The 2013 Major League Baseball season and Winter Meetings are in our rear view mirrors. The Hot Stove season is moving forward, unless of course you are a starting pitcher being held hostage by Masahiro Tanaka and the Golden Eagles.
There are still many quality free agents available for teams to bolster their 2014 rosters. There are many talented Minor League players expecting a chance to make the big club in Spring Training. Regardless of all that, Las Vegas has posted the futures odds to win the 2014 World Series, 2014 AL Pennant, and NL Pennant. There is no guarantee that any of the 30 teams with great odds will win the World Series or even its leagues pennant. Is it smart to bet on the favorites?
It is not as simple as it may seem, in fact there are many betters that should not feel foolish taking a flier on their team regardless of odds. Of course if you were betting World Series futures from 1996-2000 you would have been smart to take the chalk New York Yankees. However, if you had taken the Minnesota Twins or Atlanta Braves in 1991 you would have been getting 150/1 to 300/1 depending on where you bet. The 2008 Tampa Rays would have given you 125/1 for winning the 2008 AL Pennant. The Anaheim Angels would have graced you with 50/1 when they won the 2002 World Series. Let’s not forget the Red Sox that started the 2013 season at 30/1. These are just a few examples of paydays that awaited shrewd bettors or hometown fans.
2014 World Series Odds (26 December 2013)
|Los Angeles Dodgers||5/1|
|St. Louis Cardinals||10/1|
|Boston Red Sox||10/1|
|Los Angeles Angels||13/1|
|New York Yankees||20/1|
|Tampa Bay Rays||20/1|
|San Francisco Giants||25/1|
|Kansas City Royals||30/1|
|Toronto Blue Jays||40/1|
|San Diego Padres||60/1|
|Chicago White Sox||60/1|
|New York Mets||100/1|
There is some early value to win the 2014 World Series as well. Of course extra free agent pickups, trades, and injuries will all impact how the season will play out there is still some great prices depending on how much you believe and how you diversify.
Pittsburgh Pirates: 25/1 to Win World Series, 12/1 to Win NL Pennant
The Pittsburgh Pirates, who returned baseball hope to a city that has been waiting a long time, are currently at 25/1 to win the World Series and 12/1 to win the NL Pennant. The Pirates are young and have a very solid core coming off of a 94 win season that ended with a post-season loss to the Cardinals in five games. Young pitching from the likes of Gerrit Cole and Jeff Locke will keep them in the mix. Then factor in Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte and they should continue to produce runs. If their upward trend continues the bettors will get a nice return on investment.
Arizona Diamondbacks: 40/1 to Win World Series, 20/1 to Win NL Pennant
The Arizona Diamondbacks are tipping the futures scales at 40/1 to win it all and 20/1 to win the NL Pennant. They faltered down the stretch and finished an even 81-81 on the season. They have a very talented young crop of pitchers including Trevor Cahill and Patrick Corbin. If they land a player like Ervin Santana to lead the crop and provide veteran leadership they can be tough. Paul Goldschmidt (who I still think should have won the NL MVP) and AJ Polluck are emerging while they also add the big bat of Mark Trumbo to the fold. They will probably finish second to the Dodgers in the NL West but if they make the playoffs there is great value here. It won’t be the first time.
Tampa Bay Rays: 20/1 to Win World Series, 9/1 to Win AL Pennant
While it is hard to like a value bet coming out of the AL East there is something to say about the Tampa Bay Rays. They are opening at 20/1 to win the World Series and 9/1 to win the AL Pennant. As Always they were close with yet another 90+ win season under their belts. They have had incredible success since they turned the corner in 2008. It appears they are keeping David Price and will continue to march out quality arms in Matt Moore and Alex Cobb. Heath Bell should serve as a serviceable closer to anchor a quality bullpen. Evan Longoria should be ready to go and the youngsters Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers will surely step forward. Myers played in 88 games last year and took home Rookie of the Year honors, expect him to step up again. Tampa Bay is probably the best price to get in the AL baring a complete shocker.
2014 AL Pennant Odds (26 December 2013)
|Boston Red Sox||9/2|
|Los Angeles Angels||6/1|
|Tampa Bay Rays||9/1|
|New York Yankees||9/1|
|Kansas City Royals||15/1|
|Toronto Blue Jays||20/1|
|Chicago White Sox||30/1|
2014 NL Pennant Odds (26 December 2013)
|Los Angeles Dodgers||9/4|
|St Louis Cardinals||9/2|
|San Francisco Giants||12/1|
|San Diego Padres||30/1|
|New York Mets||50/1|
About the Author: Adam Solowiei
Adam is a writer and opinionated personality with an affinity for MLB, Poker, Horse Racing and the game of golf. Adam is also Lifetime member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). He is devoted to providing a fact based, unfiltered analysis of the sports world.