Three weeks into the 2014 MLB Season and there has already been some significant line movement on MLB betting futures odds. The latest MLB futures can be found at the Sportsbook Review MLB Betting Directory, where futures market odds including the World Series Winner update in real time. This article breaks down the current best value offered for wagering MLB teams.
The biggest early season surprise for gamblers from a statistical point of view has been the Milwaukee Brewers, who lead the National League Central Division at with an 11-4 record and who also top the Money Line Standings so far at +7.86 units, based on betting one unit per game at the closing odds at Pinnacle Sports.
That hot start has caused major line movement in World Series Futures, where the Brewers opened at +6600 at Bovada and are currently down to +2500 there. Milwaukee is still available at +3300 to win the World Series at both William Hill and 888Sport, but we strongly feel that the Brewers are major underlays right now as we still feel they are only the fourth best team in their own division and thus unlikely to make the playoffs.
In fact, if you do not mind laying prohibitive odds and having your money tied up for months in a +EV wager, we actually think that there is value in Milwaukee NOT to win the National League Central at -530 at 5Dimes at the current moment!
So where do the values lie in MLB Future wagering? Well, here are three of our favorites on the betting odds to win the World Series, as well as two live longshots that appear to offer nice expected value at the current MLB odds. All references to current records are based on Pinnacle closers.
Detroit Tigers: The Tigers are available at +1000 at William Hill. Detroit is off to a slow start at 6-5 and it is actually showing a deficit of -0.53 units on the Money Line, but even that mediocre record has the Tigers atop the American League Central. This team still has many of the key pieces in place that it had last season, namely an awesome offense and great frontline starting pitching. The Achilles Heel for the Tigers last year was the bullpen, but Detroit is hoping to change that with new closer Joe Nathan and the maturation of Al Alburquerque as the setup man.
Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers can be had for +700 to win the World Series at 888Sport, and they are the betting favorites to win it all across the board. The Dodgers have withstood the injury to reigning Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw so far as they are one game behind the first place Giants in the National League West at 9-6 for +2.15 units, and the good news is that Kershaw is on track to return in Mid-May. Once that happens, Los Angeles will probably have the best all-around talent in the National League, although we still prefer the Tigers of the American League to win it all at a better price.
St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals are currently listed at +950 at 5Dimes. Remember that the Cardinals and the Dodgers squared off in the National League Championship Series last season with St. Louis prevailing to advance to the World Series vs. Boston. St. Louis now brings back basically the same starting rotation that sparkled last season and the bullpen should be better from the start now that Trevor Rosenthal is the closer from the outset. Do not be surprised to see an NLCS rematch this year but with the opposite result. Still, and these odds, the Cardinals should present some interesting hedge bets should they get that far again.
Live Value Plays
Oakland Athletics: Moving on to a couple of potential betting overlays, the Athletics are currently available at +2200 at Sports Interaction. That makes SIA one of the few sportsbooks that does not have Oakland as the favorite to win the American League West, as they have the A's as the second choice behind the Texas Rangers (+1800). Well, those two teams are already 1-2 in the division at this early stage, but it is the Athletics that lead the way by two games at 10-5 for +4.33 units, and we expect Oakland to win the division at year's end. Once that happens, these +2200 odds could present hedging possibilities as early as the ALDS. Incidentally, another play that appears to be +EV is Oakland to win the AL West at +243 available at Bookmaker.
San Francisco Giants: The Giants are +1800 to win the World Series at Ladbrokes, which looks like good value for the biggest threat to the Dodgers in the NL West and one of the favorites to make the playoffs as a wild card. As mentioned earlier, the Giants currently lead the division by one game at 10-5 for a nice profit of +5.07 units. San Francisco currently ranks seventh in the Major Leagues in runs scored and eighth in team ERA, a combination that should probably make the Giants profitable in Money Line betting all year. The pitching may have been expected, but the offense may be catching the bookmakers off guard as evidenced by the 'over' going 11-4 in all Giants' games so far.