A lot of things can happen over the next few months to completely upend how we look at various MLB teams going into the 2019 regular season. Indeed, there fans forums are abuzz with talk of potential blockbuster free trade moves for the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Both have been linked with almost every ambitious team in baseball, but, as you might expect, either player would make a sizeable demand in salary.
At the moment, we are told that the Phillies have been making most headway with Harper and that the Yankees research on Machado has been “extensive”. But who knows where they will end up? The same goes for other interesting free agents, such Michael Brantley and Patrick Corbin. We are also in the dark over trades decided through Hot Stove season, so a lot could change.
Phillies’ moves would impact betting odds
In that respect, many would be reluctant to take a punt on a long-term bet for the 2019 season, but there is also a lot of value in taking a chance on a team before the management makes a big splash at overhauls its roster. For example, the latest baseball betting odds from 888sport show the Phillies at 20/1 (+2000) for the World Series. Those odds will surely drop if an elite-level free agent, such as Machado, arrives in Philadelphia, so it might be best to get in early if you think one big acquisition will make a good team into a great one.
On the flip side, sportsbooks have stuck with what they know by putting the Astros and Red Sox as joint-favorites for the World Series next year, with 888sport giving both sides odds of 6/1 (+600). The Yankees, meanwhile, come in just behind at 7/1 (+70). There is little doubt that the trio were the best in baseball last season, with each posting 100+ wins in the regular season.
Odds skewed in favor of American League
However, from a betting perspective, having three teams from the American League at the top of the odds means that value can be found in National League teams. A bit like the skewing of the odds towards the Western Conference in NBA due to the dominance of the Golden State Warriors, some decent value can be found in the National League and it might make sense to make an each-way bet. With 888sport, the Cubs and Dodgers lead the way for NL teams, coming in at 10/1 (+1000). There is also some respect given to the Brewers and Braves, with both sides getting odds of 16/1 (+1600).
There is also a clutch of other teams, like the Phillies, who might make some moves before the season begins, and who are now priced at pretty big odds. The Angels, for example, have a decent price of 28/1 (+2800), as do the Mariners at 40/1 (+4000). That’s not bad for two teams who were flirted with Playoff contention throughout the summer months.
In the end though, the Sox, Yankees and Astros do look in a strong position once again. But it’s worth remembering that only one of that trio can go to the World Series and, as a consequence, they’ll come up against a National League team offered at much bigger odds. Food for thought as we approach the Winter Meetings.