Summer is winding down. Fall is on the horizon. That can mean only one thing for Major League Baseball: The playoff race is heating up, and the championship field is starting to take a more definitive shape. And that, by extension, makes now a good time to drop our latest 2021 MLB World Series best bets and picks.
We begin, like always, by looking at the latest World Series Odds, courtesy of Bovada:
Always make sure you're rechecking these MLB betting odds. They will move at Bovada and all of the top online sportsbooks as the regular season nears its end and the playoffs begin.
2021 World Series Predictions
While there are other stages of the MLB postseason you can still wager on, such as who will win the Wild Card spots, our focus here is solely on the best options to take home the World Series trophy.
We have already covered the 2021 MLB pennant betting picks as well as some of the individual awards. This space is for championship contenders only. And you have quite a bit of good ones from which to choose.
Should the Los Angeles Dodgers be World Series Favorites?
It took acquiring two superstars midseason, one of the league's highest payrolls, a slump from some of their competitors, and much more time than people expected, but the Los Angeles Dodgers (+350) are back to being MLB's foremost juggernaut.
Granted, this didn't change much on the betting front. The Dodgers opened as World Series favorites at sportsbooks and haven't moved out of that spot all year. That's what happens when you're a defending champ who remains reasonably good and play in a flagship market.
As of now, the San Francisco Giants (+900) have a slightly better record, but the Dodgers profile as the traditionally more dangerous team. They have one of the league's best pitching staffs, and their offense has been out of this world at times. They are third in runs scored per game, and their run differential for the season is more than 40 runs in front of the second-best team.
We would stop short of calling the Dodgers a formality. (More on this soon.) But we'd be foolish not to view them as a genuine threat and deserving odds-on favorite.
Better Bet: Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, or Chicago White Sox?
It has become exceedingly difficult to spot the obvious World Series favorite to come out of the American League. A lot has changed throughout the pecking order as the season wears on.
Oddsmakers have given the nod to MLB's most surprising team of the year, the Tampa Bay Rays (+450). They weren't expected to own the AL's top record at any point this season, let alone on the verge of entering the playoffs. And their offense has been dynamite. They don't belt a lot of home runs, but they lead all of MLB in runs scored per game.
Still, for a team with a questionable pitching staff and undefined power, their +450 feels like an exaggeration. We'd much rather burn our money on the Chicago White Sox (+550) for the prospect of a better return. They rank fifth in on-base plus slugging percentage and have seen their pitching improve over the second half of the schedule.
All of that said, for the sheer value of what they're laying, we find ourselves drawn to the New York Yankees (+900). Yes, it's a cliche to go with a big market. But they've really come on after a topsy-turvy start to the year.
Most impressive of all, their offense still has room to grow. The Yankees have been middle of the road on that side of the plate while the pitching staff turns in the fourth-best ERA of the season. Teams with a top-seven record seldom have so much room to hit their stride. The Yankees are unique in both that feature and their bettor-friendly price.
Better Bet: San Francisco Giants or San Diego Padres?
After the Dodgers, the Giants (+900) are most commonly labeled as the best team in baseball. Some even have them ahead of the Dodgers. They statistically have the second-best pitching staff to go with a top-five offense.
The San Diego Padres (+3500), conversely, have seen their stock crater. Injuries haven't helped, but their offense is underachieving. They are barely top 10 in runs scored per game and rank in the bottom half of the league in slugging percentage. What's more, they don't have the pitching staff necessary to float such struggles on offense.
To be honest, we remain intrigued by them. They were our World Series pick at one point. It's not every day you can get a threat on their level at 35-to-1 so late into the season. For that value alone, we'd rather invest in them over the Giants.
2021 World Series Pick
Our World Series pick has changed many times. It's been that type of season. The more information we have, the more we waffle.
Currently, we are most intrigued by a team we haven't yet mentioned: The Houston Astros (+600). They boast the right combination of potential payout and a proven track record. Their offense remains terrifying. They are first in on-base plus slugging percentage. And after a slow start, their pitching staff has creeped all the way up to fifth in ERA.
Many think the Dodgers are more balanced. We slightly disagree. Houston has a higher upside on offense than Los Angeles and is only slightly behind in the pitching staff race. They win our World Series affections...for now.
OSB Prediction: Houston Astros (+600)
Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your MLB betting: