With the MLB All-Star break in the books and the second half of the baseball season underway, the focus now shifts towards the postseason race as the contending teams jockey for playoff positions. The American League continues to be the World Series favorite, according to the oddsmakers, as the top three teams in terms of futures all come from the AL. Will one of those teams eventually pay off? Let’s take a closer look at the updated World Series odds as we ease into the second half of the season.
One of the reasons the top three World Series favorites come from the AL is because there are actually four AL teams with 60 wins or more. Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs are the only National League team with more than 56 wins so far this season. The Houston Astros (+425) are the current favorite while the Boston Red Sox (+475) and New York Yankees (+500) are right there. Boston leads the majors with 70 wins – five games up on New York in the AL East. However, the Yankees still have time to upgrade their roster before the trade deadline – if need be. As for the Astros, it’s easy to see why they’re the favorites. Their pitching staff is stellar with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Dallas Keuchel headlining the starting rotation. They’ve allowed just 327 runs this season, which is 46 less then the second-best team. Their 515 runs scored are second in the majors.
Looking further down the list, the Dodgers (+500) have struggled with consistency this season but still lead the NL West with 55 wins. They added a big weapon in Manny Machado, so they should get stronger in the second half of the season. The Cubs (+650) are the only other team inside of 10/1 odds.
If you are looking for a longer shot, then the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies (+1400) could be a smart play. The Phillies have a top-10 pitching staff in terms of ERA and their bats have been just good enough to put them in playoff position.
Delving further into the sleepers category, a couple of National League West teams could make a run. The Arizona Diamondbacks (+2500) don’t get much national love but they are a 54-win team right now. They are second in the NL in terms of ERA and eighth in terms of runs scored. They need to improve their hitting (28th in batting average) but if they can find a couple of bats, they could be a World Series threat. They are a game out of first place right now.
Another team in the NL West that could threaten is the Colorado Rockies (+4000). Their pitching is a bit of an issue (26th in ERA, 24th in opponent's batting average), but the club’s offense has been lighting it up. They rank sixth in runs scored and fourth in slugging percentage. Even with their pitching flaws, they are just two games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, so that’s what makes them an intriguing play.