The 2017 MLB season is just around the corner. It is set to begin on Sunday, April 2nd with the Rays hosting the Yankees, the Diamondbacks hosting the Giants and the Cardinals taking on the Cubs.
Bookmakers from around the world have set futures odds both in Vegas and overseas. The lines we are going to discuss here are the World Series prices. Let’s take a look at the favorites and then my value bets to capture the title.
The Chicago Cubs (+450) are co-favorites to take down the World Series this season. They are expected to repeat after ending their incredible 108-year drought last October by coming back from a 3-1 deficit to top the Cleveland Indians in one of the most dramatic World Series you’ll ever see.
But oddsmakers are also giving the Boston Red Sox (+450) a ton of respect this year. That’s because they traded for Chris Sale this offseason, giving them three former Cy Young winners to lead their rotation to go along with Rick Porcello and David Price. Plus, they already have the best lineup in the American League.
Next in line are the Indians (+800), Nationals and Dodgers (both +1000) and the Giants (+1200). Cleveland made a surprise run to the World Series last year and may be overpriced here. Both Washington and Los Angeles are real threats to the Cubs in the NL, and you can never count out San Francisco, provided it fixes its bullpen issues from last year.
Scroll below this table to view my best value bets in each league.
I think the Mariners are one of the sneakiest teams in baseball this season. They got a lot younger with an emphasis on speed and defense. They still have their starts in Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz. But they’ve added Jean Segura, who led the NL with 203 hits last year, at shortstop. They added outfielders Jarrod Dyson and Mitch Haniger, with the latter being a top prospect who should start right away.
The rotation brings back Felix Hernandez, James Paxton and Hisashi Iwakuma. And they got a boost to that rotation with the additions of both Drew Smyly and Yovani Gallardo, giving them the depth that they desperately need. They found their bonafide closer in Edwin Diaz, who recorded 18 saves last year while striking out a whopping 88 batters in 51 2/3 innings. If they can find some consistency in the 7th and 8th innings, this team won’t have any glaring weaknesses in 2017.
There really are less than a handful of teams that I even give a chance to win the World Series this year in the National League. They are the Cubs, Dodgers and Nationals in my opinion. I’m going with the Dodgers because they gave the Cubs all they could handle in the NLCS last year and arguably should have won. They have a sneaky good lineup that doesn’t get enough credit, and added second-baseman Logan Forsythe from the Rays this offseason to bat leadoff.
They will have one of the best rotations in baseball, led by the 1-2 punch of Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill. Hyun Jin-Ryu and Brandon McCarthy will return healthy this season. Kenta Maeda had a strong rookie season last year, and Jose Urias posted a 1.96 ERA over the last two months. Scott Kazmir rounds out a left-handed-heavy rotation. Kenley Jansen has become arguably the best closer in baseball.