Who are the Favorites to Win the World Series?
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After the 60 game regular season was completed Sunday, the Major League Baseball playoff bracket was finally set for the postseason to begin Tuesday (American League) and Wednesday (National League).
But of course, this bracket looks much differently than the ones in the past: there are now eight teams in the playoffs from each league. The AL and NL Wildcard Series will take place as a best-of-three series, with all games played at the higher seeded team. After that, the teams will go into their respective “bubbles”, with the AL playing in San Diego and Los Angeles, and the NL playing in Houston and Arlington.
So now that we know the seedings and matchups, which can be found here on the MLB site, who are the favorites to advance out of each league and into the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Park in Arlington?
Could it be the Miami Marlins, who made the playoffs for the first time since they won the World Series in 2003? Maybe the San Diego Padres, who are in somewhat the same boat, in their first playoff appearance since 2006. Or how about the Chicago White Sox, who last played in the postseason in 2008, when the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays won their only A.L Pennant?
These are all good questions, but any talk of pennant winners has to start with the two top seeds, the Rays in the AL and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL.
Both teams were dominant in this shortened season: each won at least 40 games (Rays 40-20, Dodgers 43-17), and earned their top seeds. Los Angeles comes into the postseason as heavy favorites to win the NL Pennant, with odds as short as +130 even with the eight teams still in the competition. If the Dodgers can get through the Wild Card round, you would have to think those odds would drop close to even money or even lower.
But possibly waiting for the Dodgers in the next round (NLDS) are their NL West nemesis, the Padres, who are currently the second favorite to win the pennant at +500. If both teams can get through to that five game series, you would have to think that winner would be an overwhelming pick to head to Arlington for the World Series. Miami, by the way, is +1500 to win the pennant, something the Marlins have done each time they made the playoffs previously (1997, 2003). They also went on to win the World Series both those years.
In the American League, the fifth-seeded New York Yankees, who have to go on the road to beat Cleveland to get out of the Wild Card round, and who finished seven games back of the AL East champion Rays, are the betting favorite at +280 odds with William Hill Colorado to win the pennant. Tampa Bay is the second choice at +300, with the second-seeded Oakland As and third-seeded Minnesota Twins both +550.
Since the Twins will not have to face the Yankees before the AL Championship Series, this could be the year they make a deep run in the postseason.
Prediction: I am not deviating from my preseason picks. I am taking the Rays to win the AL, and the Dodgers to win the NL.
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