The Los Angeles Dodgers have opened as the favorite to win the MLB championship next season, according to early 2023 World Series odds at DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet, and the Westgate SuperBook, marking the third straight year LA has been atop the odds boards when numbers were first posted.
The Dodgers (+700 at PointsBet) are followed closely by Houston and Atlanta. The Astros, who just vanquished the Philadelphia Phillies to win the 2022 crown, are available at +800 at the Westgate. The Braves’ best odds also are at +800 (DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and PointsBet).
Bringing up the rear are five squads that are offered at +10000 (100-to-1 odds) or more. And as typically happens with such longshots, their odds will lengthen before the season commences.
2023 World Series Odds, DraftKings
Let’s take a look at the teams, division by division:
The defending division champion New York Yankees (+1200 PointsBet), who beat Cleveland in this year’s divisional playoff round and then were promptly swept in four games by Houston in the ALCS, have the shortest odds among teams in this division.
Only the Astros are a bigger World Series favorite in the American League.
Next among East teams are the Toronto Blue Jays (+1500 PointsBet) on the heels of their second-place finish in the division, which earned them the top wild-card berth.
With regard to the Yankees, who knows what will happen to their odds if slugger Aaron Judge leaves in free agency? Judge was just named league MVP in a vote of the players. Longtime Yankees GM Brian Cashman wasn’t offering fans any definitive hope either, saying last week, “We’ll see how this plays out.”
The Tampa Bay Rays, which has qualified for the postseason the past four seasons, including a berth in the 2020 World Series, are next in line on the boards (+2500 FanDuel, PointsBet), followed by Boston (+5000 Westgate) and Baltimore (+5000 PointsBet).
The Baltimore Orioles, who were sellers at the summer trade deadline, were upstarts last season after falling 11 games under .500 in June before making a run that came up three wins short of earning a wild-card berth. At one point the Westgate offered odds on Baltimore winning the World Series at +200000 (2000-to-1).
The best value for next season appears to be the Boston Red Sox, who as late as June 26 had a 1.5-game lead over the wild-card field before going 36-53 the rest of the way in large part due to injuries to the mound staff and sluggers (star pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and slugger Trevor Story among them).
The Cleveland Guardians, who just won the Central by 11 games thanks to going 24-6 the final month of the season and advanced to the divisional round in the postseason, have by far the longest WS odds of any defending division champion (+5000 Westgate).
It’s the Chicago White Sox, winners of the division in 2021, who have the shortest Series odds in the division (+3000 FanDuel). On some sports betting apps, the odds are more than twice as short. The Sox are coming off a turbulent 2022 that saw them deal with key injuries and the illness of manager Tony La Russa to drop to .500, 12 victories short of their Central-leading mark in 2021.
The Minnesota Twins, which was tied for the division lead on Sept. 4 before finishing 14 games off Cleveland’s pace in third place, has especially generous odds (+6000 FanDuel). Twins pitchers spent a lot of time on the injury list last season.
The long shots out of the division are the Detroit Tigers (+8000 PointsBet) and Kansas City Royals (+9000 PointsBet).
Nice numbers abound for all squads in the Central, especially with the Guardians who had the league’s youngest team in 2022. But KC could be a nice sleeper at +9000, considering all the good-looking rookies who played late last year, led by star Bobby Witt Jr. Keep an eye on whether Royals management gives chase to add a quality veteran pitcher or two in the offseason.
The world champion Astros are coming off a 106-win regular season in which they finished 16 games clear of second-place Seattle, which earned the AL’s third wild card.
It’s a wonder Houston’s odds aren’t even shorter after their 11-2 record in the postseason, which included a no-hit victory against the Phillies in the Series.
There are also high hopes in Seattle (+2000 FanDuel) where the Mariners and 2022 rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez reached the playoffs for the first time since 2001. They gave the Astros a battle in the divisional round, too, losing Game 1 on a walk-off homer in the ninth inning and dropping the finale in 18 innings.
The odds for the LA Angels vary wildly, but the best number is currently available at the Westgate (+6000). The Angels are listed as short as +2500 elsewhere.
Although the Halos finished 33 games behind Houston and were 16 games under .500, as long as they still have slugger Mike Trout and pitcher/slugger Shohei Ohtani, there’s always hope.
The Texas Rangers (+8000 Westgate) have attractive odds and just brought in three-time world champion manager Bruce Bochy to take over a team that had four hitters with more than 25 home runs, led by Corey Seager’s 33. And word is they’ll be shopping for more talent in the offseason.
They could be a fun bet to make the postseason tournament. As we just saw with the Phillies, you don’t have to win 90 games to reach the World Series.
And finally, nope, we didn’t forget the Oakland Athletics (+20000 Westgate). But bettors probably should after their major sell-off last season that resulted in a 102-loss season and the weakest fan support in the league.
The Atlanta Braves, who just won their fifth straight division championship, have the same opening odds as they had last year following their world title.
Although they just were ousted in the divisional round by the Phillies 3-1, maybe things could have worked out differently has star RHP Spencer Strider not been sidelined by an oblique injury that resulted in him going almost four weeks without pitching before his Game 3 start vs. Philly, which resulted in a 9-1 Atlanta loss. Strider had been 4-0 against the Phils in the regular season.
In somewhat of a surprise, the New York Mets are as long as +1100 (DraftKings, BetMGM) despite coming off a 101-win season and losing out on winning the division by a tiebreaker. Their eventual ouster in the wild-card round versus the San Diego Padres surely played a role in the bloated odds.
Then come the 2022 pennant-winning Phillies (+2000 PointsBet), who had odds of +5000 in early June before making their charge to earn the final NL wild card under manager Rob Thomson.
In no other division are there three teams at +2000 or shorter for next year.
Next on the board are the Miami Marlins (+7000 FanDuel), who analysts have said have the pitching to win, but are short about three solid hitters. They made a brief charge to relevance in early summer before doing a fast fade.
The Washington Nationals are at +20000 (Westgate) and need big-time production from the farm system to become a playoff contender.
The best value? Let’s go with the chalk (Braves) since the Mets can’t be trusted to keep their starting pitchers from making trip after trip after trip to the injury list. And lightning probably won’t strike twice for the Phillies.
Defending division champion St. Louis (+2500 Westgate, PointsBet) was ousted in a dismal two-game sweep vs. Philadelphia in the wild-card round, or these odds would have been shorter. It remains to be seen how the Cardinals operate without now-retired catcher Yadier Molina and slugger Albert Pujols, who ended his career as a terror at the plate — just not in the playoffs.
The Milwaukee Brewers, who finished two games out of the wild-card mix after winning the division in 2021, are next at +3000 (Westgate, FanDuel). A lineup that had the league’s third-most homers last season could be a strong threat.
Then come the Chicago Cubs at +8000 (Westgate, BetMGM, PointsBet) and a pair of teams that lost 100 games this year: Cincinnati Reds at +12000 (FanDuel) and Pittsburgh Pirates at +20000 (Westgate).
The Cubs, who surprisingly weren’t big-time sellers at the trade deadline, would seem to be a nice long-shot bet to at least win a wild card in a relatively weak division. Phillies fans must certainly think so after watching Chicago go 6-0 vs. the NLCS champs.
Just like last season, the Dodgers and Padres (+1400) top the chart in this division.
And those odds for LA could shrink if they manage to land Judge to go along with the team’s star-studded lineup that produced 847 runs, which was 40 more than anyone else.
Fans will want to keep an eye on whether star LHP Clayton Kershaw really will come back next season, as he has mentioned, or opts to retire.
San Diego, which went 5-14 against the Dodgers in the regular season and was outscored 109-47, certainly will enter next season with a lot more confidence after wiping out LA 3-1 in the divisional round and reaching the NLCS.
And next year, the Padres will even get back 2021 NL home run champ Fernando Tatis after he serves the remaining 20 games of his PED suspension. SD’s deep run in the postseason shaved off 12 games of his original 80-game penalty.
The San Francisco Giants come next at +5000 (Westgate). They were one of the biggest disappointments of the 2022 season after their win total dropped by 26 games from 2021, matching the league-worst mark of Bay Area rival Oakland.
Bringing up the rear are pitching sensation Zac Gallen and the Arizona Diamondbacks (+7000 DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet) and the Colorado Rockies (+10000 Westgate, FanDuel).
San Diego appears to have the best value, and maybe this time they can even beat out LA in the division and have an easier route through the postseason.
A Needless Reminder
There are no guarantees when making futures wagers when dealing with heavy favorites.
For instance, the Cubs were the top choice to win the World Series in 2016, which they did in seven games vs. Cleveland. But a year earlier, the Nationals entered the season as the top choice but failed to even make the playoffs.
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 1,000-1 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, and this time they pulled off a world championship at the expense of the long-forlorn Braves, who had preseason odds of 250-1.
And 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.