The MLB playoffs are finally upon us, and 10 teams qualified for the postseason. The Houston Astros (107-55), are the heavy favorite at 2/1 odds to win the World Series. The LA Dodgers (106-56), lost the World Series in the past two years, but are among the other favorites on the board at 5/2 odds to win the championship.
The consensus among bookmakers, bettors, and half-baked click-bait writers is that the Dodgers and Astros are World Series favorites who will be battling in a rematch of the 2017 fall classic.
Houston boasts the strongest starting rotation in the big leagues. Both Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole struck out at least 300 batters this season. Verlander had one of the best seasons of his career, leading the majors with 21 victories. Not bad for the old guy on the team, eh? The Astros made a bold move before the trade deadline by adding Zack Greinke to an already dangerous rotation.
WORLD SERIES ODDS (As of 9.30.19)
Houston Astros 2/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 5/2
New York Yankees 4/1
Atlanta Braves 8/1
Minnesota Twins 14/1
St. Louis Cardinals 14/1
Washington Nationals 16/1
Milwaukee Brewers 16/1
Oakland A’s 16/1
Tampa Bay Rays 20/1
The four wild-card teams, as expected, are the long shots on the board. Tampa Bay is the biggest long shot at 20/1 odds to win the World Series. The other three wild-card participants are each 16/1 odds, and not really in the mix with the big-three World Series favorites.
Fresh Blood or Old Blood?
Since 2010, the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox have, combined, won five World Series titles. Neither team qualified for the postseason this year. The Red Sox might have corrected their Fortnight problem in the locker room, but the defending champs were dunzo by mid-August.
The Giants were in the mix for most of the summer in a hotly contested NL wild-card race. However, the Giants were unable to keep up with the big dogs in the NL and advance to the postseason one last time before manager Bruce Bochy retired.
The St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros all won solo titles in the last 10 seasons.
The Cardinals and Astros are the only teams in the 2019 postseason that have won a title this decade. The 2019 Cards barely resemble the 2011 World Series Champions.
Meanwhile, the current squad of Astros can still taste the champagne after winning the World Series in 2017. They’re trying to lock up their second title in the last two seasons. The Astros lost to the inevitable champs last year in the ALCS when they were unable to stop a red-hot, Red Sox squad.
The New York Yankees (103-59), despite numerous injuries to the starting lineup and pitching staff, come into the postseason as the third-biggest favorite at 4/1 odds. The Yankees will face the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS. The Twins are 14/1, and considered the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball. Rocco Baldelli’s squad got zero respect, even though they won 101 games this season.
The Atlanta Braves at 8/1 odds provided the most value all summer long. The Braves won the NL East, but it seemed like Bryce Harper and the Phillies were garnering most of the attention all season.
The Braves have been flying under the radar because the Dodgers had run away with the NL West. Plus, the NL Central was up for grabs all season, and needed the final weekend of the season to determine its winner.
Third Time a Charm for Dodgers?
The LA Dodgers (106-56) lost in the World Series to the Houston Astros in 2017, and lost to the Boston Red Sox in 2018. The Dodgers put up a heck of a fight two Octobers ago, and forced a full seven-game series. The Astros prevailed in Game 7 to take down the championship.
Last year, the Dodgers couldn’t thwart the unstoppable Red Sox. The Sox locked up the World Series in only five games.
In the offseason, the Dodgers extended manager Dave Roberts’ contract. They also shipped out Yasiel Puig to the Cincinnati Reds. Coming into this season, expectations were high, and the Dodgers were big World Series favorites.
The 2019 Dodgers set a franchise record for most wins with 106. Hyun-Jin Ryu was the biggest surprise for the Dodgers this season. He won 14 games with a 14-5 record, along with a 2.32 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.
Ryu struggled a bit in August and September with a 2-3 record. The Dodgers went 3-4 when Ryu took the mound in the last two months of the season. On a positive note, Ryu won his last two starts, and heads into the postseason on a high note.
MVP-candidate Cody Bellinger bounced back from a sophomore slump. Bellinger led the Dodgers with 47 home runs and 115 RBI. He also finished the season above .300, with a .305 batting average.