If winning is all that matters, the Los Angeles Dodgers deserve to be No. 1 on the MLB World Series odds list. The Dodgers had the best record in baseball at 102-57 heading into Friday’s action, and at press time, they’re the top team on the MLB futures market at +300. But after that epic 11-game losing streak earlier this month, is Los Angeles really the best team in baseball?

The defending American League champions beg to differ. Cleveland may be +350 on the MLB betting lines, but the Tribe won their 100th game of the season on Thursday, and they have by far the best run differential in the majors at plus-244, well ahead of LA at plus-193. That translates to 107 “expected” wins for Cleveland, while the Dodgers are right in line with their expectations at 102 wins. There’s only one way to solve this: at the World Series.


Cubbie Holes

At this time last year, the Chicago Cubs were on top of the World Series odds. Baseball has a short memory, though; the Cubs are only +800 to defend their title, after starting the year off slowly and clawing their way back to first place in the NL Central. Chicago has even fallen behind the Washington Nationals (+700) in MLB betting, and the Nationals have yet to win a playoff series after nearly 50 years of baseball – not in DC, and not in Montreal before that.

If anyone’s going to challenge LA or Cleveland this year, it could be the Houston Astros. They’re third on the MLB World Series betting odds list at +500, and they’ve got arguably the best starting rotation in baseball after acquiring Justin Verlander from the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline. Verlander has allowed just four earned runs in five combined starts since switching teams – all wins for Houston.


Into the Wild

The Wild Card situation in both leagues remains to be resolved, although we know all of the playoff teams from the American League. The Boston Red Sox (+800) and New York Yankees (+1400) are still fighting it out for the AL East, although Boston is very likely to win that race. The Minnesota Twins have claimed the second Wild Card berth, but at +2800 on the World Series odds, 2017 might not be their year.

The Arizona Diamondbacks (+1400) are a more credible Wild Card threat coming out of the National League; their plus-143 run differential is 25 runs better than the Cubs and only four runs worse than Washington. Who will take the other NL Wild Card? Probably the Colorado Rockies (+2800), but the Milwaukee Brewers (+20000) are still alive at press time. Just getting into the playoffs will be an accomplishment for either of these two teams. After that, anything is possible.


*Odds as of September 29, 2017