With just over six weeks left in the regular season, MLB handicappers are closely following the proceedings on the diamond. They are searching for a possible long shot to win the Fall Classic.
Much like the NFL, the best team in baseball no longer is a guarantee to beat the betting odds to win the World Series. Since 2002, we have seen seven wild card teams make the Series and four times they took home the hardware. Like in professional football, it is about getting hot at the right time.
Here are the current MLB odds of the top contenders to win the World Series. (Thanks 5Dimes.com)
L.A. Dodgers +475
L.A. Angels +950
St. Louis +1250
San Francisco +1800
Pittsburgh and Kansas City +2000
Any other team would have to get hotter than Hannah Ferguson and Paris Hilton in the latest Carl’s Jr. commercial.
Building a Profile of a Champion – Have to Win on the Road
No major sport has less of a home field advantage than baseball, at least by record and that is in direct correlation by the number of games played to achieve an actual record. The best teams in the game annually have the ability to win away from home. This shows mental toughness, the ability to execute in a hostile environment and the right amount of confidence.
To this point of the season, here are the best road teams with a win percentage of .550 or higher among the real contenders. They are the L.A. Dodgers (39-26), Baltimore (35-24), San Francisco, Kansas City & Oakland (33-26) and Detroit (33-27).
Strength in Numbers
If you have been reading my articles since spring training and following my advice on MLB picks, you know I am large proponent of teams that win convincingly. In this case I am referring to games determined by four or more runs.
In order to do this consistently, you have to be able to score runs and have strong starting pitching and a shutdown bullpen. Of the last 15 champions, 11 had a better win percentage in contests that were decided by four or more than then their actual season win percentage. Three of the other four champs were within five percent of their final record, proving how valuable these statistics can be when making sports picks on futures wagers.
Here is current numbers of the contenders.
L.A. Dodgers 27-17
L.A. Angels 27-15
St. Louis 19-20
San Francisco 23-24
Kansas City 24-24
This clearly points out the Dodgers and Nationals are certainly the two top teams in the National League, while we have as many as four teams in the American League that have shown the ability to dominate.
Postseason Pitching Matters
Finally you need three starting pitchers who have the ability to close down the opposing team and a bullpen which can turn out the lights.
Four starting staffs stand above the rest with a trio of hurlers that would impress sportsbooks and give them favorable odds just using this one criterion; they are Oakland, Detroit, Washington and the Dodgers. There are others that are close, but this group is the finest.
In looking at four key metrics for bullpens (ERA, OBP, OPS, Save Pct.), the top six pens are Oakland, San Francisco, Washington, Kansas City, Baltimore and L.A. of Anaheim.
What These Numbers Say
If you use these figures to determine a World Series champion, Oakland is your best, followed by the Dodgers, Baltimore and Washington. You could do worse.