MLB Odds: Value Still To Be Had in World Series Futures

Mark Lathrop

Monday, April 25, 2016 4:00 AM GMT

Monday, Apr. 25, 2016 4:00 AM GMT

Read on as we take a look at recent odds movement and pick out the best values in the current World Series futures market, and profit from the valuable MLB picks being offered for free.

We are three weeks into the season and a great time to check in on odds movement in World Series futures. I last visited this in late March, with my logic being that a team that makes the playoffs is basically on even footing with a ‘favorite’ to win the World Series. This creates wagering value when the public odds don’t particularly match up with playoff probabilities. All playoff probabilities have been sourced from the sabermetrics centered site, fangraphs.

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Cleveland Indians (+2500) – I picked the Indians as one of my top long-shot MLB picks at +1800 before the season started because of their 69.6% chance of making the playoffs in 2016. That was well higher than the San Francisco Giants playoff chances of 58.8%, yet the Giants were listed at +800. The Giants have since dropped to a 41.3% chance to make the playoffs and +1400 to win the World Series. The Indians have started out the season 9-7, their playoff odds have decreased to 67.3%, and yet their World Series odds have extended out to +2500.

This line move doesn’t have much to do with the Indians, but more with the White Sox hot 13-6 start, which has moved them from +3300 to +1800 in the World Series odds. The White Sox currently have a 47.4% chance of making the playoffs, overpassing the Royals who have a 33.5% chance of making the playoffs and are listed at +1200. I’d take the Indians over either one of these teams, as the top of their rotation makes them dangerous in playoff series scenarios.

Los Angeles Dodgers (+1400) – The Dodgers have come out of the gate hot, going 12-7 to start their season. Before the beginning of the season, the Dodgers were listed at +1200 to win the World Series, but can now be found at +1400 at Bovada. The Dodgers look primed to take the NL West and currently have an 80.8% probability to win the NL West and a 90.1% chance to make the playoffs. As I’ve stated before, once you get into the playoffs the small sample sizes basically true up each team, making a futures wager on Dodgers at +1400 a significantly greater value than taking the Cubs at +500 or the Nationals at +700.

Boston Red Sox (+1600) – Currently sitting with the best probability in the American League, according to sabermetrics, to win the World Series is the Boston Red Sox at 8.9%. They are just behind the Orioles in the AL East, whose hot start has earned them a jump in odds from +4000 to +2200 in just 19 games. The Red Sox, in turn, have seen their odds decrease from +1400 to +1600. The Red Sox still have the best odds to take the AL East at 43.5% probability, which is over double the 21.3% probability of the next team, the Toronto Blue Jays. The Red Sox have value here at +1600 if you are a fan of the red hose.

Seattle Mariners (+4000) – A futures article from me wouldn’t be complete without checking in on the Seattle Mariners and the AL West. The M’s are .500 in their first 18 games, a stretch that included the worst opening home stand in franchise history. Luckily for them, the AL West has played out as sabermetrics buffs had predicted, with the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels underperforming expectations, and the Oakland Athletics getting more out of their roster than the public thinks. Both the A’s and M’s are listed at +4000 to win the World Series, and have 29.3% and 32.0% chances to make the playoffs, respectively.

Those MLB odds haven’t changed since the beginning of the season, although the Angels somehow have moved to +3300 from +4000 after starting the season 8-11. The Astros though, have moved from +1600 to +2200 after starting 6-13 and I expect they will continue to drop. The only move up in the AL West is the Rangers, going from +2500 to +2000, but their 15.9% playoff probability belies the value of these listed World Series odds. The value on any wager on a team in the AL West for the World Series right now is the Mariners at +4000. 

2016 MLB: 7-4-1, +2.80 Units

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