor those who fared well last season. For example, the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros, who combined for an incredible 311 regular season wins last year, are co-favorites at +650 for the 2019 World Series according to the MLB betting odds at 888 Sport USA .
AL Dominance expected once again
It’s hard to argue with the insertion of the American league trio as favorites. Each side perhaps only needs a slight tweak to its roster over the next six weeks. The 2018 World Series champions, Red Sox, for example, is rumoured to be looking at changing catcher and adding some depth to the bullpen, but it’s hardly what you would call major surgery. Of the trio, the Yankees are most openly flirting with Manny Machado, and you would expect the odds to drop if the Bronx Bombers were able to acquire his skillset.
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So, what about last season’s runner up, the Dodgers? Odds of +750 have been cited for Dave Roberts and his men to go one step further than in 2017 and 2018. Of all last seasons contenders, the Dodgers looks to have had the biggest facelift, and it’ll be interesting to see how the team performs in the absence of Yasiel Puig, Manny Machado and Matt Kemp.
Dodgers will look very different in 2019
Indeed, the Dodger’s rebuilding might open the way for some other National League teams to take a crack at whomever comes through the American League cauldron, and that’s where the betting value might lie for shrewd punters. With the exception of the Dodgers, all NL teams are priced at +1200 or above with 888sport, decent value when you consider how some teams have added quality in the offseason.
Most interesting of all is the Nationals, priced at +1600. Yes, the team stumbled last season and, yes, Bryce Harper will be playing ball elsewhere, but this is still a side stuffed with quality arms and bats. The biggest issue might be getting through the NL East, which looks the most competitive division in baseball. Indeed, any one of the Braves, Phillies or Mets could top that division and march on through the postseason. Incidentally, the Marlins are the rank outsiders for the World Series at a massive +25000.
Rays could be a value pick
Odds can, of course, change once the season gets underway. Last year, for example, the Red Sox quickly moved from a position of dark horses to favorite within a couple of months. So, for punters with a long-term vision, the ‘art’ is sometimes picking a team that could surprise further down the line. One prime candidate for that is the Tampa Bay Rays at +5000, who had a 90-win season in the AL East overshadowed by the exploits of the Yankees and Red Sox. The roster is good enough to nick a Wild Card sport, and perhaps even more.