Spring Training is underway, and we will see regular season action in just under a month. So, most baseball fans are now concerned with how their team’s players are performing rather than dreaming of that big roster overhaul to give them a chance of success in 2019. Sure, some teams might be a Bryce Harper acquisition away from contention, but we more or less know how the majority of teams will look for the season. In respect of that, a look at the latest sportsbook odds for 2019, which look like favoring last season’s protagonists.
There is almost a three-way split at the top of the betting markets for the World Series, with the Yankees, Astros and Red Sox all given odds around +600 by Bet365. Some bookies favor the 2018 champions over the other pair, but by a very fine margin. Indeed, it’s difficult to pick a best-bet among the three, but the -300 offered by Unibet that the Astros take the AL West title looks like the closest thing to a lock in sports.
Dodgers flirt with Harper
As for the National League contenders, the Dodgers are predicted once again to be top of the heap, with a best price of +750 coming in from 888sport and Unibet. There were significant roster changes in the offseason, which might give rise to questions over the team’s ability to gel quickly. Those odds will drop if there is movement on the current rumors of Bryce Harper’s arrival.
Beyond the quartet of teams listed above, there is a big drop off in the odds of the other contenders. The Cubs are placed next best at a very large price of +1400 with William Hill, followed by the Indians who range from about +1000 up to +1600 with sportsbooks. The Tribe’s superb pitching staff will almost guarantee another AL Central title, but they still look a little short of dethroning the other AL sides in the postseason.
NL East a puzzle
Hands down the most well-rounded division in baseball is the NL East. Four teams – the Braves (+1200), Nationals (+1600), Phillies (+1400) and Mets (+2500, all odds Betfair) – will all feel they have a fair shot in 2019. Again, it’s difficult to pick a leading contender among those four, with all of them sitting in around the top five to ten positions of sports pundits’ power rankings before the season kicks off. When it’s hard to pick, you may want to use free bets for a couple of shots, so check out freebets.co.uk, who cover promotions from all the sportsbooks listed above.
As for a straight up value pick for the World Series, look no further than the St Louis Cardinals. Sure, it will be difficult, and the signing of Paul Goldschmidt doesn’t address all issues, but the price of +1800 (888sport) looks really strong for a team who will improve on last season. One could also make a case that the Nationals quote of +2200 from Sky Bet also looks too high. Whisper it, but they may be a better team this season without Bryce Harper.
A handful of teams haven’t been mentioned, but it would be unlikely to see the World Series champions being any other team not listed above, although there are always a couple of teams who do much, much better than expected. The Rays have the quality to build on last season, but +5000 (William Hill) for a Fall Classic win still looks short. They could, however, really insert themselves into the AL East rivalry, and perhaps take down one of the big guns along the way.