MLB Futures: Best Bets to Win the World Series (2021)

Now we’re talking! With more than a month of games already in the books, the league is beginning to take shape. At this point last year, the season would have already been half over, but thankfully we’re somewhat back to the norm in the baseball world, and we’re still just getting started.

Who will win the World Series this year? That is always the question. While many dark-horse teams are off to a great start, there have been just as many heavily favored clubs that have looked, let’s say, uninspired. There’s always opportunity to be found, however. If you missed out on the few undervalued plays before the season started, like the Brewers and Royals, for example (Brewers opened at +2500 to win the NL Pennant, now they’re +2200 to win the World Series – Royals were +5000 and are now +3000 to win the AL Pennant), there are still a handful of fantastic opportunities available.

It’s not as if you’re too late to get in on a few of the long shots, but as they continue to climb in the standings, their odds will further devalue. Therefore, time is of the essence! Now is the time to place those future bets, and not only on those sleeper teams not receiving the recognition they deserve but also on the big-budget clubs who haven’t looked so big budget-y lately. Just as in the world of Wall Street, placing future wagers at the optimal time is essential to acquiring the maximum payout. In other words, always BUY LOW!

And just a quick reminder, when you’re betting on an extreme long shot, you’re not necessarily taking them to win it all. Anything over 25-1 is high enough to allow for solid hedging opportunities if they do make it into the playoffs. Your profit margin will be such that you’ll pocket some decent earnings even if you choose to wager on their opponent.

With all that said, here are your best bets for the 2021 World Series. These teams may not win it all but offer the best value at their current odds. And for the long shots, their payouts are high enough to pocket some decent earnings even if you choose to hedge against them.

Compare odds from all major sportsbooks for the World Series Winner >>

Valuable Favorites: New York Yankees & San Diego Padres

For the favorites, you could go with any of the top four, excluding the Dodgers (they don’t pay out enough at the current odds to make it worthwhile.) I went back and forth on this one, but my two favorites are the San Diego Padres at +900 and the New York Yankees at +700.

What made the White Sox so appealing to me before the season started was, in part, the strength of their bullpen, which so far has broken down partially due to injuries and some lackluster performances. That, coupled with the loss of young superstars Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, does not help their cause.

I really favored the Mets as well, but that was when their odds were better than the Padres. They are currently offering an equal payout, but their lineup has looked surprisingly mediocre, and their pen is already breaking down.

Yankees (+700)
The Yankees, similar to the Mets, aren’t off to the greatest start either. Neither team has hit well as a group, but the Yankees’ hitters possess more of a successful track record and have been playing without last year’s home run champ, Luke Voit (whose return is imminent). Corey Kluber has looked fantastic, and Domingo German is back to looking like a solid rotation piece as well. Additionally, one of the best setup guys, Zack Britton, will return as well, and you know the lineup will eventually get back to their mashing ways. Aroldis Chapman’s stuff looks filthy. He has struck out 28 batters and has yet to give up a run. Take advantage of the slow April and grab the Bronx Bombers at +700.

Padres (+900)
The Padres are solid in all aspects of the game except for maybe defense. The offense has looked electric, and besides a couple of clunkers here and there, the new starting rotation has looked downright nasty. The bullpen has been fantastic and led by steady vet Mark Melancon, who has given up one run all year and has yet to blow a save.

The energy on the team is like no other, and the buzz around the city is exhilarating. Tatis Jr. brings a youthful exuberance every night that ignites his teammates and the crowd. Anyone watching last season could feel something special brewing in San Diego, and after the winter they had, this could be the Padres’ year. If their group of stars can stay healthy for the greater part of the season, the Padres could surpass the mighty Dodgers and earn a trip, not just to the post-season but to the World Series as well. Take the Padres at 9-1 and join the bandwagon rooting for the brown and gold Friars all year long.

Solid Mid-Range Plays: Cincinnati Reds & Milwaukee Brewers

There is a case to be made for many quality teams as the Royals, Phillies, and Indians are all favorites of mine at their current odds. But if I had to choose, I’d wager on the Reds and the Brewers for the mid-range category.

Reds (+3500)
Once Luis Castillo figures it out as he did last season (2.20 ERA over his final five starts), the Reds will quietly boast one of the stronger starting rotations. Sonny Gray has returned to ace status since joining the Reds, and Tyler Mahle has developed into a solid rotation piece as well. Surprisingly the leader of the staff has been their 34-year-old veteran, Wade Miley, who just threw a no-hitter, lowering his season ERA to an even 2.00 through six games.

The lineup has been destroying opposing pitchers all season long. A power-hitting trio leads the offense in the outfield; whose combined average OPS is just under 1.000. Teammates Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suarez have yet to get it going, and when they do, this offense will be one to reckon with.

The bullpen has been a mess, but there are a few standouts, including Tejay Antone, who could start down the road and is limiting batters to a .109 batting average. Bullpens tend to ebb and flow a bit, and it’s still too early to cast off the group as inadequate.

With the Reds’ powerful lineup, combined with an equally talented and intriguing pitching staff, Cincinnati could recapture their first division title since 2012. The NL Central is up for grabs, and if they can somehow make it past the competition, you’re going to be bragging to everyone how you got them at 35 to 1 back in May. Take the Reds to win it all and hedge against them if they make it past the divisional round.

Brewers (+2200)
The Brewers’ top three pitchers may be the best starting trio in the league after the Dodgers. However, they are all relatively young and have never pitched more than 120 innings in a season, so time will tell if they can keep it going all year. That said, no one will want to face those three, especially Corbin Burnes, to start a playoff series.

Add that rotation to one of the best bullpens in baseball, and opposing hitters will be lucky to put the ball in play, much less score any runs. The lineup has suffered a boatload of injuries to start the season, including superstar Christian Yelich. The subs have kept them afloat, however, and although they’re going through a rough patch now, I fully expect them to come out on top or at least earn a wild card when it’s all said and done.

The Brewers have made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, and if they can make it in for a third, they’ll be no worse than a slight underdog for any series. With their pitching staff, although unproven, you have to take a chance on 22 to 1.

Exciting Long Shots: San Francisco Giants & Seattle Mariners

Giants (+8000)
The Giants currently lead the NL West by two and a half games above the defending champion Dodgers and have the best record in the National League. Am I a big believer in the Giants? No, but at 80 to 1, how can you go wrong? Any team with a run differential of +37 and only lost 13 games out of its first 33 has a better than 2% chance of winning the World Series.

Their offense is built in such a way to optimally counter whatever opposing teams throw at them. They carry such a deep bench with many players exhibiting extreme splits vs. a righty or lefty that the Giants basically have two different lineups depending on the opposing pitcher. Gabe Kepler and crew have also shown no hesitation to make substitutions as early as the third or fourth inning to maximize their team’s likelihood of earning a victory by looking for any advantage in all situations. Their play is similar to the Rays in that aspect but without the so-called opener.

The organization doesn’t play favorites. If a young player hits lefties better than a beloved veteran, you can bet they’ll be quick to make the change with a left-hander on the mound. It may be an unpopular strategy, but so far, it has worked. I’ve even heard opposing broadcasters making fun of how many position players the Giants carry on their bench. However, at the end of the game, after they’ve suffered another loss, they stop making jokes.

Another aspect working in the Giants’ favor has been their pitchers’ ability to keep the ball in the yard. Opposing teams are only hitting 0.97 home runs per game against them. Part of the reason for that may be the cold weather early in the year in a notoriously cold and windy stadium, but much of the credit should go to the pitchers as well. Out of the 32 round-trippers given up, just over half of them were on the road.

The strong production they’ve gotten out of veteran standouts like Alex Wood, Aaron Sanchez, Kevin Gausman, and Anthony DeSclafani all seem to be thriving under Bob Jackson’s tutelage. All four starters at some point in their career were thought of as high-quality arms, and after a few down years mainly caused by injury, they are all finally healthy and prospering. Johnny Cueto has also turned back the clock and thrown like the ace he was but is currently finishing up a stint on the injured list due to a lat injury.

The Giants showed they could hit as well as anyone last year, and once the weather heats up, I expect their bats to do the same. Buster Posey has been on “a whole other level,” to quote his teammate, and if their pitching and bullpen can keep it going, as unlikely as it is, the Giants have a shot at returning to the Fall Classic. With the hot start and the evenly balanced roster, San Francisco is worth the gamble at a whopping 80-1.

Mariners (+8000)
The Mariners are another organization that deserves your attention at 80-1. Yes, I know. They stopped hitting the ball almost completely over the last few days. But still in second place, trailing only the A’s in the AL West, the Mariners will have a say in who wins the division. They may not have as pretty of a run differential as the Giants do, but they won’t face nearly the level of competition.

The Astros have been the team to beat in the West in recent years, but they’ve looked mediocre so far this season and aren’t the same powerhouse they’ve been in the past. Oakland is another perennial contender, but I believe their hot start to the season was just that, and they don’t possess the necessary weapons for the long haul. The Angels have one of the scariest lineups in all of baseball, but their rotation and bullpen leave a lot to be desired, plus they have so much trouble staying healthy. Texas has been a nice surprise, but they don’t have the pieces to be competitive. In my mind, the division is wide open, and a young team like the Mariners may have enough breakouts to sneak past the front runners and make it into the playoffs.

The offense is led by a steady core of young players held together by veterans Kyle Seager (22 RBIs) and the return of Mitch Haniger (24 RBIs). The starting staff has been surprisingly decent, and perhaps even more shocking is their bullpen, which has been one of the best in baseball so far.

Will the Mariners win their first World Series this season? No, no, they will not. But could they win their division or earn a Wild Card and allow for some great hedging come playoff time? At 80-1, absolutely.

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