2016 MLB World Series Odds: Can the Royals Repeat?
With the 2016 MLB season right around the corner in April, now is a good time to start thinking about throwing some money down on this year’s World Series champion, among other bets.
The volatility of baseball kept the team with the best record last year – St. Louis Cardinals – from winning it all, and instead MLB crowned the Kansas City Royals as the league’s champion.
Kansas City fought through some injuries and some suspect pitching to return to the scene of the crime, as they had lost the 2014 World Series. Can they repeat? Are the Cardinals again a threat? Will the New York Mets (last year’s runner-up) storm back like the Royals and claim a title of their own?
One of those notions could come true, or we’ll see a brand new champion that we never saw coming. It all starts somewhere, so join us as we take a look at the main MLB betting options going into the season. We’ll provide our analysis and picks and you can take it from there:
AL/NL Pennant Odds
AL Top Contenders: Kansas City Royals (5/1), Toronto Blue Jays (11/2), Boston Red Sox (6/2), Houston Astros (6/2) and Texas Rangers (8/1)
Kansas City is your defending champ, so it makes good sense that they’re the leading favorite to make it out of the AL in 2016. That doesn’t guarantee it, but if they did, it’d mark their third straight trip to the World Series.
Toronto will surely have something to say about that, as they have what is probably the best offense in the league. Then again, they lost David Price, really didn’t replace him and have what amounts to a fairly suspect defense, overall.
Boston is the team that got Price and revamped their pitching, while they boast an offense that can rival Toronto (or anyone). If Price is the real deal and Boston’s defense is better, they’re a legit threat to steal the AL East and quite possibly the World Series (more on that in a bit).
Houston and Texas were hanging around last year and both were in contention for the AL West, with the Rangers taking the division by two games. We can probably expect a similar race again this year, with both teams sneaking into the playoffs, yet again. Both have strong arguments, but Texas has the more consistent offense and Houston easily has the more top-heavy pitching. Of the two, however, the Astros look like a more complete contender.
NL Top Contenders: Chicago Cubs (9/2), New York Mets (5/1), San Francisco Giants (11/2), Washington Nationals (7/1) and Los Angeles Dodgers (8/1)
We’ll touch more on the Cubs in the World Series odds section, largely because they’re the early favorite to win it all. They’re young, they’re hip, and they’re actually quite legit, so we can’t write them off at all.
The same goes for the Mets, Giants, Nats and Dodgers. San Francisco was beaten up last year and if they’re that inconsistent again, they can’t hope to take down L.A., who remains potent offensively but will go only as far as Clayton Kershaw will take them. He’s good enough to help fend off the Giants and keep them at bay for the NL West title, but his playoff woes make him and the Dodgers marked men.
Washington is loaded with talent, but the health and immaturity associated with a ball club overly relying on Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper is a bit troubling. They’re too talented to forget about, though.
As for the Mets, they failed to take the World Series in 2015, which would have been their first since 1986. If they got out of the NL again and returned, it’d be their fifth try to win it all. There’s precedence for them to do just that.
World Series Odds
Top Contenders: Chicago Cubs (9/2), San Francisco Giants (10/1), New York Mets (11/1), Boston Red Sox (12/1) and Houston Astros (13/1)
Despite topping the AL Pennant odds for 2016, the defending champion Royals don’t make the top-five in odds to win the World Series. They’re right behind the Astros (14/1), but that is certainly interesting, to say the least.
Still, repeat champions are hard to come by, so we get what Vegas is thinking here. Instead, we’re to focus on the up and coming teams stacked with talent on offense and defense. Chicago certainly fits the bill, as they have two stud mashers in Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, not to mention one of the best pitching aces in the game in Jake Arrieta.
The Cubs are a trendy pick to start the season because they started building their momentum just at the right time last year, winning 8 straight to get into the MLB playoffs. Their stay didn’t last long, but with elite players on both sides of the spectrum, there’s little doubt as to why many peg them as the team to beat.
Of course, it’s not just the Cubs who have elite hitting and pitching. The Mets and Astros both do, as well, while New York was even in the big game to close last season. Houston snuck in as a wild card last year and possess monster hitting and top notch pitching, as well, giving both a very real chance.
The odds take a bit of a turn with the Giants and Red Sox, though. San Francisco certainly has the talent to stand back up and make noise, but they only won 84 games a year ago and are going to be in a tough division race with the mighty Dodgers, while by the looks of it, the Arizona Diamondbacks could be a team to worry about, as well.
Perhaps San Francisco’s odds are based on sheer talent, their upside when healthy or their recent success in post-season play. Whatever the case, they have the second best odds to win the World Series and we may have to take notice.
Even weirder is Boston sliding in as the fourth most likely team to win it all, and we’re talking about a Re Sox bunch that finished dead last in the AL East a year ago. This is still a tough division with the Blue Jays and Yankees, while even the Orioles and Rays can give teams fits.
That was last year, though. Boston took a gigantic leap by signing pitching ace David Price to a huge contract, while they also may have solved their closing issues by bringing in relief pitcher, Craig Kimbrel. Add that with an already potent offense, and there’s reason to believe Boston could actually live up to those gaudy odds.
All of that being said, if we have to pick one in the top five, it’s going to be the Mets. Much like the Royals the year prior, they got so close, yet finished so far away. New York is just as loaded as they were a year ago and by the end of the year, might even be better than they were last season. It could be because of another last ditch trade near mid-season, but one way or another they should have a shot at finishing what they started in 2015.
Oh, but what about the teams that don’t have the top World Series odds? There isn’t a long list of middle-of-the-pack options we need to take seriously, but it’s still fun to throw down some bets on some teams that could come out of nowhere and make a crazy run.
A few that could actually make some noise are the Arizona Diamondbacks (25/2 odds), New York Yankees (20/1), Los Angeles Angels (30/1) and Cleveland Indians.
Truth be told, there isn’t a complete contender in this mix, but all of these teams have at least one huge strength that could propel them to greatness. That, or they’re a trade or two away from rising even higher up the ranks.
The Angels have Mike Trout and that’s as good of an argument as any, but if he can get more consistency out of the rest of his offense, the Halos could actually vie for a playoff spot.
The same goes for the Diamondbacks, who are shredding right now during preseason play and certainly have the young pitching and powerful bats to make trouble in the NL West – on paper, at least. It’s the actually “doing it during the regular season” part that can be a problem.
The Indians have the pitching and will need to somehow come around offensively, while the Yanks continues to be the exact opposite, as their pitching is touch and go, yet they can compete offensively with just about anyone.
If any of those teams can round out their inconsistencies, we may have some sleeper challengers on our hands. If not, we’re probably looking at someone like the Mets, Cubs or maybe even the Royals (again) winning it all in 2016.
Think someone not even listed among the top five in World Series odds is a lock? Tell us in the comments below!
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