All-Star Voting is finally over, and that means we are really close to the midway point of the season where players can take a few days off and relax. This is a great time to reevaluate where things stand when it comes to World Series futures odds.
The Top Tier
For the last three months or so, I have been touting the Yankees as the best team in baseball and saying that their odds are just way too long compared to the other top 2 teams. Now, the Yankees are 11-1 including sweeping the Rays and Blue Jays and winning 3 of 4 vs. the Astros. This momentum has vaulted the Yankees up to +400 from the +600-800 we have seen all season.
The Yankees and Astros odds clearly vulture each other because the AL teams will have to face each other and then beat the Dodgers, while the Dodgers are pretty clearly above other NL rosters at this point. That being said, I will not stop touting the Yankees as the pick here until they are the significant favorites that they should be.
The Yankees had a 7.7 run total earlier this week. That DOES NOT HAPPEN. Their overall roster depth and talent is incredible, and there is not a team in baseball that comes close.
At full health, the Yankees lineup will have the following hitters in their lineup: Judge, Sanchez, Stanton, LeMathieu, Hicks, Torres, Encarnacion, Voit, and Gregorius. That lineup depth is unrivaled, and the true power is insane. The Yankees have set an MLB record with 29 straight games with a home run and they have not been shut out in 162 games.
The Yankees also have pitching depth at both levels, and they have been very outspoken in saying that they are actively looking to add more. If the playoffs roll around and they have made no moves, the Yankees will start Severino, Tanaka, Paxton, and German with options to use Sabathia and Happ if necessary. Any addition that they make SHOULD be a big one because there are not that many pitchers out there that would be able to knock out one of those four pitchers.
The Yankees bullpen is second in the league in WAR this season and is without their 8th inning man, Dellin Betances. I think this is the deepest bullpen in baseball, especially if you were to add someone like Happ to it in the postseason.
Both of the Dodgers and Astros are elite teams, and I think that the odds are correct in showing that these three teams are ahead of the pack. The difference between these teams, in my opinion, is the drop off between their best players and their worst players.
All three teams have Cy Young level pitchers and MVP caliber hitters, I just think that the Yankees pitching and hitting depth is above the other two. If Gleyber Torres was on the other two teams, he would be in the top 5 lineup spots without a doubt. It’s very possible that we see Torres, a 22-year-old who is batting .290 with 19 home runs batting 8th or 9th in the Yankees lineup.
I want absolutely nothing to do with betting any American League team not named the Yankees or the Astros. If you want to wait a while and hope you can get good Red Sox odds and then get them going, go for it but I have no interest.
I am pretty sure that at the end of the day, a team will need to beat both of these teams and then the Dodgers to actually win the World Series and that just is not happening.
In the NL, there are some nice hedge opportunities because some team will have to get the Dodgers in the NLCS. I think that the Dodgers starting pitching is elite, but I think that they are not AS good as they have performed so far and I do think it is very possible for some teams to challenge them.
My two favorite bets here are the Braves and the Phillies based on who you think will win the division. Both teams have the lineups to give the Dodgers problems, and they both have the pitching TALENT.
On paper, neither of these rotations can sniff the Dodgers, but I do think that both teams have the ability to maybe add one more piece or two and have the talent to compete. When I say talent, I mean that they have good arms that can have an outstanding game once or twice. Mike Soroka isn’t going to throw 5 shutouts on the way to a World Series victory, but he could have an elite outing vs. an elite team once or twice.
Both lineups are relatively pesky and tough to deal with, even for elite pitchers. The Braves put the ball in play a lot, which can result in good luck from time to time. The Phillies have more Ks in the lineup, but they are one of the best teams in the league at taking pitches.
If you can get to the Dodgers bullpen, you really have a chance to make them pay for the weak underside of their bullpen.