Six World Series Contenders Offering Value
After a strange 2020, Major League Baseball resumes a typical season, which started with Opening Day on Thursday, April 1st and ends with the World Series in October. Also, a significant player trend should end this year. In 2020, for the third consecutive year, baseball player salaries decreased. The decrease was significant, but nobody complained because 2020 was the Year of COVID. 2021 should be the season MLB salaries come roaring back.
One player trend will end. One significant sports business trend should continue. August 2020 saw the highest rise in sports betting in history.
The National Basketball Association resumed its season around that time. The National Hockey League restarted their season, and Major League Baseball threw the first pitch in late July.
With all three sports happening at once, a single state in the U.S. saw a record $668 million handle. There are no stats on how many betting dollars individually-run sportsbooks accrued.
But because of the fantastic 2020, bullishness on this year’s MLB Season has risen to feverish heights. During spring training, six teams offering decent odds showed they could win the 2021 World Series.
None of the six teams are named the Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Yankees, the two favorites to win this year’s Fall Classic. We’re not saying the Dodgers and Yankees can’t win the World Series.
But they both offer unfair odds. When it comes to sports betting, value is the most important thing to consider.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres boosted their starting rotation big time. Yu Darvish should excel at Petco Park. His 8-3 record and 2.01 ERA from last season could get a boost in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league.
San Diego also acquired Blake Snell. Last year as a Tampa Bay Ray, Snell helped the Rays make it to the World Series. Their third-best starter, Dinelson Lamet, went 3-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 2020.
The batting lineup is solid. Fernando Tatis Jr., if healthy, is the fastest rising star in baseball, Manny Machado batted .304 with 16 home runs in 60 games last season, and Eric Hosmer batted .287.
San Diego plays in the same division as the Los Angeles Dodgers, the NL West. The Padres’ first order of business is to beat their California rivals. If Lamet, Darvish, and Snell come through, they’ll have a chance because the bats should be potent from start to finish.
Ace Max Fried is a Cy Young Award contender. In 2020, Fried went undefeated with a 7-0 record. Former Ray Charlie Morton is a key addition to the rotation.
Last year, Mike Soroka, before injury, and Ian Anderson, posted ERAs below 3.00. Anderson’s ERA was 1.95.
Led by 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman, the Atlanta Braves should send one of the most feared lineups to the plate. Atlanta was a game away from winning the National League pennant in 2020.
Don’t sleep on the Braves to upset the Dodgers and whoever else they face in the postseason. Atlanta is loaded from top to bottom. If Anderson and Soroka have decent seasons, the Braves could potentially have four ace pitchers in the starting rotation.
Chicago White Sox
Giolito looked great during Spring Training, and early on in the regular season. So much so that many peg him the second-choice after the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole to win the AL Cy Young Award.
Following Giolito in the rotation is former Cy Young Award winner Dallas Kuechel. He had a 6-2 record and 1.99 ERA in 2020.
If Kuechel throws back to his Houston Astros days, he’ll be the White Sox’s second Cy Young contender. Lance Lynn is the third starter. Like Kuechel and Giolito, Lynn could win the Cy Young.
Those three starters should carry Chicago to the AL Central Division title, but the rotation isn’t what makes Chicago such a big-time World Series threat.
Jose Abreu won the AL MVP last season. In 2020, the White Sox ranked sixth in runs per game and batting average. They ranked eighth in OPS and third in total home runs. The Sox can both hit and pitch their way to a World Series berth. Even without Eloy Jimenez, their offense should be potent.
Zero betting love has gone to the Washington Nationals to win the World Series. That’s a mistake.
Juan Soto hit .351 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 60 games last season. Soto is a co-favorite with Dodger Mookie Betts to win the 2021 NL MVP Award. Starlin Castro could go back to his over .300 hitting ways, and Kyle Schwarber will add pop at the plate.
Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are at the top of the rotation. Scherzer will get a bust in Cooperstown after he retires. With a few more excellent seasons, Strasburg could as well.
Patrick Corbin, the third starter, must bounce back from a dreadful 2020. If he does, the Nationals can win the World Series again.
If Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen return to their previous MVP form, the Philadelphia Phillies could lead Major League Baseball in runs scored. Didi Gregorius, the former New York Yankee shortstop, is solid. Gregorius hit .284 last season.
Jean Segura should have a good year at the plate, and most baseball experts consider catcher J.T. Realmuto the best in the game.
The rotation is suspect, after Aaron Nola, Zach Wheeler, and Zach Eflin which is why the Phillies offer tremendous odds.
Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels’ fortunes will depend on how well Shohei Ohtani, the Halos’ designated hitter and starting pitcher, performs.
Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon will come through. Manager Joe Maddon expects Ohtani to not only perform at the plate but also on the mound.
If Ohtani blossoms into an ace pitcher, the Angels should win the AL West.
The Nationals, Phillies, and Angels can make you rich. Don’t just accept any odds, though. Do your homework.
Individual sportsbook owners who offer free bookie software using services like Pay Per Head can often provide better odds than more prominent sportsbooks. Look for the best odds possible if you like the Nats, Phills, or Halos.
Those three teams have a steep hill to climb to win the World Series. So to get rich, you must look for the best possible odds.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images