The senior circuit has no shortage of hyper-competitive teams deserving of a 2020 MLB World Series futures bet.
However, the National League had a lot more parity than the American League in 2019.
While the American League had a lot of great teams clustered towards the top of the standings, with 5 teams recording 96 wins or more, and lots of terrible teams with 5 teams recording 70 wins or less, the National League was a different story.
The National League only had 2 teams record less than 70 wins and had lots of teams who hovered around the .500 mark. 7 of the NL teams, that’s almost half, had records within 10 games of .500.
The amount of competitive teams in the National League makes predicting a league winner more difficult. Without having a lot of really weak teams to beat up on, it’s harder to be sure the cream of the crop will easily rise to win their divisions like they will in the American League.
Even though the NL is more competitive than the AL this year, you can still make some value bets.
The following teams are either favorites to win it all or stealthy contenders who could sneak their way into a World Series title:
The Dodgers are once again favorites to win the World Series and come in at +375. The Dodgers, Yankees, and Astros are all clustered towards the top of the World Series futures odds due to the strength of their respective rosters.
The Dodgers have been a great contender for years, having now won their division 7 years in a row. Despite constantly beating up on teams within their division, they’re still waiting for their first World Series victory since 1988.
The Dodgers have come close over the last 7 years though, losing the World Series back-to-back in 2017 and 2018.
They were ousted by the Nationals in the League Division Series last year. The Nationals would go on to win the World Series last year on the strength of their starting pitching, leaving the Dodgers in the dust.
It’s hard to take the Dodger’s loss of the World Series in 2017 too hard. The Astros were found guilty of cheating during the 2017 season and punished by having their manager, A.J. Hinch, and general manager, Jeff Luhnow, suspended in addition to being fined and losing draft picks.
Losing to a team found to be cheating is just another example of the bad luck the Dodgers have had in the playoffs despite their impressive regular-season records of the last 7 years.
Regardless of their recent World Series losses, the Dodgers are still a great bet to win due to their regular-season dominance.
The Dodgers had the second-best win-loss record of the 2019 season at 106-56, trailing only the Houston Astros. However, the Astros and Dodgers both had identical Pythagereon win-loss records at 107-55.
Pythagorean records are based on cumulative runs scored and are a better indication of a team’s true talent level than the win-loss records you find in the standings. If you’re ever making season total bets, it’s wise to base your bets off Pythagorean records instead of win-loss records.T
The Dodgers also have historically great depth. Last year, they had 7 position players record seasons of 2 WAR or better, based on baseball-reference.com. WAR indicates a player’s overall contributions to a team and the Dodgers were one of the best teams last year top-to-bottom.
Cody Bellinger, a 4th round pick from the 2013 draft, led the Dodgers in position player WAR. Assuming he can continue to be a great all-around player, he can help make the Dodgers a great bet to avenge their playoff losses and win the World Series in 2020.
While the Dodgers excel with a deep roster that provides consistency from top to bottom, the Washington Nationals thrive from the strength of the top end of their team.Online sports betting sites set the odds for the National to win the World Series at +1600 this year and there are some compelling reasons to expect them to pull it off.
The Nationals just won the World Series so you may be leery of betting on them again. It’s rare that a team wins the World Series back to back— the last team to do so was the 2000 Yankees, who won the World Series 3 years in a row.
While it’s exceedingly rare for a team to repeat baseball’s highest honor, it’s just as flawed to not wager on a team because they just won the World Series as it is to wager on a team because they just won the World Series.
A better betting strategy is to make your bet based on the roster, and many of the National’s great players from the World Series run will be returning to try a repeat in 2020.
Their lineup is anchored by the young phenom Juan Soto. Soto made waves in the World Series for his antics in the batter’s box, which included a weird shuffle of his feet and lots of strange facial expressions. He’s also a fantastic hitter though.
He also has great playoff experience on his resume already. He’s shown he doesn’t flinch under the bright lights of the MLB playoffs— his postseason OPS of .927 mirrors his regular-season career total and he’s already swatted 5 postseason home runs.
While Victor Robles isn’t quite the hitter Soto is, he’s another young excellent outfielder for the team.
He plays a superb defensive centerfield, which helps support the great cast of starting pitchers the Nationals have. He’s also only 23, so he has room to improve offensively after his mediocre first full season offensive performance.
Lastly, the Nationals still have the 4 terrific starting pitchers who led them to their victory over the Astros in the 2020 World Series. While their rotation is expensive, the pitchers have all paid off.
The promising young players combined with the great pitching staff make the Nationals a good bet to win the World Series again this year. Their young outfield should continue to improve and a great pitching staff could lead them back to perform on the greatest stage.
The Cardinals are more like the Dodgers than the Nationals, depth is their calling card. They’re given odds of +2000 to win the World Series this year but they have a decent chance of pulling off the victory.
One obstacle they’ll have is playing in a very competitive division. The Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, and Reds all have odds in the top 15 of all teams to win the World Series.
The Cardinals have the best odds of all their NL Central cohorts, so they should be able to repeat last year’s division-winning season. In 2019, the Cardinals won 91 games before defeating the Atlanta Braves 3-2 in the NLDS.
However, the Cardinals were swept in the NLCS by the Washington Nationals, who would go on to win the World Series. Despite losing in the NLCS, the Cardinals were a serious threat last year and have the right players to pull off a World Series win this year.
Paul DeJong was an unheralded superstar on the Cardinals last year. He combined great defensive skills at shortstop with enough pop to hit 30 home runs. If he can continue to provide great defense up the middle, the Cardinals pitchers will get another big boost.
The depth of the Cardinals, in addition to another standout performance from DeJong, makes them a decent bet to win the World Series this year. If they can win their ultra-competitive division, they can make some noise in the playoffs.
Despite the fact that the Brewers play in the same division as the Cardinals, they’re still a good value bet based on their recent playoff history and star players.
The Brewer’s have middle of the pack playoff odds, coming in 15th out of the 30 MLB teams. Their odds are +3300, making them a great wager to really pay off if they can make it to the World Series for the first time since 1982.
The Brew Crew have made it to the playoffs for 2 years in a row, losing in the NLCS in 2018 and the NL Wildcard game in 2019, so they’ve got plenty of recent playoff experience for a team that has such long World Series odds.
MVP Christian Yellich, along with the extensive playoff experience this young team has, gives the Brewers the edge at being a great value bet given their low World Series odds.
What team will you bet on to win the World Series this year? Let us know in the comments.
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