Normally at this time of year, we have a good sense of what a Major League Baseball team is like based on spring training results. However, spring training games were canceled two weeks ago and Opening Day is delayed at least two weeks.
There is much uncertainty as to how the upcoming MLB season will be structured. Commissioner Rob Manfred is unlikely to push the season into November as it is too cold in too many climates that time of year. The most likely scenario is that the regular season gets significantly shortened.
A shorter regular season would seem to bring more teams into the playoff discussion. Thus, the odds of the favorites would theoretically be lessened.
However, if given a choice between the Dodgers and Yankees vs. the field, I would still take the Dodgers and Yankees. That being said, it would be wise for bettors to include a “sleeper” team in their futures wagers, as the inevitable changes to the upcoming season should even the playing field.
Here are the best bet and the best value play to win the 2020 World Series. (odds courtesy of FOX Bet)
It has been 32 years since the Dodgers last won the World Series. What better time to break that drought than in a pandemic-altered season?
The Dodgers and Yankees clearly have the best rosters in their respective leagues. However, there are many reasons to give the Dodgers the edge. One is that the American League competition the Yankees will face should prove to be tougher than what the Dodgers will face in the National League. With all due respect to the defending World Series champions, the departure of Anthony Rendon from the Nationals cannot be understated. The Braves are also an intriguing young team but do not have the dominant starting pitching required to win multiple series in the postseason.
If the season were to be played over 162 games, as usual, I would be more worried about the Dodgers. Their pitchers have logged multiple seasons of postseason innings. Clayton Kershaw is 32 years old but has much more mileage on his arm than his age would suggest. However, a shortened season will keep their pitchers fresh. Thus, Dodgers pitchers will avoid the playoff fatigue that may have plagued them in past postseasons.
The Dodgers have been in “win-now” mode for quite some time. With the off-season acquisitions of Mookie Betts and David Price, it is clear the front office is determined to end the organization’s championship drought.
A top of the rotation that features Kershaw, Price, and Walker Buehler is a lethal combination come playoff time. The Dodgers have depth, an aggressive front office, and plenty of postseason experience. All of that is a great combination, even at odds of +375, to win the World Series this year.
It is hard to imagine a team being overshadowed in a year where they win 96 games. However, that is exactly what happened to the Rays last year. They still finished seven games behind the Yankees, and played in a league where three teams won over 100 games. Tampa Bay pushed the eventual pennant-winning Astros to a decisive fifth game in the Division Series. The Rays failed to win a game in Houston, and the theories of why have been well-documented.
Though they are in the same division as the Yankees, the Rays are likely a beneficiary of a shortened season. Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are dealing with nagging injuries. In addition, James Paxton will miss time recovering from back surgery and Domingo German still has to serve a 63-game suspension.
Even if the Rays do not beat out the Yankees for the AL East title, they have shown their ability to win playoff games. Like the Dodgers, the Rays possess a tremendous trio of starting pitchers in Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, and Tyler Glasnow. Their bullpen is also stocked with a number of flamethrowers who throw 97+ mph.
While Tampa Bay’s offense will not wow you, they still won 96 games after finishing tied for 15th in runs scored. They attempted to fix some offensive issues by trading for Hunter Renfroe, Jose Martinez, and Manuel Margot.
With Gerrit Cole’s departure from Houston, the Rays may have stake to being the second-best team in the American League. At odds of +2000, they are an excellent value bet to win it all.