Our MLB expert looks at why the White Sox and Mariners, two teams with high odds, offer decent betting value for our MLB picks to win the 2016 World Series.
Last year, the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers made the postseason despite being at +10000 MLB odds to win the World Series, and while these teams didn't reach the Fall Classic, their successful seasons prove that there is betting value on high futures odds.
Want another example of great value for your MLB picks? The eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays entered last season with +2500 odds to win the Fall Classic and they faced each other in an epic ALCS.
Believe it or not, this year the Chicago Cubs are favored to win the World Series at +400 odds at Bovada. If Leonardo DiCaprio was able to finally win an Oscar then why can't the Cubbies break their curse in 2016? Well, just keep in mind that oddsmakers loved the Nationals last season and we saw how it all turned out for them. Let's analyze why the White Sox and Mariners can be surprise teams this season.
Chicago White Sox (+3300)
The Chicago White Sox were expected to contend for the AL Central crown last season but they never clicked and finished in a disappointing fourth place in the division with a poor 76-86 record. The South Siders are ready to put all that behind them and make a postseason run in 20016. Chicago added former Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, who is expected to give protection to Jose Abreu and bring more balance to their lineup. Abreu and Frazier will have plenty of opportunities to produce if Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera can stay healthy and get on base often. The addition of Brett Lawrie at second base will improve their defense and they will also have more catching depth with the signings of Dioner Navarro and Alex Avila.
The front end of Chicago's starting rotation is a good as any other in baseball. The ace of their staff Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon for a full year gives this team a formidable trio that can win them many games, not just in the regular season. Sale led MLB with 11.82 strikeouts every 9 innings and he posted a 3.41 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. With a bullpen led by a solid closer like David Robertson (34 saves, 3.41 ERA, 0.93 WHIP), this team is ready to compete next season, not just in the AL Central.
Seattle Mariners (+4000)
For years, the Seattle Mariners have made us wonder how can a team with so much talent fail to put it all together and make a World Series run.
Last year, Seattle was a popular pick to make it far, with many experts stating that winning the AL West was a real possibility for them, but they were off to a 3-7 start and simply couldn't recover after that, finishing the season with a disappointing 76-86 record, good for fourth in the AL West.
Can this team turn things around this year? In order to do just that, Seattle needs reliable starting pitching. Their ace Felix Hernandez is coming off a down season, at least based on his standards. A 3.53 ERA, his highest since 2007, won't get the job done, even though he went 18-9. Having Hisashi Iwakuma (9-5, 3.54 ERA in 2015) back to serve as No. 2 in the rotation is an important move, and the additions of Wade Miley and Nathan Kurns to this unit can give them a huge boost. These four pitchers, along with improvement from the talented Taijuan Walker (11-8, 4.56 ERA) will give the Mariners a decent starting rotation. The Seattle bullpen was terrible, which is why they signed Joaquin Benoit and Steve Cishek, two experienced relievers who upgrade that unit instantly.
As for their offense, it will go as far as Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano can take them. Cruz fit well after coming over from the Orioles last year, finishing second in MLB with 44 home runs. He also added 93 RBI. Robinson Cano on the other hand, had his worst season since 2008, hitting .287 with just 21 home runs and 79 RBI. If Cruz keeps producing and Cano recovers his swing, this offense will keep Seattle in most games. Their lineup will be more balanced with Adam Lind and Nori Aoki joining the team, so the future is bright for the Mariners.