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MLB World Series 2020 Favorites and Underdog Plays

Who are the favorites to win the 2020 World Series? Are there any underdogs worth putting a few bucks on?

Long and leisurely is the best way to describe the Major League Baseball season. From a month of preseason action, to the 162-game regular season schedule, and then the playoffs, there are thousands of MLB betting opportunities. That includes futures betting odds on all eight divisions, the two league championships and the World Series. This feature focuses on the 2020 World Series futures odds plus the projected win totals for all 30 MLB teams.

2020 MLB World Series Futures Odds

Posted shortly after each Fall Classic champion is crowned, World Series futures odds are available all year long. Preseason odds often reflect the final standings from the previous year and then prices change during the regular season. With the Yankees leading the way, odds below are from the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.

20202 World Series Odds

Top Favorites to Win the 2020 MLB World Series

In addition to drawing attention to the two biggest MLB markets, a New York vs. Los Angeles World Series would renew one of the longest slumbering rivalries in pro sports. The Yankees and Dodgers last met during the 1977 and 1978 World Series with New York winning both. Are the pieces in place for the rivalry to reignite 42 years later?

New York Yankees: Opened +600 now down to +300

Making a huge offseason splash, as they often do, New York acquired pitcher Gerrit Cole in December during the Winter Meetings. Cole started 33 games for Houston last year and posted a 20-5 record with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts. He will lead a Yankees rotation that includes Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka. New York starters posted a middle of the pack 784 strikeouts last season, but they will challenge for the top spot with Cole.

New York lost free agent Didi Gregorius to the Phillies, so Gleyber Torres will take over full time at shortstop. Torres was the Yankees' most dangerous hitter in the playoffs last year and, since he is just 23 years old, should only get better. ALso, DJ LeMahieu will make most of the starts at second base. Edwin Encarnacion and Cameron Maybin have also moved on. The Yankees re-signed free agent outfielder Brett Gardner, who hit a career high 28 home runs last season.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Opened +600 now down to +350

Despite missing out on the most coveted free agents—Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon—the Dodgers are second chalk to win the World Series heading into the 2020 season. The Dodgers lost pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu (Blue Jays) and Rich Hill (Twins) to free agency, and Kenta Maeda via trade. Additions to the pitching staff include David Price, Alex Wood, Brusdar Graterol and Jimmy Nelson. Where they slot in is yet to be determined.

After finishing fifth last season with 886 runs scored, the Dodgers' offense should be even better with the addition of Mookie Betts, who has a .301 career batting average. Betts also has some power, averaging 29 home runs over the past four seasons. Second only to the Yankees (101.5), the Dodgers are tagged with a 98.5 win total. Bettors are cautioned that Los Angeles has been a top World Series favorite for seven years but have come up short each season.

Houston Astros: Opened +500 now up to +800

Trudging through a tumultuous offseason that has been mired by one of the biggest cheating scandals in modern-day MLB history, Houston joins the Yankees and Dodgers as the only other triple-digit World Series favorite. While Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke remain as the top two starters, replacements need to step up for 20-game winner Cole and reliever Will Harris. Houston re-signed Lance McCullers after he missed the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. Jose Urquidy enters his second season and projects as the Astros' fourth starter. 

It’s not all bad news in Houston, as the Astros did not lose any key players on offense over the winter. Houston finished with the top team batting average (.274) and were top three in runs scored (920), home runs (288) and runs batted in (891) last season. Pressing to prove they can hit without cheating, some Astros players may be griping the bat a little tighter this year.

MLB 2020 World Series Underdogs Worth Consideration

Atlanta Braves: Opened +1000 now up to +1400

Atlanta won the NL East the last two years but lost during the National League Division Series to the Dodgers in 2018 and Cardinals in 2019. The Braves are loaded with young talent and they added Cole Hamels and closer Will Smith during the offseason. Hamels projects as the Braves' third starter when healthy. Smith posted 34 saves for the Giants last year and adds quality depth to the bullpen as a set-up man and closer. Atlanta’s moneyline price produces a healthy return.

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Chicago White Sox: Opened +6000 now down to +4000

Chicago had a busy offseason as SP Dallas Keuchel, C Yasmani Grandal and 1B Edwin Encarnacion arrived as free agents and OF Nomar Mazara was acquired in a trade with Texas. The White Sox win total is set at 83.5 and that is well above the 72 wins they had last year. The AL Central will likely be the weakest MLB division, as Minnesota and Cleveland project to regress while Detroit and Kansas City will be well off the pace. This is a “beer money” bet.

2020 MLB Team Win Total Over/Under Odds

Available until Opening Day (March 26), Westgate bookmakers are offering team win total odds. Baltimore and Detroit have the lowest total at 56.5, while the Yankees' 101.5 line is the highest. Over the past 10 seasons, six teams have won 56 or fewer games and 10 teams have won 102 or more games. Boston (2018) has the most wins at 108 while Detroit (2019) and Baltimore (2018) are tied for the fewest at 47 over the past decade.

Listed with a line that is 12.5 wins higher than they posted in 2019, the Padres and Angels are projected to have the biggest turn arounds this season. The Padres have not won more than 77 games since 2010, but the Friars would finish above .500 for the first time in 10 years if they surpass their 82.5 win total. Chicago’s 83.5 win total has the White Sox exceeding 2019 by 11.5 wins, while Detroit needs to win 10 additional games to go over their 56.5 total.

After winning 107 games last season, Houston projects to have a biggest drop off, as the Astros are posted with a 94.5 win total. Minnesota (101-61) won the AL Central last year, but the Twins' total is set at 90.5 this season. Following two straight 97 win seasons, Oakland has the third-highest drop off, as the Athletics' total is set at 88.5 wins. The table below shows win totals from the previous two seasons and the Over/Under options for 2020 are both tagged with a (-110) price. 

2020 MLB Team Win Totals

American League vs. National League World Series Winners

Teams representing the American League have posted a 66-49 record over the National League during the first 115 World Series. The Boston Americans (Boston Red Sox) defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first official Fall Classic way back in 1903. The Junior Circuit posted a 33-17 record during the first 50 World Series. The first half-decade ended with New York winning a fifth straight title when the Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953.

Fall Classic titles were split almost 50/50 over the next 50 years, as the American League owned a 26-24 edge. The Senior Circuit opened the second half-century with a victory when the New York Giants (SF Giants) swept the Cleveland Indians 4-0 during the 1954 Fall Classic. Closing out the first decade, Boston ended an 85-year drought as the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 in 2004 to claim their first World Series championship since 1918.

Continuing an even split, the National League has an 8-7 edge during the last 17 World Series showdowns. The second century of Fall Classics began in 2005 with the Chicago White Sox sweeping Houston 4-0 while the Astros were still in the National League. After 36 years in Montreal, the Expos moved to Washington in 2005 and the Nationals claimed its first World Series in franchise history when they defeated the Astros 4-3 during the latest World Series in 2019.

Only six of the current 30 MLB teams have not won a World Series. The Padres and Rangers are 0-2, while the Rookies and Rays are 0-1 during Fall Classic appearances. The Mariners are the only MLB franchise that hasn't advanced to the World Series. With total franchise championship titles in brackets, here are the past 50 MLB champions.

Past 50 World Series Winners

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