The 2023 Major League Baseball season has been a rollercoaster of surprises and unanticipated team performances, shaking up World Series odds and catching the attention of sports enthusiasts.
Case in point: in early May, when we last examined the season’s developments, the Pittsburgh Pirates stood out as the lucky stars, boasting a 20-11 record, the fourth-best in baseball, which was 1½ games ahead of any other team in the National League Central. The Pirates’ surprising performance at that time seemed like a harbinger of a potentially successful season.
However, their fortunes have since dwindled. Since then, the Pirates have posted a 14-21 record, making it the fifth-worst in the league. Consequently, their World Series odds have taken a hit at New Zealand betting sites moving from +10000 to +12500. The Pirates still cling to the first place in their division, which may explain why their odds haven’t plummeted even further.
A striking revelation is that, as of now, five out of the six division leaders began the 2023 season with odds that were not even in the top 10. The NL East leader, Atlanta Braves, had the fourth-best odds at +850. In contrast, Tampa Bay Rays, leading the American League East, were 11th with +2500; Minnesota Twins, leading the AL Central, were tied at 13th with +4000; Texas Rangers, leading the AL West, stood at 18th with +5000; Arizona Diamondbacks, leading the NL West, were at 24th with +12500; and the Pirates were tied for 25th with +20000.
The Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers are notable for their significant upward momentum since the preseason, primarily due to their impressive and consistent performances over the past 11 weeks. The Rays have rocketed up to become the fourth most favored team to win the championship at +650, whereas the Rangers now hold the sixth spot with +1600. Both teams have impressively overtaken strong contenders such as the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, and Philadelphia Phillies. It’s also worth pondering how much further up the Rangers could have been had their ace pitcher Jacob deGrom not been lost for the season due to Tommy John surgery.
A meteoric rise has been observed in the Arizona Diamondbacks, who boast a major league-best record of 25-12 since May 4. They have expanded their lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in their division to three games. The Diamondbacks’ ascendancy has been fueled by Corbin Carroll’s offensive prowess and the combined pitching finesse of Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. Their World Series odds have significantly improved to +3000, making them the 11th-best bet. However, the Dodgers still hold a considerable edge with odds of +550, tied for second-best.
In the realm of individual achievements, Shohei Ohtani is the frontrunner for the AL MVP, with odds of -300, primarily due to his extraordinary performances in both batting and pitching. Ronald Acuna Jr. is eyeing a historic season in the NL but has yet to completely secure the MVP race, as Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts remain within range and are climbing.
Moreover, Corbin Carroll and Zac Gallen have positioned themselves favorably in the NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young races. Interestingly, a new contender has emerged in the Rookie of the Year race – Elly De La Cruz from Cincinnati Reds, who has achieved odds of +700 just eight games into his career.
With just under four months of action ahead, this season promises to be an exciting race to the finish.