MLB Betting: Looking for World Series Long Shots

Jason Lake

Friday, August 28, 2015 6:09 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 6:09 PM UTC

We've already taken a look at the most likely World Series contenders and their value on the futures market. Are there any good long shots to be found on the MLB odds list?

Jason's 2015 record as of August 27: 36-29, plus-7.18 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total

We've taken care of the top contenders in the American League. We've scoured the National League for betting value. Now it's time to take a gander at the tired, the poor, the hungry masses yearning to win the World Series despite their very long MLB odds. By comparing the World Series Win Percentages at Baseball Prospectus to the MLB futures market at Bovada, perhaps we can suss out some valuable long shots – or at least figure out which ones to avoid. Here are five teams of interest here at the home office.


1. San Francisco Giants (2.2 percent)
The Giants (68-59, +3.39 units at press time) have won three of the last five World Series, and they've got the best record of anyone we haven't covered yet. But they're 5.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Wild Card race, so their best chance of getting into the playoffs is to overcome the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are 2.5 games up in the NL West. Either way, at +1200 on the futures market (7.69 percent implied probability), San Francisco has no betting value here.


2. Texas Rangers (1.2 percent)
Getting into the playoffs should be much easier for the Rangers (65-61, +20.25 units). They're half a game up for the second AL Wild Card, and they've already made a ton of money against the regular season MLB odds. However, Texas is lagging behind at +2500, which works out to 3.85 percent.


3. Washington Nationals (0.9 percent)
Thanks for coming out. Despite winning four of their last five games, the Nationals (64-62, –12.05 units) are still 6.5 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East. The season isn't over yet, and Washington has all that talent, but once again, betting value is non-existent at +3300 (2.94 percent). Not a surprise considering the Nats were +900 just a month ago.


4. Tampa Bay Rays (0.7 percent)
See a theme here? You need to be +10000 or longer on the futures market once your World Series chances dip below one percent, and the Rays (63-64, –4.36 units) aren't quite there at +6600 (1.49 percent). But at least they have way more value than the Minnesota Twins (+4000) and the Baltimore Orioles (+5000), whom BP has pegged at 0.3 percent to win the World Series.


5. Cleveland Indians (0.5 percent)
This is why we usually don't recommend long shots for your MLB picks. Cleveland's +15000 price works out to an implied probability of 0.66 percent, but if you're trying to hit the jackpot, the Tribe (60-66, –17.80 units) looks like the best bet of the bunch. Besides, the smaller these percentages get, the more of a guesstimate they are – until you get to zero, of course. That's a very accurate forecast for the six teams who have already been eliminated from the playoff race.

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