The champagne is barely dry from the 2018 World Series championship celebration, and the Commissioner’s Trophy is currently in the shop for repairs after barely surviving the duck boat parade around the streets of Boston.
Sportsbooks have released futures odds to win the 2019 title and we’re here to talk betting value outside of the top six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox are sitting as favorites for next season at 6/1 followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers (7/1), New York Yankees (7/1), Chicago Cubs (10/1), and Cleveland Indians (10/1).
Without having a full grasp on where the big-name free agents are going to land this offseason, it’s a good time to look a bit further down the odds list.
THE ENTIRE NL EAST (SANS THE MARLINS)
The Atlanta Braves made tremendous strides in 2018, winning 90 games and a division title, and are considered by most to be ahead of schedule in their total rebuild. Can they surpass 90 wins next season? They will definitely have to add some starting pitching to the rotation and a guy like Dallas Keuchel would be a really nice fit. The Braves could be ready to truly take the next step and at 12/1 the price isn’t too steep.
The Philadelphia Phillies are the next team on the futures list from the N.L. East at 14/1. They opened at 16/1 in October and have been bet down based on the rumors that they are all-in on Bryce Harper (potentially both Harper and Manny Machado). The Phillies need bats desperately and Harper appears to be the perfect answer. The Phils will also be in the starting pitching conversation on Patrick Corbin and a potential trade for Zack Greinke (as it appears the Arizona Diamondbacks are going to be selling).
The other two teams in the division worth sprinkling on are the Washington Nationals (16/1) and the New York Mets (30/1). Pessimists will scoff at these suggestions, but teams built around tremendous starting pitching are always tough opponents in a playoff series. No team will want to match up in the postseason against rotations that feature the likes of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. These two teams just need to figure out a way to get there.
The Miami Marlins are listed at 300/1 to win the 2019 World Series. Do not bet on them.
HALO MY OLD FRIEND
One of the more interesting value plays over in the American League are the Los Angeles Angels. This is a team featuring two of the most dynamic talents in all of baseball with Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. Trout has played only three postseason games in his eight seasons with the Angels and they must get better in free agency if that number is going to increase.
Obviously, not having Ohtani as a pitcher in 2019 is a big blow to their rotation. A No. 1 starting pitcher is their top priority, and if they can land a top arm through free agency or trade they have rotation depth to piece together a solid five – they are just missing a true ace.
Any bet on the Angels solely hinges on them bringing in that top-end starting pitcher, but at 40/1 they are worth a look.
MCCOVEY COVE SPLASH
Giants’ Hall of Famer Willie McCovey passed away on Halloween at the ago of 80. As a tribute to their fallen legend, the 2019 San Francisco Giants will look to add a bat to their lineup that can produce more regular splashdowns into McCovey Cove, beyond the right field boardwalk at AT&T Park.
That bat belongs to Bryce Harper.
The Giants haven’t had a left-handed slugger to pepper the pond since Barry Bonds retired, and Harper would be the perfect fit.
With a starting rotation that features arms like Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Dereck Rodriguez the Giants are one or two offensive weapons away from contending in the N.L. West. At a massive 100/1 to win the 2019 World Series, San Francisco’s futures odds will move quickly with each free agent bat added to the lineup.
SOUTH SIDE SHUFFLE
The Chicago White Sox? Yes, the Chicago White Sox.
The ChiSox opened the 2019 futures betting period at 60/1 and have been bet down to 50/1. They play in the worst division in baseball and the clear front-runner in the A.L. Central, the Cleveland Indians, appear to be in limbo as to whether they plan to retool in the offseason.
Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech will miss the 2019 season with a torn UCL, however baseball’s No. 2 overall prospect Eloy Jimenez should be up with the big club next season. Realistically, the Sox are a team to watch in 2020, but the Braves made the postseason a year ahead of schedule this past season.
With the current youth movement across baseball the accelerated rebuild may become a trend. Just get into the playoffs and anything can happen.
St. Louis Cardinals (16/1)
Colorado Rockies (30/1)
Tampa Bay Rays (40/1)
Rob Hansen is the Alerts Product Coordinator resident baseball nerd for Covers. You can follow him on Twitter @Mookie_45.