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Los Angeles Dodgers
Power Ranking: 1st (last week 2nd)
World Series Odds: +370
The Dodgers and Yankees have moved in separate directions as of late. The Yankees are currently on a five-game losing streak while the Dodgers are coming off an impressive sweep of the new-look Padres and are winners of eight straight. Thus, the Dodgers are in sole possession of the best odds to win the World Series at +370. The Dodgers have the best run differential in the league at +226 and are a ridiculous 24-14 against teams over .500. During this eight-game winning streak, the Dodgers have outscored their opponents 52-17, further showing just how scary this team is going to be when the playoffs come around.
As the season continues to move on, I think the time to get on the Dodgers, if you haven’t already, is soon. The next two weeks has a mix of teams going in opposite directions, as they’ll play two against the Twins, three against the Royals, four against the Brewers and three against the Marlins. Both the Royals and Marlins have been some of the worst in the league against teams over .500, going 24-45 and 20-34 respectively. The Brewers came out of the All-Star Break on fire, going 7-2 to wrap up the month of July. However, since the beginning of August, they’ve somehow only managed to win one of the six games played between the Pirates and Reds. This is not the time to be struggling and have the Dodgers coming to town soon.
Power Ranking: 3rd (last week: 3rd)
World Series Odds: +450
The Astros' World Series odds have mostly stayed the same. They’ve hovered around the +450 or +500 range for quite a while now. For as good as they are, and they’re very good, some of their potential opponents make it a tough sell. They currently have the best staff in the American League, according to ERA at 3.07. When you go to WAR, the Astros also lead the AL at 10.9, which rounds out all teams in the double-digits (Phillies, Giants and Braves also in the mix). The offense continues to roll as well, as this team has scored the sixth-most runs in the league during that span at 93 while ranking ninth in wRC+ at 109.
I loved the moves the Astros made at the deadline, bolstering two positions that were near the bottom of the league in WAR. Both catcher and first base needed an upgrade, and they addressed both by acquiring Christian Vazquez from the Red Sox and Trey Mancini of the Orioles. The Astros currently rank 14th in WAR at catcher and 18th at first base. Not Earth-shattering but a far call from where they are. I have no doubt the Astros will go deep into the playoffs, but I’m still not convinced they have it all to take down whatever team comes out of the National League.
New York Mets
Power Ranking: 4th (last week 5th)
World Series Odds: +550
The Mets didn’t make a ton of noise at the Trade Deadline, but did they really need to? In a pivotal series against the Braves over the weekend, the Mets would win four out of five and give themselves a 6.5-game lead in the National League East. The Mets have a +111 run differential, which is the second-best in the NL. They’ve also continued to plow through anyone in the NL East with a 37-14 record. This team, which just got back Jacob deGrom, is more dangerous than ever and yet only owns the fourth-best odds to win the World Series.
The pitching staff, in my opinion, is what separates them from most of the teams in contention. When you put the numbers together for deGrom, Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker, they’ve combined to go 450 1/3 innings with a 3.26 ERA, a 9.1 K/9, a 2.2 BB/9, a 0.9 HR/9 and a 38-16 record. Those are some scary numbers to consider. After they’re out, then you must deal with the bullpen. Edwin Díaz in the back end of the bullpen has been nearly untouchable, boasting a 1.39 ERA (1.51 xERA). Díaz has 26 saves to his credit and only three blown saves through 45 1/3 innings. Pitching always brings the advantage in the playoffs, and the Mets are more than ready in every facet. Amongst the teams in this realm, this is one of my favorites at +550.
Tampa Bay Rays
Power Ranking: 12th (last week 12th)
World Series Odds: +4500
The Rays are one of those teams that are in contention to win a playoff spot and have very long odds. I’m at the point now, however, where I think they could miss the playoffs completely (+125 to miss the playoffs). Some may look at this team, who currently own the second AL Wild Card spot, as a team to throw a little money on at 45-1. However, the upcoming schedule for this team is one that I think could potentially knock them out.
Of the top five toughest schedules remaining, only the Rays are a team that is in contention. The others belong to the Marlins, D-backs, Rockies and Red Sox. The combined winning percentage of the Rays' opponents for the rest of the season sits at .532 with 54 games remaining. Of those 54 games, 24 of them (44%) come against the Yankees, Blue Jays and Astros. The Rays have not found much success against these their AL East foes, going a combined 7-10 against the Yankees and Jays. They’ve yet to face the Astros and won’t do so until the end of September. If they cannot take advantage of these next two weeks, which include, amongst others, the Orioles, Royals and Angels, the Rays are in real trouble. While 45-1 odds for a team currently sitting comfortably in a playoff spot look attractive, I’m looking to take advantage of the plus money for them to miss out.
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