- BetOnline has updated 2019 World Series odds for all 30 Major League Baseball teams
- The Nationals (+1600) are the best Wild Card bet to win it all this October
- Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin form the top starting rotation in baseball
The 2014 San Francisco Giants remain the first and only Wild-Card team to win the World Series since Major League Baseball added two extra playoff spots eight seasons ago.
While the sample size is small, the current postseason format makes it difficult for the two AL and NL wild-card clubs to advance deep into October because they have to burn their best starting pitcher in a one-game playoff against each other for the right to move on.
It’s one of the big reasons why 27 of 28 wild-card teams since 2012 have failed to win the title. In fact, just six wild-card clubs have won a division series in that time, and only two have won their league championship series.
Using the odds at BetOnline, let’s look at this season’s wild-card contenders and determine what franchise has the best chance to follow in the championship footsteps of the 2014 Giants.
2019 WORLD SERIES ODDS
|Potential Wild-Card Teams||Odds|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+1400|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+2500|
BEST BET: WASHINGTON NATIONALS
What distinguishes the 2014 Giants from all the other wild-card teams?.. A 6-foot-4-inch horse of a man named Madison Bumgarner.
Already a two-time World Series champion,“MadBum” put his club on his back that October, setting the all-time mark for innings pitched (52.2) in a single-postseason and recording the third-lowest ever ERA (1.03) by a playoff starting pitcher.
After finishing off the Royals with a five-inning save in a 3-2 Game 7 win, Bumgarner also became the first player to record two wins, a shutout and a save in a single World Series.
Madison Bumgarner’s 2014 postseason might be the greatest playoff pitching performance of all time.
It came very close to falling apart in Game 7 of the World Series.
This is REWINDER. pic.twitter.com/oPmcvKRC6K
— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 18, 2018
This particular history lesson illustrates why the Nationals are the best bet to topple powerhouse clubs such as the Astros, Dodgers and Yankees this fall.
Before straining his back in late July, Max Scherzer was cruising towards his fourth-career Cy Young Award, something only four other players have accomplished in MLB history.
Mad Max (see, even his nickname is similar to Bumgarner’s) went 6-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 68 strikeouts in the month of June, and tossed a major-league-leading 181 strikeouts over the season’s first half.
Putting Scherzer on the mound for a one-game Wild Card playoff is an almost unfair advantage that no other club can match.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) August 23, 2019
Better yet, Washington would then be able to roll out Stephen Strasburg (15-5, 3.63 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, 193 Ks) and Patrick Corbin (10-6, 3.15 ERA, 1.126 WHIP, 193 Ks) in the NLDS versus the Dodgers before calling Scherzer’s number again in Game 3.
The Nationals are also no slouches with the sticks. Led by NL Player of the Week Anthony Rendon, the club has nine players with double-digit home runs, and no NL team has been better getting on base.
Before a surprising 2-0 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday, Washington had won 12 of their past 14, outscoring opponents by a whopping 63 runs. Their 54-24 record since May 24th is also the best in all of baseball.
Anthony Rendon played 7 G this week
Anthony Rendon had 14 H
Anthony Rendon had a .483 AVG
Anthony Rendon had a .543 OBP
Anthony Rendon had a .793 SLG
Anthony Rendon is your NL Player of the Week!
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 26, 2019
To summarize, a club with balanced hitting and the best starting rotation in baseball is still available at 16-1 odds to win the World Series.
If Mad Max can channel MadBum and get back into his Cy Young groove, that’s definitely the Wild Card wager you want to make.