3 World Series Favorites to Avoid Betting: Murky NL Central Makes Reds, Cardinals Problematic …

Jordan Hicks masking

The St. Louis Cardinals are among the top-13 teams featured in current 2020 World Series odds, but there are reasons to stay away from them. Photo via @RobRains (Twitter).
  • Currently, there are 14 MLB teams with +2600 odds or better to win the 2020 World Series
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites at +380
  • In the article below, find out who among the league’s title contenders you should steer clear of

Identifying which teams will not win the World Series might seem like a funny task, because you’ll be right 29 out of 30 times (try finding those odds at a sportsbook).

But what’s actually happening here is that we’re trying to derail the hype train on some of the title contenders, so you as a bettor can make the most informed choice possible when reviewing the 2020 World Series odds.

Here’s a look at the teams with the shortest current odds, followed by analysis on three teams you should avoid betting on.

2020 World Series Odds

Team Odds
Los Angeles Dodgers +380
New York Yankees +400
Houston Astros +800
Atlanta Braves +1400
Minnesota Twins +1500
Tampa Bay Rays +1700
Washington Nationals +1800
New York Mets +1800
Cleveland Indians +2300
Cincinnati Reds +2500
Oakland Athletics +2500
Philadelphia Phillies +2500
Chicago Cubs +2600
St. Louis Cardinals +2600

Odds taken July 16th

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds stick out like a sore thumb on this odds list. Do you know when they last made the playoffs? 2013. Do you know when they last won a playoff series? 1995!

Of course, history isn’t everything. Cincinnati is on the rise, after adding some offensive punch in the offseason (Nicholas Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama) and with the expectation that a rotation featuring Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo will be potent.

But they might not even get out of their own division.

The NL Central is shaping up to the be the deepest division in baseball — there are no juggernauts, per se, but four very capable teams…as well as the Pirates.

There is also some cause for concern with Reds star Joey Votto, a 36-year-old whose OPS was below league average for the first time in his career. Perhaps a decline is finally coming for the Canadian slugger.

Cincinnati’s total lack of playoff experience, paired with their dart board of a division, makes them a terrifying bet this year.

2020 Cy Young Odds Tracker

St. Louis Cardinals

Let’s start with the obvious, which is that St. Louis is in the same division as the Reds, the daunting and murky NL Central. Also featured in that division are the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers, creating a situation with four very capable teams.

For context, consider that Fangraphs projects win totals for each MLB team. Here are its projections for the NL Central: Brewers (32), Cubs (32), Cardinals (31), Reds (31), Pirates (27).

As a bettor, I’d want no part of that. You can’t win the World Series if you don’t make it out of your division!

Another qualm with the Cardinals is that flamethrowing closer Jordan Hicks recently opted out of the 2020 season. Hicks had a 3.14 ERA and 14 saves in 15 chances last year before undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Houston Astros

If you’re surprised to see the Astros on here, I get it. The Astros are a great team! They won the World Series in 2017 and were a few innings away from winning again in 2019.

But guess what? They lost baseball’s best pitcher in free agency. Gerrit Cole now pitches for the New York Yankees, the rightful favorite to win the AL pennant.

Houston has also seen teams in its own division bulk up a bit, as the Angels added Anthony Rendon (and have two-way wonder-kid Shohei Ohtani back healthy) and the Athletics are watching Marcus Semien emerge as a legitimate MVP candidate.

Yes, Houston still has Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke to led the way for the pitching staff. But those guys are 37 and 36, respectively. When does the decline begin?

Don’t get me wrong: Houston is still very much in contention for a title. But their path will be tougher this year than it was last year.

And since part of the consideration in this article is value, their +800 odds are a bit uninspiring compared to, say, the Nationals, who won it all last year and sit at a relatively-distant +1800.

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