With the 2021 MLB playoffs beginning Tuesday, oddsmakers at SI Sportsbook have started making significant adjustments in their future markets. Obviously, the two Wild Card games on Tuesday and Wednesday will greatly affect the wagering odds bettors will find once the final eight playoff teams are set. Focusing on one favorite or spotting a long shot who offers long-term value still remains the best way to attack futures betting.
Let’s take a deeper look into the risers and fallers in each respective offering.
The Dodgers (+350) maintain their regular season position as the 2021 World Series betting favorite in the eyes of SI Sportsbook. Jockeying behind the Dodgers on the overall odds board are three teams: the Giants, Astros, and Rays, all being offered at less than +600.
If Los Angeles wins its Wednesday night Wild Card game against the Cardinals, it would set up for a titanic showdown with NL West rival San Francisco in the National League Division Series (NLDS). Max Scherzer, who is 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 11 starts since being acquired from the Washington Nationals, is a prohibitive -213 favorite over Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals at SI Sportsbook. The Giants, who led Major League Baseball in wins (107), have forced oddsmakers to make the biggest adjustment, slicing their +6000 opening odds released in October 2020 down to +450.
Tampa Bay, who led the American League in wins (100), will await the winner of the AL Wild Card matchup between the Red Sox and Yankees. Boston and New York finished the regular season with identical 92-70 records, but Boston earned home field for Tuesday's tilt after winning the season series, 10-9. The Rays, who were +1400 last October, are now being offered at +500 to earn their first World Series title.
THE LONG SHOTS
St. Louis, who must defeat the defending World Series champions to advance to the NLDS against the Giants, will attempt to build off the momentum it gathered from winning 21 of its final 25 regular season games. With an elimination game on tap against Scherzer, the Cardinals are the biggest long shot on the board at +1600.
The Red Sox, despite winning the season series against the Yankees, finds itself a home underdog against Gerrit Cole and the Yankees. Subsequently, Boston has the second-largest World Series odds at +1400.
2021 NATIONAL LEAGUE BETTING FUTURES
The Dodgers, despite being a Wild Card team, find tremendous respect among oddsmakers as they are the favorites to win the National League Pennant. Should Los Angeles defeat the Cardinals, it will face a Giants team that won the season series, 10-9. If the Dodgers advance to the National League Championship Series (NLCS), they own winning records against potential foes Milwaukee (4-3) and Atlanta (4-2).
I will continue to stress it, but the lack of respect for a Giants (+225) club that won the most regular season games offers immense value for bettors.
Milwaukee possesses arguably the best starting pitching staff in all of baseball. Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta have the potential to dominate series, and Josh Hader is one of the best closers in Major League Baseball. The Brewers offer value in NL Pennant odds at +350.
2021 AMERICAN LEAGUE BETTING FUTURES
Tampa Bay awaits the winner of the Red Sox-Yankees tilt, and oddsmakers are strongly taking into consideration that the Rays own identical 11-8 records against both AL East foes. If Tampa Bay advances to the American League Championship Series (ALCS), it would face either the White Sox or Astros. The Rays finished 2-4 against Houston and 3-3 against Chicago.
Lance Lynn, Carlos Rodon and Lucas Giolito form a solid starting rotation trio for the White Sox (+333) and make Chicago a tough out.
Houston, who went 5-2 against the White Sox, is the second-overall betting choice to capture the AL Pennant. The Astros won the season series against Chicago (5-2) and Tampa Bay (4-2), but lost four of six to the Yankees.
2021 WORLD SERIES BETTING FUTURES
More MLB Coverage:
• Welcome to the Updated Version of Playoff Baseball
• Expert Predictions: Who Will Win the World Series?
• MLB Power Rankings: Sizing Up the Postseason Field Ahead
• The Blue Jays Build Up Some Scar Tissue
• Will the Cardinals' Hot Streak Matter in the Playoffs?