Dodgers, Not Astros, Favored to Win 2018 World Series

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Matthew Jordan

Sunday, October 22, 2017 9:21 PM GMT

Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 9:21 PM GMT

The 2017 World Series is in the books -- congrats to the Houston Astros for their first championship. Let's already look toward next season with 2018 title odds from BetOnline.

The Los Angeles Dodgers opened as -160 favorites at BetOnline to beat the Houston Astros (+140) in the 2017 World Series, but the Astros won their first-ever championship in seven games. Houston Strong! Good for that city in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

The site already has posted odds for the 2018 Fall Classic, too, and the Dodgers are +450 favorites there.

And they should be.

The only big-name Dodgers player who is a free agent is starting pitcher Yu Darvish, acquired at the trade deadline from the Texas Rangers. Many believe that Darvish will re-sign with the Dodgers – no team other than the Yankees can spend like the Dodgers. Darvish may have cost himself some money with a terrible World Series, though. Other free agents include outfielders Andre Ethier and Curtis Granderson (a trade addition from the Mets) and second baseman Chase Utley. So no big deal.

Don’t be surprised if L.A. also wins the bidding rights to Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, who is coming to the majors in 2018 from Japan. The 23-year-old is a great pitcher and hitter. Yes, the Dodgers are limited to a $300,000 threshold for a signing bonus for Otani, while other teams could spend millions more. However, there are ways around that. With a core of Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers are going to be great for a while.

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The Astros, the first team to reach the World Series from both the American and National League, are +600 on the 2018 MLB futures. No team has repeated since the  Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000. Houston was by far the best offensive team in baseball during the regular season and will have ace pitcher Justin Verlander for the entire 2018 campaign instead of just a few months. Houston’s only prominent free agent is 40-year-old DH Carlos Beltran, and he’s just a platoon guy at this point in his stellar career. One advantage that Houston has in free agency is no state income taxes, which can make quite a difference. California, meanwhile, has among the highest taxes in the country and its marginal income tax rate of 13.3 percent is the highest state income tax rate in the USA. Hey, even millionaires like to save money.

The Yankees are +700 with the Cubs and Indians at +750. Chicago, knocked out in five games by the Dodgers in the NLCS, has some holes to fill with starting pitchers Jake Arrieta (free agency) and John Lackey (probably retiring) most likely goners. Closer Wade Davis is a free agent as well, and the Cubs bullpen needs an overhaul after struggling mightily in these playoffs. The Cubbies might have to trade someone like Kyle Schwarber to land arms.

I guarantee you the network honks at Fox TV were rooting for the Yankees to beat the Astros in the ALCS as a New York-Los Angeles World Series would have been ratings gold. The Bombers of course lost in seven games, but they are loaded for the future with young stars like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino – plus a stacked farm system. The Yankees do have to address the free agency of pitchers CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka (assuming Tanaka exercises his opt-out clause).

Cleveland has the longest title drought in baseball, last winning it all in 1948. The Tribe were the AL pennant betting favorites entering the 2017 playoffs but blew a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 ALDS against the Yankees. The Indians’ top free agents are first baseman Carlos Santana, outfielder Jay Bruce and reliever Bryan Shaw. They also have lost highly-regarded pitching coach Mickey Callaway, who is the new manager of the Mets. Cleveland led the majors in ERA this past season.

The long shots for the 2018 World Series? Anyone for a Tigers vs. Padres Fall Classic! Both are priced at +15000.

Needless to say, all of these odds will change during the winter, but that’s where we stand for now.

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