As spring training begins, MLB betting market heats up, including World Series odds

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Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena celebrates after their 4-1 World Series win against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6 on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Super Bowl is over, and though it’s still winter in most parts of the country, we’ve heard the magical words that tell us springtime is on the way: “Pitchers and catchers report.”

Indeed, spring training has started across Major League Baseball camps in Arizona and Florida, with pitchers and catchers leading to position players next week for all 30 major league teams.

The regular season is still more than a month away, but with a busy preseason that includes the return of the World Baseball Classic, it’s time to start thinking about betting on the boys of summer. Before you know it, you’ll be sweating — literally — at a ballpark with a hot dog and beer in hand and rooting on your team.

That also means it’s time to place your bets on which teams and players will excel this season. Let’s run down the list of futures markets available at FanDuel Sportsbook.

World Series

Let’s start at the top with World Series futures odds. For the first time since 2019, we appear ready to go into a full season without the Los Angeles Dodgers as favorites.

This year, the reigning champion Houston Astros are favorites, despite the loss of ace pitcher Justin Verlander in free agency. The Astros are +600 at FanDuel.

The next team on the list is the Los Angeles Dodgers (+750), who for once have made no significant offseason additions and saw Trea Turner depart in free agency. They are followed by the New York Yankees (+800), who added Carlos Rodon to their rotation and re-signed 62-homer man Aaron Judge.

Two NL East teams enter the picture immediately after with one being the Atlanta Braves, who actually had a better record last year than they did in their World Series-winning campaign of 2021. The other is the New York Mets, who seemingly made an offseason acquisition every day, signing Verlander and Jose Quintana, as well as re-signing Brandon Nimmo and Edwin Diaz.

The crowded odds board continues with a popular team at 10-to-1: the San Diego Padres. The Padres added shortstop Xander Bogaerts in free agency after landing trade-deadline gem Juan Soto last year. Fernando Tatis Jr. also will be back after missing last season with injury/suspension, though his suspension for using banned substances will last about a month into the season.

Last year’s NL champion Philadelphia Phillies added Turner but are still only +1400 to win the World Series, followed by the Toronto Blue Jays (+1500), Seattle Mariners (+1800), St. Louis Cardinals (+2000) and Tampa Bay Rays (+2200).

The top team listed that didn’t make the playoffs last season is the Chicago White Sox (+3000), and then there’s the final team that did, the Cleveland Guardians (+2500).

WORLD SERIES ODDS

Houston Astros +600

Los Angeles Dodgers +750

New York Yankees +800

Atlanta Braves, New York Mets +800

San Diego Padres +1000

Philadelphia Phillies +1400

Toronto Blue Jays +1500

Seattle Mariners +1800

St. Louis Cardinals +2000

Tampa Bay Rays +2200

Cleveland Guardians +2500

Chicago White Sox +3000

Minnesota Twins +3300

Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels +4000

San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers +5000

Boston Red Sox +6000

Chicago Cubs +8000

Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins +10000

Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers +12000

Kansas City Royals +15000

Pittsburgh Pirates +20000

Cincinnati Reds +25000

Colorado Rockies +30000

Washington Nationals +50000

Oakland Athletics +100000

League and division championships

The top teams on the World Series board make leading appearances here, too, of course. The Astros are a short +300 to win the American League, followed by the Yankees at +320 and then a gap to the Blue Jays at +700 and Mariners at +900.

The Astros also are the biggest division favorite of any team at -200 to win the AL West, ahead of the Mariners at +360 and the Angels at +700. The Yankees are also an odds-on favorite at +110 in the AL East, ahead of the Blue Jays (+220) and Rays (+300). There doesn’t appear to be a bona fide World Series contender in the AL Central, which explains why the division odds are tight: the Guardians at +135 are just a dime more expensive than the White Sox at +200, with the Twins at +250.

In the National League, the Dodgers are the preseason favorite for the sixth consecutive year, but only barely. L.A. is at +400 with the Braves at +420. This pennant race appears more wide open than the AL, with six teams priced less than 10-to-1. The Mets (+420) and Padres (+500) are next, followed by the Phillies (+700) and Cardinals (+1000).

The Padres also are a serious threat to the Dodgers in the NL West, with L.A. priced at -140 and San Diego at +145. It’s an even closer race in the NL East, with the Braves (+135) favored by just a nickel over the Mets (+140), with the NL champion Phillies back at +300. And in the NL Central, the Cardinals are -115 favorites over the Brewers (+145) and Cubs (+550).

Individual awards

It’s no surprise that Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani is the MVP favorite in the American League; he won the award in 2021, and it took Judge’s Ruth-ian effort to deny him last year. Ohtani is +220, followed by Judge at +650.

You could do worse than three-time MVP Mike Trout, also of the Angels, at +800. Young phenoms Julio Rodriguez of the Mariners (+1000), Yordan Alvarez of the Astros (+1200) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays (+1500) are next.

In the National League, the odds reflect a more wide-open race. Padres outfielder Soto is the favorite at +550, followed by Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts at +850 and Cardinals first baseman — last year’s winner — Paul Goldschmidt (+950). They’re the only players at less than 10-to-1.

Ronald Acuna Jr., Tatis Jr., Nolan Arenado and a third Padres player, infielder Manny Machado, all sit at +1000. There are three more players at +1500 or below: new Phillies shortstop Trea Turner (+1200), Freddie Freeman of the Dodgers (+1300) and Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (+1400).

In the Cy Young races, last year’s American League winner was Verlander. Now he’s third in the National League race at +700 behind the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes (+500) and last year’s NL winner, the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara (+500). Verlander’s new teammate, Max Scherzer, is at +800.

With Verlander gone from the AL, the favorite is an old NL star: Jacob DeGrom, who went from the Mets to the Texas Rangers. He’s +500 with the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole trailing close behind at +700. The trio chasing them with 10-to-1 odds or better are White Sox ace Dylan Cease (+900), along with Carlos Rodon of the Yankees and Alek Manoah of the Blue Jays (both at +1000).

The Rookie of the Year favorites are Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson (+280) in the AL and Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll (+350) in the NL.

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