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Two World Series favorites and one long shot to watch in September

Let’s take a look at three teams in the hunt for the World Series as we enter the final month of the regular season.

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander celebrates after throwing a no hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

As we head into the final month of the regular baseball season, lots of attention will be on the odds of teams to make it into the playoffs, win their division and the World Series. For this piece, we’ll look at three teams who are very much in the hunt and how their odds stack up according to the DraftKings Sportsbook.

Houston Astros +225

The Astros are currently the odds on favorite to win the World Series and it’s easy to see why. After a monster trade deadline acquisition of Zack Greinke, the Astros boast one of the most dynamic and talented pitching staffs in all of baseball. First and foremost, good luck to whatever team has to face this club in the American League Division Series. If they have any chance of winning the first three games, they’ll have to get through Greinke, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole.

Verlander (-250) and Cole (+120) top the odds to win the Cy Young award at DraftKings Sportsbook. They have combined for 32 wins (35% of the Astros’ victories as of Sept. 2) and 509 strikeouts. Even if another team were to somehow squeak out a win in this series, they could end up seeing Wade Miley in Game 4, who would be considered one of the top three starters on any other team in the league. Miley has quietly posted a 3.06 ERA with 134 strikeouts through 156 innings.

After you go over the pitching, you see an Astros team that also has one of the best offenses in the league. The Astros are currently leading the league in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) at 30.1. For reference, the Twins are second in the league at 28. The Tigers rank dead last at -1.4, which also may represent how many fans they currently have (not confirmed). Knocking off the Astros is going to be quite the tall task.

Even with the best odds, the Astros feel like the best bet on the board, excelling in almost every aspect of their team.

Los Angeles Dodgers +240

The Dodgers are currently riding a two-year World Series losing streak, having lost to the Red Sox in 2018 and the Astros in 2017. Despite hitting a bit of a bump in the road as of late, going 4-6 in their past ten, they have an extremely comfortable lead in the National League West by 18 games over the Diamondbacks.

Like the Astros, the Dodgers boast a strong starting rotation, featuring Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda. The edge would be given to the Astros in this spot, as it’s hard to dispute two Cy Young leading candidates in the same rotation. Since coming back from the All-Star break, the Dodgers rotation has been the best in the National League, posting a 3.06 ERA, which is the lowest in the league during that span. The 17.1 WAR ranks fourth and their 9.3 K/9 is sixth. A date with the Astros would most certainly bring some pitching duels.

One area the Dodgers have been particularly strong is their bullpen. They’ve almost matched the Astros in statistics with their relievers, making both of these teams almost dead even. If you’re looking for slightly better odds, no one would blame you for taking the Dodgers in this spot. If you’re looking for the safe route, these two teams get it done for you.

Minnesota Twins +1600

For a team that features seven players with at least 20 home runs, this is quite an attractive bet to make. In fact, the Twins have hit so many home runs, they currently have 59 home runs more than the Yankees, who entered Sept. 2 with 209. So how is it possible that a team with so much offensive power has such long odds?

When you look at some of the pitching rotations the Twins could face, they easily have some of the weakest of the group. Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda, Jake Odorizzi, and Martin Perez would be how it would play out with the recent loss of Kyle Gibson to the injured list with ulcerative colitis. After Berrios, the team doesn’t have a true No. 2 starter and contributes to this rotation having a 3.5 WAR, which hovers around league average. In a seven-game series, this team would easily struggle against some of the other teams in the mix, such as the Astros and Yankees.

The offense is the big factor. While the Astros pitching staff has been great, they’ve struggled with home runs. Their staff has allowed 109 home runs, which currently ranks them with the 11th most in the league. The Dodgers are just below the league average with 98 allowed by their starters. Either way, this offense is one of the best in the league and they have the capability of allowing a handful of runs a game while also going out and scoring double that. At +1600, this is a very fun and exciting team to bet on, and is my favorite current long shot.

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Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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