Nearly a month full of competition has passed since the Major League Baseball season began. With such an expansive schedule, it gets to the point where, depending on the matchup, even score predictions become easier.
It’s not far off, either, that bettors might be able to get the best idea of the sport’s championship contenders and pretenders.
Everyone knows about the World Series prospects for the powers that be. The Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, New York Mets, and Houston Astros have among the best chances to claim supremacy come the fall.
Let’s take a look at some of the clubs with longer odds that could provide a worthwhile payout on a futures wager.
Philadelphia has a record below .500 through 24 outings and has struggled early against its National League East foes. They are currently +2500 to win the World Series.
Of course, if things play out similarly to how they’ve gone to this point, it won’t be easy for them to make it out of their division, which includes the Mets – who are out to one of the best starts in the Senior Circuit – and the defending champion Atlanta Braves.
But, the Phillies’ offense is a productive one. They are one of the NL’s four best teams at the plate, with a collective batting average of over .245. Their 105 RBIs rank in the major league’s top five. Offseason imports such as left fielder Nick Castellanos and designated hitter Kyle Schwarber have served well as complementary pieces to reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper.
As long as their bats remain consistent and the team’s pitching picks up, Philly will not only return to the postseason for the first time since 2011, but they’ll be major players to win it all, as well.
Tampa Bay Rays
Like Philly, Tampa Bay will have to get past a pair of formidable division rivals in order to raise the Commissioner’s Trophy. Right now, their odds are set at +2000 to do so.
With the appeal of the long ball that the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays bring, it can be easy to forget that the Rays have the tools to make postseason waves, too. Led by adept hitters in shortstop Wander Franco, right fielder Manuel Margot, and first baseman Yandy Diaz, the offense has a batting average nearing the .250 plateau.
This team combines hitting with effective pitching, too. Their group of hurlers sports a 3.26 ERA and has given up the third-least knocks (174) in the bigs through 25 contests.
The Rays made it further than both the Yankees and Blue Jays a season ago. Who’s to say they can’t get things rolling again?
Los Angeles Angels
It feels like Los Angeles has been mired in mediocrity for some time now, considering the circumstances.
With what might very well be the game’s brightest duo, +2000 odds for the Angels to bag a title seem low. It’s early, sure, but they’ve won eight of their last 11 and look right now as if they could finally get over the hump.
LA sits atop its grouping, even without do-it-all Shohei Ohtani on the top of his game. Right fielder Taylor Ward has broken out early, helping three-time American League MVP Mike Trout carry the team’s offensive load.
The Angels’ batting average is up there with Toronto’s and New York’s. Their 32 homers through 26 games are more than all but one AL crew’s. While their mound presence has room to improve, LA seems to have a viable shot at bucking a frustrating trend.
If you’re really looking for an outlier, Cleveland is +7500 to win their first crown since 1948.
Just don’t tell their offense that. It has the highest average at the dish through 24 games (.252) and 109 runs driven in to go with it. The Guardians are second in the AL Central.
Five different guys with at least 53 plate appearances – including third baseman Jose Ramirez and center fielder Steven Kwan – sport a .318 average or better.
Less-than-ideal pitching might be the only thing keeping the Guardians from being treated like the favorites.
Crazier things have happened.