Major League Baseball will mark the long-awaited beginning of their 2020 season on July 23rd, after over three months of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After negotiations between the owners and the players union, the two sides ultimately struck a deal on a 60-game regular season culminating in a regularly-timed postseason.
The 60-game season will definitely make a difference in a league that routinely plays 162 contests per team each year. Take last year’s World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals: They were 27-33 through 60 games in 2019. The usually lengthy season favors teams that can win the most consistently over six jam-packed months of baseball.
The shortened season could breed some interesting results.
If the 2019 season were called after 60 games, the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago Cubs would have taken the place of the Oakland Athletics, Washington Nationals, and St. Louis Cardinals. For the last two seasons, the turnover in teams was three each time, leaving seven teams that held their playoff position from the 60-game mark to the end of the 162-game season.
While there is uncertainty in which teams could get hot in a shortened season, odds makers have little choice but to do what they’ve always done: Favor the best teams.
The Los Angeles Dodgers (+375) are the betting favorites after winning a National League-leading 106 games last season. After adding outfielder Mookie Betts to the mix, Los Angeles is the leading favorite to win the National League and the World Series.
Right behind them, the New York Yankees (+400) lead as the betting favorite for the American League. New York finished 103-59 last season; four games behind the Houston Astros. Odds makers favor the Yankees over the Astros, who may still be dealing with the fallout of their cheating scandal.
With the scandal aside, the Houston Astros (+800) are still the next-most likely team to win the World Series. The Astros had a league-best 107-55 record in 2019, and forced the World Series Champion Washington Nationals to seven games. They could easily be the defending champions, so their third place ranking points to two things: Uncertainty after a clubhouse-changing cheating scandal, and potentially playing in a smaller market than Los Angeles and New York.
After the three leading favorites, the Atlanta Braves (+1300,) Minnesota Twins (+1600,) and Tampa Bay Rays (+1800) come in as the next three most favored teams to win the 2020 World Series.
The defending champions, the Washington Nationals (+1900,) slot in as the seventh-most likely team to win the World Series. Despite a stellar second half of the 2019 regular season and eventual run to win the 2019 World Series over the Houston Astros, Washington did finish tied for eighth in the league-wide regular season standings. With what The Athletes Hub ranked as MLB’s best pitching rotation, the Nationals could still make noise again in 2020.
The Kansas City Royals (+50000) and Seattle Mariners (+50000) are the longest shots to win the 2020 World Series.
Full odds available on VegasInsider.com