- The Baseball Winter Meetings begin Sunday in Las Vegas
- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado headline the current crop of free agents
- Betting on teams you can suspect will make big moves can pay off big
For all the hype that the NFL Draft gets, Baseball’s Winter Meetings are an even bigger deal. While NFL rookies make a difference, the best quarterbacks end up on bad teams and are not in the playoffs right away. Whereas in December, baseball execs get together and voila, some of the biggest names in the sport change teams and immediately alter the balance of power.
While there hasn’t been a ton of movement in the odds since the World Series ended, signings have just kicked into high gear, and the complexion of rosters is starting to get formed.
There is no doubt Paul Goldschmidt going from Arizona to St. Louis matters, and it could prompt a response from other rivals. You can lock in that value now at sportsbooks, before the odds adjust significantly. Patrick Corbin inking with Washington is a big move as well. Does that make it more or less likely that Bryce Harper returns, or does it matter?
Let’s examine updated World Series odds and look for betting opportunities. The odds below are from Bovada.
2019 World Series Odds
|Team||Odds to Win 2019 World Series from Bovada|
|Boston Red Sox||+600|
|New York Yankess||+700|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+800|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+2300|
|New York Mets||+2500|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+4000|
|Los Angeles Angels||+5500|
|Chicago White Sox||+7000|
|San Francisco Giants||+10000|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+10000|
|San Diego Padres||+20000|
|Kansas City Royals||+25000|
American League Powers
The Red Sox, Astros, and Yankees are the three World Series favorites, and that makes sense. Boston won it all last year after putting together the best regular season too. Houston hoisted the trophy two years ago, won 103 games in 2018, and fell to the Red Sox in the ALCS. The Bronx Bombers were the only other team in the sport to win 100 games last season.
Thus far in this offseason, Boston has re-signed Nathan Eovaldi, Houston added catcher Robinson Chirinos, and New York landed James Paxton. Obviously all three teams have more work to do, but the moves thus far are meaningful.
It would be a shocker if these squads aren’t in contention, and it’s worth noting Houston has the lowest payroll of the group right now. That could indicate the Astros have more room to buy flashy free agents, but Boston and New York are never shy.
National League Contenders
The Dodgers and Cubs are the two NL teams with the most hype. LA has been to the playoffs in six straight seasons and reached the World Series in 2017 and 2018. Chicago has been a postseason regular recently and won it all three seasons ago.
LA will almost certainly lose Machado, but will get Corey Seager back from injury next year. They’ve already resigned Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu. They have a very deep rotation, plenty of talent in place, and always seem eager to make the big in-season pickup.
The Cubs brought back Cole Hamels but are said to be financially strapped. However, they likely have a strong enough roster to contend as is, and Theo Epstein is very creative.
Every free agent worth discussing seems to have Philadelphia on their list. The Phillies have cash to spend and a good young nucleus to link up with. If they sign Harper or Machado their odds will drop dramatically. If they get both, which likely isn’t impossible, they’ll become a favorite. Philly could also be in play for Dallas Keuchel, AJ Pollock, Michael Brantley, or really any other big name. It seems likely by opening day they’ll have a roster worth considering, and the odds are likely to go down.
Speaking of NL East clubs, the Nationals have won the division in four of the last seven seasons. Harper may leave, but wouldn’t the additions of Corbin plus veteran backstops Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki make the team more viable and attractive? Even if he does depart, that leaves lots of money to add in other places, and their rotation is already among the best in baseball. At 25/1, sign us up.