2018 Baseball Playoffs Betting Odds
Which of the five MLB teams still in the hunt for a World Series championship should you trust most? Let’s figure it out together. The following analysis will include:
- Complete MLB playoff betting odds
- Analysis on every remaining team
- Picks for ongoing Yankees-Red Sox series
- World Series predictions
2019 World Series Odds
All World Series odds come via Bovada and are current as of Monday, October 8. Make sure you’re confirming these lines before placing a bet, as they will move—especially at the conclusion of the Yankees-Red Sox series ahead of the ALCS and NLCS.
Houston Astros (+260)
It should come as no surprise that the Houston Astros are laying the best World Series odds. They won last year’s championship and were billed as favorites by many experts entering this season. After making quick work of the Cleveland Indians, there’s very little reason to think that they’ll slow down.
To wit: According to Baseball-Reference’s Simple Rating Systems (SRS), which ranks squads based on run differential and their strength of schedule, the Astros finished the regular season as MLB’s top club by a wide margin. That they’ve thus far lived up to the hype on the most important stage should only give you more confidence in them as they prepare to wage battle in the ALCS.
Los Angeles Dodgers (+350)
Although the Los Angeles Dodgers are in an odds deadlock with the Milwaukee Brewers, they should actually own the second-best line on their own.
We’ll have more on the Brewers in a second, but for now, all that matters is the Dodgers’ strong pitching and overall savvy defense. The 3.7 runs they allowed per game during the regular season ranked second among all teams, behind only the Astros. And the Dodgers floated this standing without facing an overwhelmingly easy schedule.
Tack on their fairly strong offensive numbers, and Los Angeles’ finest have a real shot at emerging as World Series champs.
Milwaukee Brewers (+350)
Kudos to the Brewers for making it this far. They deserve heaps of praise. But their season represents a master class in the value of luck.
Baseball-Reference uses a metrick called Pythagorean Luck to determine how fortunate a given team was during their schedule. In essence, it shows the difference between their actual winning percentage and their projected winning percentage according to their statistical performance. The Brewers’ record of 96-67 registers as the third-largest variance from statistical forecasts.
And good for them! But it’s tough to see this lucky streak extending beyond the NLCS. Whereas the Dodgers are a superpower, the Brewers have the look and feel of a happy-to-be-here dark horse.
Boston Red Sox (+450)
History suggests the Boston Red Sox will advance past the New York Yankees. They hold a 2-1 series lead in the ALDS, and teams that win two of the first three games tend to skate into the ALCS.
To reach the World Series, though, the Red Sox would need to take down the Astros. It’s hard to imagine that happening. Sure, SRS ranks Boston as MLB’s second-best squad, but the gap between them and Houston (0.3) is about the same as the chasm separating the seventh-place Atlanta Braves from the 14th-place Tampa Bay Rays.
If nothing else, the Red Sox just don’t have the pitching depth to hold up versus an offense as strong as the Astros’ attack.
New York Yankees (+500)
Feel free to buy into the Yankees upsetting the Red Sox in the ALDS. You’ll get more than even money for your gamble, and a comeback is not completely outside the realm of possibility.
Picking the Yankees to reach, let alone win, the World Series is a different story. They’re not built to beat the Astros. Not yet. They have the offense to knock around Houston’s pitching, but their own pitching staff, while above league average, has been spotty.
Even if they do by some stroke of luck reach the World Series, the Yankees could still have the Dodgers to go through. And Los Angeles’ balance rivals that of Houston. We recommend steering clear of New York’s odds or only treating them as a long-shot dark horse.
World Series Prediction
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. This is to say: The Astros are our World Series pick.
Rolling with the odds-on favorite is sort of a cliche. We get it. But the Astros have almost zero weaknesses on their roster. They finished first in the league in earned run average and field a top-five offense in terms of runs scored per game.
Boston could pose a threat in the ALCS. Ditto for Los Angeles in the World Series. But balance tends to prevail in a postseason setting, and no team sports more top-shelf balance than the reigning champs.
World Series Pick: Houston Astros (+260)
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