With the baseball season underway, we will look at MLB team or player futures betting odds each Monday. This week, I am looking at the teams who’s World Series odds have improved the most since the start of the season.
Note: All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
MINNESOTA TWINS (+1150 to win World Series)A few weeks ago, I wrote about why I thought the Twins should be the favorites to win the AL Central. At the time, they were plus money with the Indians favored to win and things have turned quickly. Winners of 11 of the last 12 games, Minnesota has the best record in baseball and a 10-game lead in the division. Per Fangraphs, the Twins have a 95% chance to make the playoffs. Coming into the season, there were red flags surrounding the Indians and reasons to favor the Twins in the division, but nobody could have expected this amount of success.
Hopefully, you have been stacking the Twins’ offense in DFS lately. They are currently ranked second in wRC+, behind only the Astros, however Minnesota is the top ranked offense in May. For the month, it has a 135 wRC+ and tops the league with 174 runs scored. This is a 30-run difference from the second highest scoring team in the month.
While not completely unexpected, the return of Miguel Sano has provided a spark for the Twins’ offense. He was an All-Star two seasons ago, but was awful last season. After battling through injuries and issues off the field, it was unclear if he would ever return to a high level of play. The upside of Sano has never been a doubt, but his chances of reaching the ceiling appeared unlikely. Once unlikely, his ceiling has quickly been realized. He’s only eight games into his return and has hit five homers. Sano won’t keep up this pace, but it’s clear that he’s the threat from before his injury woes and is only 26 years old. The question now is if he can remain healthy.
Everybody is taking notice of the offense, making the pitching go overlooked. The Twins have the third best team ERA in the American League and a strong top of the rotation. The development of Jose Berrios was expected. He’s a former top prospect and has been solid over the last couple of seasons. Less expected were breakouts for Jake Odorizzi and Martin Perez. Perez has been a punching bag for years. The addition of a cutter and an uptick in velocity has him at a 2.95 ERA thus far. He’s walking 4.03 hitters per nine innings and has an 81.7% strand rate, implying he’s been lucky, but even with regression, Perez has a 3.69 FIP and should be a quality starter. Odorizzi has lowered his walk rate and upped his strikeouts rate, a good formula for success. He leads the team with a 2.19 ERA. Regression is coming for him as well because he has a .238 BABIP, but like Perez, this shouldn’t mean he won’t be a good pitcher. While the offense is great, I think it’s the pitching that could elevate the Twins in the playoffs.
TAMPA BAY RAYS (+1700)The Rays are in a good place in the standings. It doesn’t look like they will win the AL East with the Yankees starting to get healthy and playing well, although a Wild Card spot seems likely. Tampa Bay has the fourth best record in the American League and hold a 4.5 game lead over the Red Sox and A’s in the Wild Card race. Fangraphs gives the Rays a 77.2% chance to make the playoffs.
While their odds have improved dramatically, I am a bit lower on the Rays than I was a couple of weeks ago. The reason is an injury to Tyler Glasnow. Prior to the injury, he was in the mix as Cy Young candidate and anchored the Rays’ pitching staff. We haven’t seen much by way of a concrete update other then he was transferred to the 60-day IL with a forearm injury. Forearm injuries could be precursors to an elbow injury, so there is at least some concern he might not return this season. Without Glasnow, the Rays season doesn’t have much hope in the playoffs. He has a 1.86 ERA and has finally figured out how to locate pitches in the strike zone. The good news is that the Rays’ odds shouldn’t move much. I think we can wait a couple of months for an update on Glasnow before deciding if betting the Rays is worthwhile. Tampa Bay is extremely reliant on its bullpen and missing a key starter for most of the season would likely tax the relievers. This could lead to burnout by the time the playoffs come around.
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