Amid fears over the coronavirus pandemic, on March 16 Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the start of the season would be delayed indefinitely. The league issued a statement that “MLB will keep fans updated on decisions regarding plans for the 2020 schedule in the days and weeks ahead.” Adding that “The clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins.”
While we don’t yet know exactly when MLB might begin its 2020 season, that hasn’t stopped oddsmakers from handicapping the sport. The odds to win the 2020 World Series has been nothing short of a game of Baccarat.net with two teams dancing at the top. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees.
Per Sports Betting Dime, the Dodgers are currently the favorites to win the World Series, at +325, meaning a $100 wager would yield $325 if the Dodgers win their first championship since 1988. The Yankees pay slightly betters at +350, and with the Houston Astros a distant third at +775. The Atlanta Braves +1500 and the Minnesota Twins +1800 round out the top five favorites.
Expectations Equal Pressure
Both the MLB and the players association appear determined to have a 2020 season, with both sides currently in negotiations over a proposal to begin the season sometime after the 4th of July holiday. Details regarding how many games and potential rules changes including an expanded post-season and league-wide designated hitter remain unknown. There is even talk about splitting the baseball into East and West leagues to reduce travel. No matter how that shakes out, the pressure will be on Los Angeles and New York to win.
Expanding the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams would make it more likely the Dodgers and Yankees would make the postseason, but it could possibly add challenges to advancing to the World Series. The baseball season is a long grind. Both teams bolstered their rosters this past off-season, with Los Angeles trading for Mookie Betts and David Price, and the Yankees signing prize free agent Gerrit Cole. Do fewer games increase or reduce the impact of these acquisitions? Nobody seems to know.
The New York Yankees
There was no bigger offseason move than signing Cole. If Cole maintains his form he is a game-changer for the Yankees and the money he’s being paid screams “win-now” at all costs. Add in James Paxton, J.A. Happ, and Masahiro Tanaka and the light-out bullpen, and New York may boast the best pitching in the entire league. With the Boston Red Sox taking a step back, and the possibility that Houston gets moved to a different league in 2020, makes the Yankees a great bet to advance to the World Series.
The Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers’ everyday lineup is deep, flexible, and impressive. Los Angeles fields an incredible mix of veterans including Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner, MVP candidates such as Betts and Cody Bellinger, and top young talents including Gavin Lux, Dustin May, and Walker Buehler. The sudden loss in the 2019 playoffs to the Washington Nationals brings a greater sense of urgency for this team and the betting money right now favors their return to the World Series.