Ben's World Series Bets
It seemed extremely unlikely at points, but we finally have baseball and anyone that has followed me before knows I couldn’t be more excited! This 60 game season is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it adds some more fun to futures betting seeing as you won’t have money tied up from March-October. It also adds fun to the expected increase in variance due to the fraction of games we will see compared to normal. There were a few fantastic articles posted on FanGraphs discussing this exact theme which I will link here and here.
Due to the rise in variance, it’s much more likely we see teams in the mix at the end that we likely wouldn’t during a full season. Below I will cover my favorite bets at current odds to win the World Series… let’s get to it!
We kick off with my favorite bet and one that I actually was on way before we knew that this baseball season would be drastically different than ones we are accustomed to. The Reds don’t jump off the page with just the 11th highest positive change in their chances of making the playoffs according to ZiPS, but that doesn’t matter as much to me given that I already liked them to win the World Series during a regular MLB season. The biggest positive they receive is playing the AL Central, meaning 8 games against the Tigers and Royals. They have the pitching to be an extremely tough out in a playoff series, and their addition of Mike Moustakas plays perfectly into the new universal DH rule.
Not only will the short season increase variance, but I also think it will benefit some of these younger teams who will be more inclined to be aggressive with their young up-and-coming players. Not only is the White Sox lineup getting a major boost with Luis Robert joining the big league club, we also should see Nick Madrigal takeover everyday second base duties relatively quickly. The time off will also help their pitching with Michael Kopech -- still one of the top prospects in all of baseball -- working his way back from Tommy John surgery.
If the Reds benefit from playing the AL Central, then the White Sox certainly benefit from being in the AL Central. They get to play a whopping one-third of their games against the Royals and Tigers, and can easily overtake the Indians for the number two (or even one) spot in their division.
My third and final bet is one that I expect to fly a bit under the radar with people focusing on other up-and-coming teams. The A’s actually see a slightly negative impact to their playoff chances per ZiPS, but they have the fifth-most positive shift to their title chances (1.5%, even with the Reds). Similar to the White Sox, the A’s could see a huge boost due to the low amount of games as both their young potential ace-level Pitchers, A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo, should avoid innings limitations. This lineup was quietly top eight in runs scored a year ago while coming in fifth in home runs as well.