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We had quite the week in Major League Baseball. The Braves wound up winning 14 in a row, the Dodgers lost a key piece of the offense in Mookie Betts and the Brewers and Cardinals are all knotted up atop the NL Central. Let’s take a look at how the MLB Power Rankings align with their odds to win the World Series.
New York Yankees
Power Ranking: 1st (last week: 1st)
World Series odds: +450
The Dodgers have been the favorites to win the World Series this entire season. Now, the Yankees are tied with them for the best overall odds to win it all. The Dodgers continue to feel the effects of the injury bug, as they’ve lost pitcher Walker Buehler and Betts to the injured list. Betts is expected to return in about two weeks, but the Dodgers were struggling before he was injured. They went just 3-3 this past week, despite seeing the Angels and Guardians. Now, they’ll face the Reds and surging Braves in the upcoming week. They’ll also have a crucial series coming up against the Padres, are only a half-game back of first place. This Dodgers team is going through the motions currently.
That brings us to the Yankees, who despite blowing an 8-3 lead against the Blue Jays on Sunday, went 6-1 on the week. This team averaged 7.2 runs per game over the past week while allowing an average of just 3.1. This offense simply cannot be stopped. New York is one of two teams that have hit at least 100 home runs in 2022. The Yankees are also getting closer to having reliever Aroldis Chapman back, as he’s set to face live hitters over the next couple of days. Amazingly, Chapman might not return to the closer role upon his return, as Clay Holmes has been automatic since May 24, when Chapman was placed on the injured list. During that span, Holmes has thrown 10 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on five hits with 12 strikeouts and only one walk. That’s the type of production a team like the Yankees can see when a key member goes down. This team should be the stand-alone favorite to win it all.
San Diego Padres
Power Ranking: 3rd (last week 4th)
World Series odds: +1300
The Padres continue to rise in our Power Rankings, yet they’re the only team in the top five that has double-digit odds to win the World Series. Yup, despite this team being a half-game out of the National League West lead, they have just the seventh-best odds to win the World Series. I say it each and every week, but this is still the best value on the board. The Padres have a three-game series against the D-backs coming up, followed by a four-game series against the Phillies. All of these games come at home, where the Padres have gone 17-13.
I’m fascinated this team is still in the double-digits to win it all. When it comes to the odds, only four teams are in the single digits: the Dodgers, Yankees, Astros and Mets. After them, come the Blue Jays (10-1) and Braves (12-1). At the least, I think 10-1 is a more realistic price for the Padres, so getting them at 13-1 is way too good to pass up. They did receive some bad news this week, that Fernando Tatis Jr. is not where they want him to be as he recovers from an left wrist fracture. At this rate, it’s unlikely we’ll see him before the All-Star break but that means he’ll likely be a late-season addition to this lineup. Manny Machado suffered a sprained ankle on Sunday, but an X-ray did not reveal any fractures. It’s a blow to this lineup, but with a favorable upcoming schedule, I’m not all that worried.
Power Ranking: 5th (last week 5th)
World Series odds: +650
OK, let’s talk about the Astros for a minute. They’re absolutely crushing it in the American League West, as they enjoy a 9 1/2-game lead over the Angels. In fact, the entire division, aside from the Astros, is under .500. Yup, the Angels, Rangers, Mariners, and Athletics are all .478 or below. Which, in a way, helps me bring up my point about waiting on the Astros odds to win the World Series.
If you’re a fan of the Astros winning the World Series, I can’t blame you. The team is 41-25, has a run differential of plus-53, and has a record of 8-7 against teams above .500. Wait, what? 8-7? The Astros have played only 15 games against teams above .500? Oh. Well, that’s a bit eye-opening, isn’t it?
The Astros are about to begin on a very tough week ahead. They’re playing both New York teams. Then they face them both again — nine straight games against essentially the top two teams in baseball. Yikes, that’s one heck of a schedule to endure for the rest of the month! I think it’s best to wait on these odds for the Astros. The only way this will backfire is if they essentially sweep the entire month, and I just gave you the worst advice imaginable. I feel quite confident that won’t happen. So while I think this is one of the stronger candidates to win it all, I think you’ll have better odds to consider by the time July rolls around.
Power Ranking: 6th (last week 8th)
World Series odds: +1200
The Braves’ incredible 14-game winning streak finally ended, when the Cubs defeated them by a score of 1-0 and then followed it up with another win by a score of 6-3. The Cubs haven’t been an overly successful team this year, so to see them take two out of three against the surging Braves was a shocker.
The Braves have a tough schedule coming up. They’ll be home, but they’ll be hosting the Giants and then the Dodgers. The Braves haven’t done particularly well against teams above .500, going just 12-14 in those games. The Giants’ rotation has been one of the strongest in the league, boasting a team 3.75 ERA and a 3.12 FIP, which is the lowest in the league. Then, of course, as mentioned, the wounded Dodgers will come into Atlanta, which at this point, could be a winnable series for the Braves.
My biggest concern with the Braves will be making the postseason. The Mets have gone on such a tear that even with the Braves winning 14 in a row, they remain 5 1/2 games behind in the East. It’s certainly not out of reach, but the Mets are the favorite to win the division with -250 odds. So that would leave the Braves to fight for a Wild Card spot. They’re right in the mix right now but they have some tough teams to fend off like the Brewers, Phillies, Giants and Padres. It’s extremely realistic that the NL West could have three teams reach the postseason, leaving no room for error in the Central and East. I would be holding off now at these odds.
St. Louis Cardinals
Power Ranking: 8th (last week 7th)
World Series odds: +3000
I feel obliged to bring these odds up for the Cardinals at 30-1. The recent struggles by the Brewers have pushed the Cardinals into a deadlock atop the Central division. The rest of the teams aren’t even in contention, as the Pirates, Cubs, and Reds are all at least 10 1/2 games behind. This leaves the Brewers and Cardinals to duke it out. After taking three out of four against the Pirates, the Cardinals were able to take only one of the three games against the Red Sox over the weekend.
Now, the Cardinals are set to take on their divisional rival Brewers, with whom they’ve split the season series, 4-4. The Cardinals are getting the Brew Crew at the perfect time, as Milwaukee is struggling with both the pitching and offense. During the month of June, the Brewers have combined for a 4.76 ERA and a 4.86 FIP. The offense has combined for a slash line of .231/.299/.363 with only 58 runs scored, which ranks 25th this month. I’m not convinced that the Cardinals are going to win it all, but these odds are very long for a team that could come out atop the NL Central.
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