It may feel like we only just got through with All Star Weekend, but the reality is that MLB pennant races are beginning to take shape. In the NL East, the Atlanta Braves appear to be running away with the race, but a quick look at the MLB website will show you that outside of this one division, there are no teams who can safely be called playoff guarantees (with the possible exception of the Detroit Tigers, who boast a 7-game lead over the 2nd place Cleveland Indians in the AL Central).
However, tight races don’t mean that we can’t start to look at who seems poised to contend for a World Series. Here’s a look at the five teams that the Betfair sports betting site has listed with the best odds to win the title in November.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates (Between 9/1 and 10/1 odds)
In actuality, this 5th spot is a tie, in terms of odds, between the Pirates, Red Sox, Cardinals and Rangers, but because the Pirates have the best record of that bunch we’ve given the nod to them, and why not? The Pirates boast arguably the best starting pitching in the MLB (with two starters posting sub-3.00 ERA and not a single starter above 4.00), and have amassed a 90+ win pace in one of baseball’s toughest divisions. This team could well be in the mix.
4. Cleveland Indians (9/1 odds)
The Indians are hiding under the radar a bit by virtue of trailing Detroit by seven games in the AL Central. Nonetheless, the Indians seem poised to contend for a Wild Card position, and have the talent to win a few playoff series. The team is 5th in runs scored, but will needs its pitching – both starters and relief – to pick it up a bit if it’s to seriously contend.
3. Atlanta Braves (7/1 odds)
The Braves have the best winning percentage in the MLB, and have flat out dominated the NL East. 8th in the league in runs scored and 1st in ERA qualify them for best-team-in-baseball status.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (6/1 odds)
The Dodgers may not have as commanding a lead as the Braves, but they’re unquestionably the hottest team in baseball, with a scintillating 25-4 record since the All Star break. Credit rookie phenom Yasiel Puig, ace starter Clayton Kershaw, or whomever else you want – this team seems unlikely to lose games these days, let alone entire series.
1. Detroit Tigers (6/1 odds)
ESPN lists Detroit as being 1st in the league in both quality starts and batting average. Miguel Cabrera is without a doubt the deadliest hitter in the league (and it’s not close), and Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez have pitched every bit as well as Justin Verlander. This team is simply loaded, and justifiably atop the betting odds charts.