Bookmaker's Corner: Tampa Bay Rays World Series Odds
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 5/18/2010
Two years after winning the American League pennant, the Tampa Bay Rays still don’t have an exceptionally large payroll, but that’s not stopping bettors from driving down their odds to win the World Series to 6/1.
At Bodog’s online sportsbook, only the Yankees (3/1) and Phillies (11/2) have shorter odds to win it all, and those clubs have payrolls of $206 million and $142 million, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Rays’ payroll is just $72 million, mere peanuts compared to big-spending teams like the Red Sox ($162 million, 15/1), Cubs ($147 million, 35/1) and Mets ($134 million, 25/1).
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Fortunately for Tampa Bay futures backers, it’s not about which team boasts the highest payroll; it’s about which one wins the most baseball games. At the moment, the Rays are doing a great job of winning games.
Tampa Bay got off to a great start to the season and has yet to slow down. On Monday, the Rays boasted the best record (26-11) in all of baseball and had the best run differential at plus-86.
Obviously, it takes offense and defense to put up all those wins, and while the hitting, led by Evan Longoria, has been very good, the pitching has been even better.
"Our starting pitching has been nothing short of phenomenal," general manager Andrew Friedman told ESPN Radio. "The one thing we're very confident in is that there are not five starters in baseball that will outwork our five guys,"
Tampa Bay's starting rotation of James Shields (4-1), Matt Garza (5-1), David Price (5-1), Jeff Niemann (3-0) and Wade Davis (3-3) are all young – Garza is the highest paid of the five with a salary of just $3.4 million – and it’s feasible that they won’t all be able to hold up all season.
Still, Friedman believes there’s upside remaining.
"I don't think we've played our best baseball yet," Friedman said. "Offensively, we're a much better team than we've played to date. A lot of guys have been underperforming their baseline and we're confident we'll get going."
Could there be a few mid-season acquisitions as well? Maybe, maybe not appears to be the answer.
"It will come down to acquisition costs," Friedman said. "We can't forget that we're a small revenue team yet we also understand where we are right now.
“We'll approach it as aggressively as we can."
How aggressively that is remains to be seen, but if the Rays keep playing like they are right now, their odds to win the World Series won’t be going up anytime soon.
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