There is no substitute for seeing actual games and results. Preseason futures betting often yields the best odds and the highest potential return on investment, but sometimes it really helps to see a team in action to know if they have the goods or not.
There are some teams that were expected to be better this season and some teams that are clearly better than expected. You can see from the opening odds to the closing odds which teams fall into each of those categories. Everything that we do before the season is guesswork. Everything that we do once the season begins is more of a calculated risk based on the data points that we have.
It is important to keep checking into these futures markets to find some betting value as the season goes along. You might find a really good buy point on a team in a lull, sometimes at better odds than what you could have gotten before the season.
Sometimes you’ll find a team that should be better with supporting stats and metrics that prove your point and support your cause.
You can also use these odds to hedge any existing positions that you have. For example, let’s say that you have a Milwaukee position at +4500 like we suggested before the season. Maybe now is the time to bet on the Chicago Cubs or St. Louis Cardinals to hedge that position.
It’s hard with the MLB schedule because teams play just about every day, but if you can keep an eye on the futures markets, you can find some value.
Let’s take a look at the odds and then talk about some strategy.
2021 MLB World Series Odds – Updated 06/04/21
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+480||+350|
|Chicago White Sox||+1500||+650|
|San Diego Padres||+1300||+700|
|New York Yankees||+525||+900|
|New York Mets||+3300||+950|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1200||+1600|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+3300||+2200|
|Boston Red Sox||+5000||+2200|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+4000||+2500|
|San Francisco Giants||+7000||+3300|
|Los Angeles Angels||+4000||+7000|
|Kansas City Royals||+10000||+7000|
Based on the odds that are out there now, you can see the teams that have performed to or exceeded expectations and the teams that have fallen well short to this point. There are teams like the New York Mets that have gone from +3300 to +950, but also teams like the Minnesota Twins that have gone from +1500 to +7000.
The San Francisco Giants have gone from +7000 to +3300, as everybody expected them to play third fiddle well behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. As it turns out, the Giants are going stride-for-stride with the two preseason favorites from the NL.
We all have our thoughts and ideas coming into the season about teams, but until we see some games and results, we’re all just hoping to make good bets with some value down the line. Injuries during the season are going to skew a lot of these numbers as well.
Let’s look at a couple bets worth making right now:
Chicago White Sox (+650)
Yes, the White Sox could have been had at +1500 or maybe even better at some places and are now at +650. A lot has transpired over the first 2+ months of the season, though. The Minnesota Twins have fallen flat and the Cleveland Indians just don’t look like a contending team. We’re talking about a Chicago squad that is around 80% to win the AL Central and 85% to be a playoff team based on the probabilities from the other MLB sites.
Chicago is clearly a dangerous team and one that will get better as the season goes along as players return from injury in advance of the playoffs. The biggest thing is that the White Sox are the only team right now that has an extremely high percentage chance of winning the division.
The AL East is a four-team race. The AL West is a two-team race. The NL East is probably a three-team race. The NL Central is wide-open. The NL West is a three-team race.
Making the playoffs is a big part of the equation with a World Series team and the White Sox are going to make the playoffs.
Atlanta Braves (+2100)
The Mets are the best team in the NL East to start the year and also the most injured team in the National League, so it makes sense that their price is so low. The Atlanta Braves are pretty clearly the second-best team in the division and are a team that could very well win this division and make the playoffs.
The Braves have gotten off to a slow start, but the recent MLB crackdown on illegal substances on the baseball will help offense tremendously and there is not a team in this price range with an offense like Atlanta’s. You could argue that Toronto is there, but the Blue Jays have to beat out three teams just to make the playoffs. The Braves probably have to beat out one. At this point, the +2100 is a much better price than the +1000 and a sound investment.
- The Dodgers have now appeared in 21 World Series. They have won only 7 of them.
- The New York Yankees have made 40 World Series appearances. They have won it 27 times.
- The St. Louis Cardinals own the second-most World Series titles with 11 including seven championships since 1996.
- San Diego, Tampa Bay, Texas, Milwaukee, and Colorado have never won a World Series despite getting there at least once.
- Seattle is the only current MLB team to never make a World Series appearance.
How To Bet World Series Futures
You have to think of World Series futures as an investment. The best-case scenario is that you pick the team that takes down the title. The more likely scenario is that you do not because there are 10 teams that make the playoffs and you have to pick the one team that will record the final out and celebrate on the pitcher’s mound.
With any long-term futures bet, the goal is to turn a profit. That is why you want to consider several different factors before you bet on the World Series. The first and most important is that you need to pick a team that has a great shot at making the playoffs. Consider the strength of the division, as teams will play 76 of the 162 games against division opponents. Try to pick a division winner because the runner-up will have to play in the Wild Card Game and anything can happen in a one-game playoff.
You can look at the World Series futures and see prices like 4/1 or 5/1 on the top teams and think that it is a good value, but you have to remember something very important. The bigger the price, the more flexibility you have from a hedging standpoint. With a 4/1 or 5/1 team, you basically have to have that team make it to the Finals before you can hedge against that price.
Depending on when you bet World Series futures, you could be having your money held for upwards of six or seven months. You want something to show for that time. Betting on the favorites could be your preferred course of action, but you really need that favorite to make a deep playoff run. If you bet on a longer shot team, you just need them to get into the playoffs and then you can determine the best way to secure a profit.
The odds matter. Be sure to shop around for the best prices on every team that you are interested in. Don’t take +1000 when +1200 is out there. Don’t take +2000 when +2500 is out there. Every odds increase matters, both in terms of your payout and your flexibility for hedging.