Riding an incredible 17-4 wave in August, the Toronto Blue Jays hold steady as favorites to win the World Series. But as many as 11 other teams are legitimate contenders entering the final month of the regular season, according to the latest odds from Bovada.lv.
Bolstered by the additions of starting pitcher David Price and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s bat at the trade deadline, the Jays are currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak and sit at 4/1 odds to win their first title in more than 20 years, let alone make the postseason for the first time in the same span.
But the American League-leading Kansas City Royals, whose 77-48 mark is seven games better than Toronto’s, pose a significant threat at 5/1 odds, followed by the National League’s top contender, the St. Louis Cardinals, at 13/2 and the upstart New York Mets next up at 8/1.
Odds makers evidently believe the next champion will come out of those top four clubs, but there’s a host of contenders well within striking distance before the Fall Classic.
The fast-spending Los Angeles Dodgers continue to lead the NL West and sit at 10/1 odds, followed by the NL Central’s Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs both at 11/1.
L.A.’s payroll jumped to roughly $300 million after it acquired veteran second baseman Chase Utley from Philadelphia last week. Despite the Dodgers going 4-6 in their last 10 games, Utley provides Don Mattingly's lineup some insurance after Howie Kendrick was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
The Dodgers still possess maybe the best one-two starting combo in the majors with Cy Young frontrunner Zack Greinke and 2014 winner Clayton Kershaw, though they will find it difficult to overthrow a Cardinals staff that leads the majors with a 2.67 ERA.
The Chicago Cubs are also riding a major wave, claiming their sixth straight win to pull 7.5 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants for the NL’s second wild card spot. Behind starter Jake Arrieta’s 13th straight quality start, the Cubs beat San Francisco 8-5 Tuesday and have gone 21-4 in their last 25 games.
Arrieta now tops the majors with 16 wins and is only behind Greinke with a 2.22 ERA, but he has twice as many victories as presumed ace Jon Lester (8-9 in 25 starts), leaving some doubt that Chicago can contend with L.A. and St. Louis in the postseason.
Over in the AL, the New York Yankees and Houston Astros are both listed at 12/1 and viewed as the most likely candidates to upend Toronto and Kansas City’s hopes.
The Yankees watched their AL East lead slip away once the Blue Jays got rolling, and certainly haven’t helped their case with a 2-4 slide in their last six games, including Tuesday’s 15-1 blasting at the hands of the Astros.
But New York still rolls out the second-highest scoring lineup in baseball, with first baseman Mark Teixeira and designated hitter Alex Rodriguez both re-emerging as two of the league’s best hitters. Together they’ve knocked out 57 home runs and driven in 148 runs in the heart of the Yankees lineup.
However, the mound is where New York’s labored this season with no starter garnering more than 13 quality starts or victories and veteran righty CC Sabathia just placed on the 15-day DL with right knee inflammation.
New York could receive a boost with strikeout leader Michael Pineda (9-7) set to make his return Wednesday against Houston. The 26-year-old went on the DL on July 29 with a right forearm strain.
Odds to Win World Series
Toronto Blue Jays 4/1
Kansas City Royals 5/1
St. Louis Cardinals 13/2
New York Mets 8/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 10/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 11/1
Chicago Cubs 11/1
New York Yankees 12/1
Houston Astros 12/1
San Francisco Giants 12/1
Washington Nationals 25/1
Texas Rangers 25/1
Los Angeles Angels 33/1
Minnesota Twins 40/1
Baltimore Orioles 50/1
The full list of odds can be found at Bovada.lv