The Toronto Blue Jays have jumped to the head of the class in the American League. Do the baseball odds properly reflect their chances of winning the World Series?
Jason's 2015 record as of August 27: 36-29, plus-7.18 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total
Baseball sure gets interesting in August, doesn't it? The non-waiver trade deadline is always a fun time. Teams aggressively load up on players in an effort to secure a playoff spot; some do a better job of this than others. Meanwhile, teams with little or no hope for the postseason sell off their top players and restock their farm systems, again to varying degrees of success. And the fun continues through August, although players have to clear waivers before they can be traded.
All this player movement gives us an opportunity to exploit the betting market with our MLB picks. As always, it's the difference between “actual” quality and perceived quality that gives us our profit margin here at the ranch. We can do a quick-and-dirty comparison of the two by looking at the playoff odds at Baseball Prospectus and seeing where the MLB odds aren't keeping up. Let's start with the American League – here are the top five teams on BP's World Series Win Percentage list at press time.
1. Houston Astros (14.5 percent)
The Astros (71-57, +9.44 units) have the best title chances of anyone on the junior circuit according to BP, but they're a fair distance behind their peers on the World Series futures market at Bovada. Houston is available at +1100 as we go to press, which works out to an implied probability of 8.33 percent on our handy SBR Betting Odds Converter. Value!
2. Toronto Blue Jays (14.4 percent)
At the other end of the spectrum, you've got the red-hot Blue Jays (70-55, +6.27 units), who have absolutely crushed it since adding Troy Tulowitzki and David Price at the trade deadline, among others. They're the +400 World Series favorites at press time, which suggests a 20-percent chance of winning. No value!
3. Kansas City Royals (10.0 percent)
Apparently having the best record in the AL (77-48, +26.56 units), and picking up Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist at the deadline, will get you a hot cup of jack-squat. The Royals are “only” the second favorites behind Toronto at +500, but that's still too much chalk at 16.67 percent implied probability.
4. New York Yankees (7.2 percent)
Now we're getting back into value range. The Yankees (69-57, +0.52 units) got overtaken by the Blue Jays in the AL East, and they didn't do much at the deadline, but they're still firmly in Wild Card position. And at +1400 (6.67 percent), New York's got value as a baseball pick for a change.
5. Los Angeles Angels (1.4 percent)
Thinking of taking a flyer on a long shot? Better look elsewhere. The Angels (64-61, –3.58 units) have fallen off the rails over the past month, and at +3300 (2.94 percent), the Halos would pay out less than half what they “should” based on BP's World Series projections. Jerry Dipoto says hi.