An FDA/AGA-approved consumer warning: Do not put a lot of stock in the odds below suggesting which teams are most likely to win MLB’s 2024 World Series.
The oddsmakers employed by America’s top legal sports betting apps put out a lot of numbers about that even now — 51 weeks in advance of the next champion spraying champagne everywhere — but the ability to correlate those numbers with postseason baseball success is a whole other matter.
Just ask the Texas Rangers, whom few people not named Bruce Bochy would have predicted before the season started would become 2023 World Series champions. The bettors willing to back them last spring could get 50/1 odds, or about the same chance as the New York Jets scoring an offensive touchdown between now and Christmas.
Rangers became biggest World Series long shot in 20 years https://t.co/1ZSpRqlS2f pic.twitter.com/mMZ1rg5IKF
— New York Post (@nypost) November 3, 2023
But the bookmakers don’t really try to peg who will win — they’re in the game of assessing who’s most likely to win and who the public thinks will win and then profiting from it when the public gets it wrong. So in making the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Houston Astros the strongest favorites, that’s what makes sense to the sportsbook operators if the 2024 season were being played out right now in 1,234,982 or so computer simulations.
As to where a smart futures bet lies, however (if one is willing to tie up money for an entire year to await the outcome, which isn’t always smart), maybe a sportsbook customer would look to another 50/1 team. As of Tuesday, those options included the St. Louis Cardinals at BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook and Milwaukee Brewers at Barstool Sportsbook (soon to become ESPN BET).
We have no idea here who will actually win next year’s World Series any more than the oddsmakers do — and almost certainly even less — but we do know where potential value lies in current futures betting, based on comparing odds from seven of the widely available legal sportsbooks. They’re not at all consistent with one another, and taking advantage of the longest odds — meaning the biggest potential payouts — will make a huge difference to those able to cash tickets a year from now.
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Not wanting to get too crazy with this exercise, we’ve limited our odds research to the teams perceived in the top half of baseball based on current odds. (The Arizona Diamondbacks, of course, would scoff at this limitation, after having come close to a title as a 125/1 preseason longshot.)
The five favorites
There is not a wide gap in current World Series odds among the Braves, Dodgers, Astros, Rangers, and Philadelphia Phillies.
Despite varying degrees of success in the just-completed playoffs, they are all perceived to have stacked rosters that could closely resemble in 2024 what they had in 2023.
No one would look at you askance if you picked any one of the five teams to win the next World Series. It just might not be the wisest investment, given the predictable unpredictability year in and year out of MLB’s postseason.
But in early November, here’s the best return we see available if you like one of the five favorites:
Braves 700 (DraftKings, Caesars)
Dodgers 900 (Caesars)
Astros 1100 (Caesars)
Phillies 1100 (DraftKings, BetMGM, bet365)
Rangers 1200 (BetRivers)
The last one is the most intriguing, in that Texas has odds as short as 800 at Caesars, 850 at FanDuel, and 900 at DraftKings and Barstool. BetRivers seems alone on an island, with its oddsmakers perhaps consumed by how hard it is to repeat as World Series champs, since no one has done it since the 2000 New York Yankees.
To a lesser but still notable extent, Caesars’ 900 on the Dodgers and 1100 on the Astros are also out of line with its competitors. FanDuel, for instance, has Los Angeles 700 and Houston 850. Sharp bettors are fond of preying on such deviations.
Could this be the Rays’ year?
The next five teams listed are a combination of those that surprised everyone by being so great in the regular season in 2023, those that seem to have so many good players that they could go a lot further than they did in 2023, and the New York Yankees because, well, most likely because they’re the New York Yankees.
The best payoff at season’s end for a bettor backing one successfully would currently be:
Yankees 1600 (FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars)
Baltimore Orioles 1800 (BetRivers)
Toronto Blue Jays 1800 (Caesars)
Tampa Bay Rays 2000 (BetRivers)
San Diego Padres 2200 (Caesars)
Those Caesars odds on the perennially star-buying, underachieving Padres are rather out of whack with prognostications elsewhere, as several of the sites have them 1600.
And the smartly managed small-market Rays ought to win a World Series one of these years to stick it in the eyes of the big-spending teams. If 2024 is the year, you want to be on them via BetRivers rather than competitors where they are 1400 or 1500.
Some notable longshots
This year’s version of the Rangers could come from one of the following five teams, even if the payout wouldn’t be quite as rich as last week’s 50/1. But current best odds for them are:
Seattle Mariners 2200 (bet365)
Minnesota Twins 3000 (BetRivers, bet365)
Diamondbacks 3800 (FanDuel)
Boston Red Sox 3800 (FanDuel)
New York Mets 4000 (BetRivers)
Those Mets odds stand out, in that they are a much, much shorter 1800 at bet365 and 2000 at DraftKings. Almost certainly, owner Steve Cohen will spend lavishly again over the winter to try to bolster a club that disappointed greatly in 2023. And very likely, because they are the Mets, they will underachieve just as much in 2024. Still, 40/1 may be quite an allure at this point.
And while any member of the Diamondbacks reading this (Is that you, Corbin Carroll?) might recoil to see they have odds as high as 38/1 after making it to the World Series, that’s still about one-fourth shorter than last year’s odds. BetRivers and bet365 go a lot further than that, meanwhile, in reducing Arizona’s odds to 2000.
It would be a nice story if the D’backs build upon their 2023 success and celebrate their first World Series title since 2001. For a bettor who sees it coming, it would even nicer if their futures ticket is with FanDuel rather than anywhere else.
John Sommers is a distinguished figure in the world of gambling expertise, known for his deep knowledge and insightful analysis of the gaming industry. As a seasoned author, he has contributed extensively to the reputable gambling news site, TwinCasinos, focusing on providing valuable insights to English-speaking gamblers worldwide.
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