MLB Futures Betting Odds: Long Shots with Value
by Aaron Smith - 2/9/2015
It's never too early to start preparing for the Major League Baseball season. Pitchers and catchers start reporting in less than two weeks. It doesn't feel all that close with the current weather, but the boys of summer are less than two months from the beginning of the regular season.
With MLB futures odds to win the World Series now released at most books, we wanted to take a look at some long shots with value. History has shown that backing some teams with relatively long odds to win it can be profitable. Baseball is certainly a sport where you can expect the unexpected. Backing favorites with your futures plays isn't going to be a successful strategy in the long run. Always remember to shop around for the best lines when betting on futures, because there are some large differences from book to book in these prices.
Recent History of World Series Champions Futures Odds
You don't have to look far in the rear view mirror to see teams that had some long odds who won the World Series. The San Francisco Giants were 16/1 to win it all before last season. During the year, they were priced at 30/1, but the Giants made yet another amazing run and won it all. Madison Bumgarner's effort in the playoffs is something I'll never forget. In 2013, no one saw the Boston Red Sox as threats to win the World Series. In fact, Boston was listed at 30/1 to win the World Series before the year. Boston ended up winning 97 games in the regular season and beating St. Louis for the title. In 2011, St. Louis was priced at 20/1. The Cardinals won it all in dramatic fashion over the Texas Rangers in a seven-game series.
Four Long Shots With Value in 2015
Cleveland Indians (+3,300): Bovada lists the Indians at 33/1 to win the World Series. Cleveland won 85 games last year despite having the worst defense in baseball. What's not to love about this starting rotation? Corey Kluber deserved the AL Cy Young that he won last year. Kluber's cutter is tremendous, and at 28 years of age he is just hitting his prime. Carlos Carrasco's work down the stretch has the team excited about him as their likely No. 2 starter this year. Starting pitching depth is something that can really propel a team to a surprise season, and the Indians absolutely have that. The team will need to hit better, but there is reason to believe they will. Nick Swisher is bound to be much better than he was last year. Michael Brantley has become a consistent run producer in the middle of the order. Look for Lonnie Chisenhall and Yan Gomes to continue to improve also. The AL Central as a whole got weaker in the offseason, so there is an opening for the Indians.
San Francisco Giants (+2,000): Bookmaker has the Giants at +2,000 to win the 2015 World Series. Why wouldn't I like the Giants at this price?! After all, the Giants have won three of the last five titles. That's truly incredible when you think about the offense they have had during those years. They still have Bumgarner leading the way for the rotation, and Matt Cain will be back to help shoulder the load. Remember, Cain had been the team's ace for several years before being injured last year. The offense certainly isn't magnificent, but the Giants typically find ways to manufacture runs. Buster Posey is still getting better. Another big advantage that the Giants have is their manager. Bruce Bochy is the best in the business. They've outperformed expectations consistently in the past few years, and this team knows how to finish when they get into the playoffs.
Oakland Athletics (+2,900): The odds to win the World Series at 5Dimes show the Oakland Athletics at +2,900. Brett Lawrie and Ben Zobrist should fit well in the Oakland lineup. They are both guys with a lot of upside. The Athletics always have one of the best bullpens in baseball, and I don't see that changing this season. The multiple bullpen meltdowns in the past few seasons have shown bettors how important a strong bullpen is to a team's success. The Athletics play in a division with two bad teams (Houston and Texas), so they will get to pad their win total to boost their playoff chances. There are a lot of bad defensive teams in the American League, but the Athletics should shine in the field. Their outfielders might not be elite hitters, but they can all do some great work with the glove.
Miami Marlins (+5,000): Miami is listed at +5,000 to win the World Series. Admittedly, this one is the farthest off the radar of the four teams profiled in this article, but that's why their odds are so high. The Marlins really impressed me last year by winning 77 games despite losing Jose Fernandez early in the year to an injury. Miami has plenty of weaknesses, but they also have a really nice young pitching staff. They play in a division that has only one really good team (Washington). Philadelphia may be the worst team in the majors this year, and the Braves are going to be much worse than they have been in the past as well. Fernandez will come back sometime around late June, and he is one of the top five starters in the majors. If Miami's lineup can take a bit of a step forward, the Marlins have a shot at sneaking into the playoffs.
Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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