There are surprises scattered throughout the Major League Baseball standings a month into the season.
But what effect has the willing upstarts and up-setters in the National and American League’s had on the long-term futures of the favorites to win it all in October (or early November, possibly)? Not much.
For starters, it’s been the Los Angeles Dodgers’ world and it continues to be even with their less-than-stellar play of late and a tough injury break that came on Monday.
As far as continuing action goes, the Dodgers and Yankees lead as favorites in their respective leagues, but the defending Series champs are the clear favorites and it’s been that way since they clinched the 2020 title.
In 2021, there still may be a chance baseball fans could end this season partying again like it’s 1977 in what would be a true Big City Series, but quite a few variables are popping up in both the Dodgers and Yanks divisions as well as the greater leagues they’ll be trying to collect pennants in.
First, regarding the residents of Chavez Ravine, who have also made the top of the NL West their home for the past 8 years: currently the Dodgers are spending a rare stretch off the division’s top spot after losing seven of their last 10 games, a struggling stretch that followed their red-hot 13-2 start in April. L.A. is still only a half-game off first-place San Francisco (16-11) and tied with the ever-trendy rising contender San Diego.
The young and ultra-talented Padres have split a lot of attention from baseball fans looking at things in Southern California and indeed the Padres (+900) are a popular bet at the moment to represent the NL in the series, but the Dodgers are at +325, which means a bet with them would yield just over a third of what it would get riding with San Diego. The Dodgers’ line is also exactly half of New York’s (+650), the most popular bet in the AL.
Bettors have simply had the Dodgers return to the Fall Classic as a done deal since last October, where L.A. opened at +500 for 2021 in the moments right after beating Tampa Bay for their first championship since 1988. With more high-profile acquisitions over the winter, led by picking up another ace pitcher in Trevor Bauer, no one has come close to knocking the Dodgers off their perch as favorites, despite a lot of movement below them.
Aggressive as well in the off-season, the Padres wound up as the second most-popular pick in the NL after trading for top-end pitchers like Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, and as they currently stay at pace with the Dodgers those two teams should remain ahead in the NL futures race. Though the Giants have had a good first month they are only the 12th most popular NL bet to reach the series at the moment (+6000). Out of the NL teams still ahead of San Francisco (16-11) outside of the West, only the NL Central’s Nos. 1 and 2, Milwaukee (17-10) and St. Louis (15-12) have winning records at the moment.
The Phillies (13-14) lead the NL East with a losing record and currently have +4000 odds to reach the Series while the Mets at +1000 are fourth in all of baseball.
In the AL, the White Sox (+1300) are the only other top-five team from that league outside of the Yankees, who are maintaining their favorite status despite a mere .500 start (14-14).
Currently second in the AL Central, the South Siders are drawing much better odds than their current division leader, Kansas City (+6000). In the East, the division-leading Red Sox (+3300) are worth a look at the moment, sitting at the same odds as the Angels, who are sitting fourth in the AL West and only slightly better than Cleveland, who is third in the Central.
The A’s, leading the AL West by a game over Seattle and 1.5 games over Houston at the moment, are sitting at a reasonable +2500 while the Astros are at +1600, given that the two franchises have made a combined 11 postseasons since 2011 either club would be worth a look as well. The surprising Mariners (16-13), meanwhile, haven’t been in the postseason since 2001 and at +10000 are the fourth biggest outside shot to reach the World Series.
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