Astros, Dodgers, Yankees Emerging as Strongest World Series Favorites

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It’s just 12 days until the Major League Baseball postseason begins and a little over a month until the 2019 World Series is upon us. This year the fall classic will begin with game one on Oct 22nd, and if necessary, end with game seven on Oct. 30th.

So who are the leading contenders to get there and win it all? Well, you have some of the usual suspects, but the heaviest favorite, according to the 2019 World Series Odds is actually a team with just one World Series title, achieved only two seasons ago- the Houston Astros. However, two Fall Classic regulars, the New York Yankees and L.A. Dodgers, are very close behind.

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The 2019 World Series is going to be absolutely huge for wagering. First off, online sports betting is soaring in America, thanks to more states legalizing the practice, and further additional states getting the wheels in motion. Mobile sports betting will be especially huge this fall, and given this landscape, the time is right to look at what some of the expert prediction models are saying and the playoff schedule/television assignments, based on the current MLB standings.

Another story angle to watch this MLB postseason is the centennial of the 1919 World Series, the only one ever to have been definitely manipulated by gamblers. The heavily favored Chicago White Sox lost, intentionally, to the Cincinnati Reds in that fall classic, and with that defeat the infamous “Black Sox” scandal was created, and it’s remained fixated in the American sporting and business consciousness ever since.  Although given how much has changed in the worlds of sports and betting, it is certainly time to rethink what happened way back when.

Getting back to the present day, both the White Sox and Reds are long eliminated from contention this season, but you can typically see the favored Astros priced at +215 to win it all with the Dodgers coming in at +260 and the Yankees backed at +400. FiveThirtyEight gives the Astros, holders of the best record in baseball, a 26% chance of winning it all.

The Yankees, winners of more World Series than anybody, and by a very wide margin, currently have a 21% chance to get their 28th World Series title. The current NL West champion Dodgers, who have won it all six times, most recently in 1988 (a series that featured the iconic Kirk Gibson walk off home run and arm pump gesture) currently see a 22% chance of achieving ultimate glory again.

The reigning back to back NL champions have been to the fall classic 20 times, but obviously struggle in taking that final step to close the deal.

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The same can be said for the soon to be NL East Atlanta Braves, priced at +650, but considered the Buffalo Bills of baseball. The franchise has been to the final round nine times, but only won it thrice. Joining them in the class of second tier favorites, are the St. Luis Cardinals + 1400

We can’t overlook the long shots, and this year brings a lot of intriguing teams that face very long odds, but for good reason. The Washington Nationals, valued at +1800, have never won a postseason series in their history, but will likely reach the playoffs again. The Oakland Athletics, backed at +2200, have also gotten in the dance quite a bit, but haven’t won it all in close to three decades (1989).

The Tampa Bay Rays (+2200) are a sentimental favorite due to their cost-effective winning ways despite residing in baseball’s toughest, big money division, but their chances are minimal. The Chicago Cubs, priced at +2500, seem to be in a death spiral right now, having squandered away both the division, and now perhaps the Wild Card as well. Hard to see any “smart money” being laid down on the north-siders right now.

If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can always back the holders of the longest World Series win drought (1948) in the Cleveland Indians at +3000, or a franchise synonymous with futility, the Milwaukee Brewers, at +3300.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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