As usual, there surely will be a mad scramble to win the World Series this season with the Houston Astros and New York Yankees listed as co-favorites to win the crown on the futures boards at DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet, and Westgate SuperBook.
Houston is at +700 on the Westgate board and the Yankees have that number at DraftKings and on the Westgate site.
The LA Dodgers (+800 DraftKings) had the shortest odds at +500 when numbers were first posted last fall. But that changed as key players exited Los Angeles.
Said Johnny Avello, DraftKings Director of Sports and Race Operations: “The Dodgers lost a few good pieces, such as (outfielder) Cody Bellinger and (shortstop) Trea Turner. Plus San Diego is catching up on them in the division. The Dodgers, though, are still one of the favorites, just not a prohibitive favorite.”
Other teams high on the futures charts are the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, and San Diego Padres.
Nowhere close to being so high are the Washington Nationals in the NL and the Oakland Athletics in the AL — they have the longest odds.
World Series Odds: Astros (Defending Champion), Yankees, Dodgers, and Mets Among the Favorites To Win It All
Here are the odds to win 2023 World Series from the top US sports betting apps. It is always recommended to shop around various sportsbooks to find the best prices for your bets and to take advantage of multiple sportsbook bonuses. The Astros, Yankees, Dodgers, and Mets are among the favorites to win it all.
The defending division champion Yankees, who squeezed past Cleveland in last year’s divisional playoff round as the second seed but then were swept in four games by Houston in the ALCS, are the clear choices to prevail in the East.
Their odds have shortened from +900 thanks in large part to re-signing free-agent slugger Aaron Judge early in the offseason. The 2022 AL MVP had a league-record 62 homers for a team that led the majors in that category with 254.
A key addition for New York is left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon, who has excelled for San Francisco (2022) and the Chicago White Sox (2021) the past two years, going a combined 27-13 with a 2.67 ERA. Plus, he allowed only 12 homers in 178 innings last year, which is important considering the short left-field porch at Yankee Stadium. He’s a significant upgrade over departed RHP Jameson Taillon (to Chicago Cubs).
Righty Gerrit Cole, entering his 11th season, remains the ace but will need to cut back on giving up homers. He yielded a career-high 33 last season, which was the second most in baseball.
Next among East teams are the Toronto Blue Jays (+1500 FanDuel), who were second-place finishers in the division in 2022 with MLB’s best batting average (.264). They earned the top Wild Card berth.
Like the Yankees, they also were at +900 when odds were first revealed at DraftKings, but that number has lengthened in part because of the departure of RHP Ross Stripling (10-4, 3.01) and right fielder Teoscar Hernandez, who hit 25 HRs last season for a team whose long-ball production dropped by 62 over the previous season.
But Toronto did add veteran RHP Chris Bassitt, a former Oakland A’s dynamo who worked for the Mets last season.
The Tampa Bay Rays, who have qualified for the postseason in the past four seasons, are next on the boards (+2500 FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet), followed by Baltimore (+8000 BetMGM), and Boston (+10000 FanDuel).
The Rays have an outstanding one-two pitching punch in lefty Shane McClanahan (who had MLB’s third-best WHIP last year at 0.93) and RHP Tyler Glasnow (who missed almost all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery). Thanks to them, TB seems worthy of being a contender. The Rays also will be counting heavily on star shortstop Wander Franco to stay healthy and spearhead the attack.
The Orioles, who stood 11 games under .500 last June and at one point were listed as 2000-1 shots to win the Series at the Westgate, were one of the league’s biggest surprises. By mid-August, they had moved into one of the Wild Card slots but couldn’t finish the job, finishing three games from the postseason.
They are widely acknowledged as having the best farm system in baseball, but that’s probably not going to pay off this year.
As for Boston, which crash-landed with a 36-53 mark in the final three-plus months of 2022, it took a hit with the loss of shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who was MLB’s sixth-leading hitter last year and who’s now in San Diego. Slugger Trevor Story (elbow surgery) is likely to miss at least most of the season. The starting pitching could hold them back, too.
The Cleveland Guardians, who had the youngest roster in baseball last season, were runaway winners in the division thanks to their 24-6 mark in the final month that gave them an 11-game cushion over the Chicago White Sox. Much credit goes to a bullpen that ranked fifth in ERA.
They then stifled Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round and gave the Yankees a fight in the ALCS. Yet the Westgate lists them at +4000 on its futures board, which is the longest odds for any defending division titlist.
“That’s a reflection of having so many good teams above them in the American League,” said Jay Kornegay, EVP of SuperBook Sports Operations at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino. “There’s three in the AL East and then there’s Houston. They are just outside the top tier.”
The White Sox, who won the Central in 2021, have seen their odds lengthen to +3500 (DraftKings) after DK had them at +1400 to open. Longtime Kansas City coach Pedro Grifol has replaced Tony LaRussa as manager and takes over a team that was relatively quiet on the free-agent market. They did sign Mike Clevinger, a right-handed starter, but now he’s under investigation by MLB over allegations.
Then come the Minnesota Twins (+5000 PointsBet), who might have the best value in this division. Although they finished 14 games behind Cleveland last season, they were tied for first in the Central on Sept. 4 before succumbing to a plethora on injuries — especially to the pitching staff. Re-signing shortstop Carlos Correa was a key move, but he’ll need to stay healthy.
The long shots in the division are the Detroit Tigers (+16000 DraftKings) and the Kansas City Royals (+20000 DraftKings).
The Tigers lacked punch last year, scoring the fewest runs in the majors and did little to improve in the offseason. The Royals, meanwhile, gave up the most runs in the AL and will need more pitching help than just re-signing 39-year-old Zack Greinke. Maybe the Royals will be worth a small wager when their odds inevitably lengthen before the start of the season. They do have some nice young hitters led by Bobby Witt Jr.
The Astros, seeking their third straight division title, are coming off a season in which they finished 16 games ahead of second-place Seattle, which got the final AL Wild Card.
Houston not only plowed to a 106-win season and beat out New York for the top seed by seven games, but also went 11-2 in the postseason. Included was a no-hit victory against Philadelphia in the World Series.
This year, they’ll be operating without AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander (to the Mets), whose 1.75 ERA and 0.83 WHIP were far and away tops in the majors. But, lefty Framber Valdez (17-6, 2.82) should ably step up with RHP Cristian Javier in the No. 2 slot.
At the plate, it’s hard to beat the combo of Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve. They were two of only four players in the majors last year to bat at least .300 and hit 28 or more homers (Alvarez bashing 37 and Altuve 28).
The Mariners (+1800 Westgate) are fresh off their first playoff appearance since 2001 and knowing they were a tough out for the Astros in the divisional round, falling in Game 1 on a walk-off homer in the ninth inning and losing the finale in 18 innings.
Julio Rodriguez heads the attack. He hit 28 homers in his AL Rookie of the Year season in center field despite playing in only 132 games. On the mound, ace Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert lead a solid staff that ranked eighth overall in ERA.
Next up are the LA Angels (+5000 DraftKings, Westgate) and the Texas Rangers (+5000 FanDuel, Bet MGM, PointsBet, Westgate).
The Angels are always a threat as long as they have pitcher/slugger Shohei Ohtani and star center fielder Mike Trout. Last season, it looked like it was their year when they led the West by 2.5 games in early May. But then came a free fall that eventually dropped them to 33 games behind Houston and 13 games off the Wild Card pace.
The Texas Rangers have nice odds and in the offseason hired three-time world champion manager Bruce Bochy to guide a team that had four guys with more than 25 home runs, led by shortstop Corey Seager’s 33. In free agency, they beefed up a mediocre starting staff with the additions of ex-Mets standout Jacob deGrom and Nathan Eovaldi from Boston.
The Rangers are clearly an attractive long shot to make a run at a Wild Card and then make noise in the postseason.
And then come the Athletics, who have been conducting a fire sale for the past year and have odds of (+200000) at the Westgate. After earning a Wild Card berth in 2021, they lost 102 games last year.
“I don’t really remember anyone having odds that high this early,” said Kornegay. “Usually you see that later in the season.”
Read: AL MVP odds
This appears to be the most competitive division in the National League, with defending champion Atlanta, the Mets, and the pennant-winning Philadelphia Phillies in the fray.
The Braves (+1000 FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet) will be seeking their sixth-straight division crown after going 101-61 and beating out the Mets (+800 Westgate) via tiebreaker for last year’s East title.
The Mets have gone bonkers spending money in the offseason, especially on pitching. They already had standout RHP Max Scherzer and now have added AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander for a big-time top of the rotation. On top of that, they added a lefty to the mix by acquiring starter Jose Quintana, who was with St. Louis. This should more than makeup for the free-agent loss of Jacob deGrom.
That rotation, plus standout closer Edwin Diaz, is supported by first baseman Pete Alonso (who had 40 homers last year) and second baseman Jeff McNeil (the league’s batting champion with a .326 mark).
Atlanta didn’t do much in free agency except to see shortstop Dansby Swanson leave for the Chicago Cubs.
At least this season they’ll have a healthy Spencer Strider returning after missing time late in the season (including playoffs) with an oblique injury. He’ll again join ace LHP Max Fried on a deep staff.
Then there’s the Phillies (+1700 DraftKings), who were eight games under .500 entering June last year, fired veteran manager Joe Girardi, replaced him with bench coach Rob Thomson, and then took off to earn the NL’s last Wild Card with an 87-75 mark.
In no other division are there three teams whose Series odds are shorter than +2500.
Making the Phillies more attractive this year than last is the acquisition of star Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner to a lineup that already includes former league MVP Bryce Harper (the hero of their NLCS triumph over San Diego) and All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto (who’s also a threat on the bases). But, they’ll need their improved bullpen to play as it did in the postseason.
Next on the board are the Miami Marlins (+10000 FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet) and Washington (+100000 Westgate).
Analysts have said Miami has the pitching to win behind ace Sandy Alcantara (14-9, 2.28), but is short a few hitters. The Nationals, meanwhile, need some instant help from the improving farm system to be a playoff contender in this tough division.
The best value? Since the Mets have a history of seeing their starting pitchers be sidelined time after time, the Phillies seem to be the best choice.
The St. Louis Cardinals (+2500 FanDuel, BetMGM, Westgate) have the shortest odds in this group as they seek to repeat as champions in the NL’s weakest overall division. Their rivals finished a collective 80 games below .500.
It remains to be seen, though, how the Cardinals respond without veteran catcher Yadier Molina and slugger Albert Pujols, who retired after St. Louis’ Wild Card round loss to the Phillies.
St. Louis did fill the hole left by Molina by signing free-agent catcher Willson Contreras, formerly of the Cubs. He’ll join an attack led by third baseman Nolan Arenado and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who combined for 65 homers and 218 RBIs last year.
It seems the Cardinals could use an extra power pitcher or two after having the fewest strikeouts last season.
The Milwaukee Brewers (+4000 across the board) finished one game out of the Wild Card mix and are thought highly of by DraftKings’ Avello. But apparently not by the betting public.
“Milwaukee looks to be better this year, but we haven’t taken too many bets on them,” he said. Milwaukee’s odds were at +2000 in the fall and have gradually lengthened.
Then come the Chicago Cubs at +8000 (DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Westgate) and a pair of teams that lost 100 games in 2022: the Cincinnati Reds (+30000 Westgate) and Pittsburgh Pirates (+5000 Westgate).
This offseason, the Cubs went shopping for veteran hitters with a championship pedigree during free agency by getting shortstop Dansby Swanson from Atlanta, Trey Mancini from Houston, and Cody Bellinger from the Dodgers. Those guys can help the Cubs make a lot of noise this season. After all, without them last year, Chicago went 6-0 against the pennant-winning Phillies.
At this stage, let’s hold off talking about the Reds and Pirates until they can at least play .500 ball in the first month or two.
Just like last season, the Dodgers and Padres (+1100 DraftKings) top the futures chart in this division with no one else within shouting distance — at least for now.
Although the Dodgers lost a pair of potent bats in free agency (Cody Bellinger and Trea Turner), their rotation is stupendous.
Lefty Julio Urias (17-7, 2.16), LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-3, 2.28), and Tony Gonsolin (16-1, 2.14 but 0-1 in the All-Star Game and 0-1 in the playoffs) lead the way. But LA shouldn’t expect much from the pickup of RHP Noah Syndergaard, who has lost a lot of his velocity and was used by the Phillies in the postseason only in desperation.
Meanwhile, San Diego has formed one of the standout batting orders in the league. They already had Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr., but this offseason signed free-agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who was Boston’s leading hitter last season.
No longer should the Padres be intimidated when facing the Dodgers. Despite going 5-14 against them in the regular season last year and being outscored 109-47, they KO’d the Dodgers in four games in the divisional round.
The San Francisco Giants are next (+8000 Westgate), followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks (+14000 DraftKings), and the Colorado Rockies (+35000 DraftKings).
As for the Giants, they slipped significantly last season after winning a franchise-record 107 games in 2021. They wound up at 81-81. At least they made an effort to improve in free agency this offseason, getting the Mets’ Michael Conforto and adding moundsmen Sean Manaea from San Diego and Ross Stripling from Toronto.
With Arizona, maybe if the Diamondbacks were in the Central Division they’d have a better chance of success with a steady of diet of games versus Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, but not in this group. Plus, there’s only so much pitching sensation Zac Gallen can do.
In the fall, the Rockies were listed at +8000 but accomplished little during free agency. Their odds have zoomed longer and longer.
Longshots Have Produced Big Payoffs in the Past
Since expansion began in 1961, there have several longshots that contended deep into the season/postseason for the championship over the years. Not all of them prevailed in the end, but many won pennants or led the league in wins, which made for a rollicking summer.
Some of the best odds were available for those teams in the mid-to-late season.
The first out-of-nowhere longshot came in 1967 with the Boston Red Sox, who hadn’t had a winning season since 1958 when Ted Williams was there. They wound up winning the AL pennant at 100-1 before losing in the World Series to St. Louis in seven games.
Two years later came the Miracle Mets. They had 100-1 World Series odds to open, but written accounts indicated the number skyrocketed to 1000-1 during the season. That’s probably because early on, they were only 21-23 and already nine games behind in the NL East race.
A fun close call took place in 1984 when the Twins, who finished 29 games off the AL West pace the year before, went off at 120-1 for the pennant and 250-1 for the Series. No one got to cash a ticket on them, but with a 5.5-game lead in late August, it had to be a thrill ride for their backers.
In 1991, the Twins were involved again as a big longshot, climbing to 500-1 during the season by some published accounts. This time, they pulled off a world championship at the expense of the long-forlorn Braves, who had preseason odds of 250-1.
The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays paid off for bettors on the AL pennant race at 125-1 odds. Their number was 300-1 for the Series and they were favored to beat Philadelphia but fell short.
Then comes the mother of all longshots, which is an extreme example that futures bettors should keep their eyes open until the toe tags are placed on teams.
On Sept. 12, 2011, the Cardinals were languishing 6.5 games behind in the NL Central and 5.5 from the only Wild Card with 17 days remaining in the season. That morning, a bettor wagered $250 at 500-to-1 odds at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on St. Louis to win the pennant. He also put up $250 at 999-to-1 for the World Series. He collected on both for a total of $375,000.
Then of course, in the 2021 preseason, somehow the Giants unbelievably were briefly 150-to-1 for the NL pennant and 300-1 to win the World Series at the Westgate. They finished with a franchise-record mark of 107-55 before losing in the division series. Like the 1984 Twins, it had to be quite a ride for Giants bettors, who might still have cashed in with some hedge bets.
Even the world champion Braves that season were available at 50-to-1 odds as late as August before their late-season surge.