Less than 24 hours after the Washington Nationals won the World Series, Las Vegas released the betting odds for the 2020 World Series winner. Last year on opening day the Nationals were 18/1 to win the 2019 World Series. They had just lost their biggest star in Bryce Harper and Vegas was down on them.
What most people didn’t realize is even though they lost Harper, they did not lose their best player. In fact, they lost their fourth best player as they Max Scherzer, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg were still around. This team was still loaded and I’m sure there were plenty of people who cashed in on them.
I like doing this before the free agents sign because after all the big names sign, the odds will shift. I don’t risk a lot, but it’s worth it to try and get the most out of the money I do put in there.
The current odds have the Houston Astros as 5/1 favorites to win the 2020 World Series. The long shots are probably exactly who you think. The Marlins, Royals, Tigers and Orioles are all 1000/1 to win the World Series. This means that if you bet $100 on the Royals to win this year, your ticket will cash at $100,000! With futures bets, you can make more than one bet based on how you feel about that team. Actually, I will dive into what kind of bets you can make right now!
2020 World Series Best Bet
Before, I would have said the Astros are probably the best bet even if they lose Gerrit Cole to free agency. They have a returning a core of José Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Justin Verlander, just to name a few. They will also get a full season out of AL Rookie of the Year Yordan Álvarez.
Though they have the manpower to get a championship, a revelation was made that will have an impact throughout baseball. A former Astro player, backed up with three other sources, admitted the team was stealing signs back in 2017. This includes using a CF camera during their 2017 World Series run.
With the possibility of some real punishments coming, I am going in a different direction.
New York Yankees 6/1
My best bet is going to be the Yankees at 6/1. The Yankees with a horrid pitching rotation still managed to make a run to the ALCS before losing to the Astros. The Yanks were in the top 5 of every major offensive category in 2019 and that was with the heart of their lineup injured for part of the year.
Regardless of what is said by the Yankees front office, I don’t believe for a second that they will head into 2020 with the current rotation. Even with Luis Severino getting healthy, it is still a subpar rotation.
I expect them to be right in the middle of the Cole and Strasburg sweepstakes. If they swing and miss on both of those guys, I really think that Madison Bumgarner might fall right into their lap.
They may go after some of the big-name bats in free agency as well, but they are returning most of their production from last year. I honestly don’t see why they would, but it is the Yankees and they love spending money.
Either way, this is an organization that is always in the mix. Betting $100 on the Yankees right now will get you $600 if they win the 2020 World Series.
2020 World Series Value Bets
A value bet will be made on a team who is pretty much in the middle of the pack in terms of odds but has the roster to make a run. The reason for this is easy to see after the Nationals World Series win this year. Betting a smaller amount on a team with middling odds can work out for you.
After digging through the odds, there were 2 teams that stuck out to me as great value bets. The first team is the Boston Red Sox.
Boston Red Sox 14/1
Look, we know Mookie Betts is not staying in Boston. He wants to get paid (and he deserves it), and the Sox don’t seem to want to pony up. What that means is the Sox will head into 2020 with a top 5 baseball player playing his heart out to get Bryce Harper level money in his contract year. After posting 6.8 WAR in 2019, I expect him to be closer to his 2018 number of 10.9 WAR in 2020.
There was also a recent report that Chris Sale is doing very well in his comeback from injury. If Sale is healthy, then he is healthy enough to be the ace for the Red Sox in 2020. 2019 was his worst season by a long shot. His Runs Allowed per 9 innings was over a full run higher than his previous career worst year. Pretty much every advanced stat for Chris Sale was the worst of his career in 2019. It seemed like his injury had lingered for a couple of months before the Sox finally shut him down. I fully expect Sale to regain his 2017-2018 form and be a huge asset for the Red Sox in 2020.
In addition to those two superstars, JD Martinez just opted back in to his deal with the Red Sox giving them a truly scary middle of the lineup. Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts are both coming off career years as well. We watched both guys turn into stars in 2019 and I expect both to build off that success in 2020. I don’t think they will replicate the incredible seasons they had, but I expect both to be extremely close to their 2019 numbers.
This team has all the pieces to be a contender in 2020 and they just need the pieces to come together. With a capable rotation and an all-world lineup, I expect them to be right in the middle of it all this year. Get your 14/1 bet on them now because they will be for real.
Chicago Cubs 22/1
The other great value bet I saw was the Chicago Cubs at 22/1. Right next to the Red Sox, the Cubs were probably the most underwhelming team of 2019. It seemed like nothing could go right for them. Despite those struggles they were still in the playoff race until the last week of the season.
They should bring back the entire core of Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant and with David Ross taking over I am really excited to see this Cubs team get back to their winning ways. They bring back pretty much the entire rotation of Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana. The only one who may be gone is Cole Hamels.
Hendricks was great in 2019 and I really expect Lester and Quintana to be a whole lot better in 2020. Those 3 plus Darvish make for an extremely interesting rotation in 2020. Hamels is turning 36 this year, but I think keeping him on a short-term deal would be great for this rotation! If you get the best out of these five guys, you have five All-Stars and two or three may compete for the Cy Young.
The biggest question is going to be whether Bryant can regain his 2016 MVP form when he hit 39 HRs and drove in over 100 runs. His numbers last year were almost there, but not quite. He is still directly in his prime and I expect a big bounce back from him this year. I can see 35+ HRs and 100+ RBIS again from him this year.
The underrated piece of this team will be Kyle Schwarber. Heading into his age 27 season, Schwarber has improved his BA by at least 12 points every season. His WAR has gone from negative (2017) to 2.3 (2019). He has steadily improved every year and I expect a big leap from him this year. He will join Bryant, Baez, and Rizzo in leading this team back to the playoffs.
Under David Ross, I expect this Cubs team to bounce back in a big way in 2019.
Wild Card Bet
I make a wild card bet every year. A wild card bet is a bet made on a team that is a long shot to win the World Series. My wild card bet this year will be the Los Angeles Angels. They already have the best player in baseball, and they are currently the favorite to land Gerrit Cole.
They also just named Joe Maddon their manager. We have all seen what Joe Maddon does in his first few years as a manager for a ballclub. He took the Rays to the World Series in his third season in Tampa Bay. Then he followed that by winning the Cubs a World Series in his second year there.
There is talent in the lineup and the rotation, and I really think Joe Maddon is just the guy to put it all together!
I’m not saying to put the house on it because that would be a bad idea. It wouldn’t be a terrible idea though to sprinkle a little bit on a team that is 50/1.