When looking at futures betting odds at sportsbooks, frankly, you never know what you might find. I came across a website where you could make MLB picks on the division to win the World Series.
This is a different twist from picking teams and it potentially takes a little pressure off on having to be so specific for sports picks.
I will share my findings and offer opinions on if these might be good plays or not good as a baseball handicapper versus their MLB odds.
NL West is Top Choice
This division has the lowest odds (7/2) and it is understandable with Los Angeles and San Francisco in the mix. Do not really have to explain why the Giants would fit based on what they have accomplished the last half decade. With the Dodgers largely a veteran squad, with as good as two frontline pitchers you can have in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, having the ability to use this duo four times in any series is a Cstrength.
Though it has not worked that way for L.A., the Dodgers and San Fran are a formidable duo.
Both Central Divisions Share the Second Choice
Next up at 4/1 odds are the NL Central and AL Central Divisions. Each of these divisions features the strongest team in their respective leagues (as of June 22nd) with St. Louis and Kansas City. The National League version appears to be the stronger contingent with Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cubs all playing .550 or better baseball and all three contenders in positive numbers for run differential.
The AL Central has the defending pennant champions in the Royals, but at least at present time the rest of the teams are mediocre and all having negative score differentials. Detroit sure looks like the only team with an upside, but that only happens if the batting order stabilizes and Justin Verlander comes through.
Also, the Cardinals, Cubs and to a lesser degree the Pirates have the resources to engineer an impactful trade which could enhance these teams' chances compared to those from the AL Central. Overall, the NL Central might be as good as any division to bet on and at WagerWeb, as they are the only division with three teams in the Top 11 for World Series odds.
Must Read: MLB Picks: World Series Futures Odds Update
AL and NL East Have Same Odds with Different Stories
Very close behind the two Central’s are both Eastern Divisions and though they look very much the same in the bigger picture, right now one definitely appears stronger.
Washington is the only club in their division in the black when it comes to run differential and New York is seemingly the only other team who could finish in the positive; however, that only seems possible if they did not have to play anymore road games. The Washington Nationals have yet to assemble the team everyone thought would win 95 games. It is impossible to know if they would but it's possible given what the starting pitching is capable of and with two every day players being hot with Bryce Harper. First, they have to win the division and become healthy and productive.
The AL East is chin-rubber because on one hand you can use an Excel spreadsheet to go over the strengths and weaknesses of each club and have it be nearly equal side by side. Yet four of the teams in the division are at least +19 in score differentials. Some of these have to be taken in context, as other than Boston the other four teams have been playing solid baseball. However, each has pitching flaws which they might not be able to overcome, yet look at what the Giants did in the playoffs a year ago. At this juncture the AL East is the better bet.
AL West Least Likely to Send Team to Series
I understand that Houston being in first place in the division is a great story, but does anyone really believe they will play for the AL title let alone the World Series? Maybe in a couple of years as their pitching and general overall skill improves but not yet.
Nevertheless, who else even looks close to overtaking the Astros? Texas can score runs and its pitching has been better than anticipated, but for the long haul? Seattle and the team from Anaheim have been major disappointments and does anyone see either or both going 20-6 in August and staying hot into October? And what about Oakland, who despite having the fourth-best run differential in the league is a 10-game winning streak away from .500 thanks to being 12-32 in games determined by three or fewer runs. Yes, the longest odds at 5/1 appear correct.