- Baseball is finally returning with a 60-game season starting on July 24th
- The Dodgers (+375) and Yankees (+450) are heavy favorites to win the World Series, but not as heavy as they were before
- With tight playoff races expected this September, bettors should target clubs with strong pitching staffs
Over the past few months, Major League Baseball owners and the players union negotiated with as much good faith as two steely Hollywood divorce attorneys, arguing over their share of the pie with little to no regard for the kids, or in this case, the fans.
Now that the two sides have finally agreed to play a 60-game season (the shortest one in MLB history), we’ll go over a few things you should watch out for before placing your bets.
Let’s look at the latest World Series odds before diving in.
2020 WORLD SERIES ODDS
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+375|
|New York Yankees||+450|
|New York Mets||+2500|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+2500|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+2800|
|Chicago White Sox||+3000|
|Los Angeles Angels||+3000|
|Boston Red Sox||+5000|
|San Diego Padres||+5000|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+12500|
|San Francisco Giants||+15000|
|Kansas City Royals||+25000|
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Starting with Opening Day on July 24, baseball’s 30 teams will each play 60 games in just 66 days. Aside from the condensed schedule, perhaps the biggest difference this season is that clubs will only play opponents within their geographical region. (East vs. East, West vs. West, Central vs. Central.)
This could spell trouble for teams in competitive divisions, such as the Braves (+2200), Mets (+2500), Phillies (+4000), and defending-champion Nationals (+3000), who will all be forced to battle it out in the NL East with fewer games against the senior circuit’s weaker clubs.
Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer will probably face each other on the regular the way they’ll set up the divisions.
There’s gonna be some nights the Yankees will have an aces blood bath. pic.twitter.com/7n0qh6Sodj
— Joe Randazzo (@Yankeelibrarian) June 23, 2020
However, keep in mind that these teams, as well as the AL-favorite Yankees (+450), will get plenty of matchups against bottom-feeders such as the Blue Jays (+12500), Orioles (+30000), and Marlins (+40000).
Also note that while there was chatter about expanding the playoff field from 10 teams to 16, the owners and players couldn’t agree on the details, so we’re looking at the usual postseason format (two wild cards and five teams per league) this October.
LOOK FOR TEAMS WITH PITCHING
The average winning percentage of the worst playoff team in each league over the past five seasons is .549 — that’s 33-27 over 60 games. This means there will likely be 20+ franchises fighting for a spot in the postseason as we enter the September stretch run.
Fewer games and a tight playoff race will only magnify the importance of pitching as clubs with star aces and deep starting rotations will have a better chance to string together wins and stop potential skids.
For this reason, Washington (+3000) seems undervalued despite losing third baseman Anthony Rendon in free agency. As teams found out last October, it’s hard to beat a club with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and Anibal Sanchez.
Trevor Bauer vs. Aubrey Huff is the baseball Twitter war no one needed https://t.co/J9uWpM3EFw pic.twitter.com/oWvdDOVS7o
— New York Post (@nypost) June 23, 2020
The Tampa Bay Rays (+2800) also have a loaded staff with 2018 AL Cy Young Award-winner Blake Snell, Charlie Morton (who finished third in award-voting last year) and Tyler Glasnow, one of our favorite bets for the Cy Young in 2020.
Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s (+2200) could pen the script for Moneyball 2: Flattening the Curve if A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo live up to the hype in their rookie seasons on the mound.
And don’t count out the triumvirate of Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and the always outspoken Trevor Bauer. They could make the Cincinnati Reds (+3000) a surprise contender this season.