Just two games into their first playoff series since 1993, the Toronto Blue Jays were on the verge of elimination. But the American League’s best team after the trade deadline won three games in a row to reassert themselves as the favorites to win the 2015 World Series.
Toronto started the playoffs as the favorites to win this year’s title, and the Blue Jays are in the same position before the start of the ALCS. They have +200 championship betting odds at Bovada.lv.
The Blue Jays will face the Kansas City Royals, who have home-field advantage in the best-of-seven series. They rank third with +325 championship odds. Kansas City made it to the World Series last year for the first time since 1985.
Because he didn’t start the elimination game against the Texas Rangers, David Price will go for Toronto in Game 1 against Kansas City. The Royals won’t be able to use their No.1 or No.2 starter in the ALCS opener. Instead, it’s Edinson Volquez who’ll get the start, following the team's Game 5 victory over the Houston Astros.
No matter what team wins the World Series this year, a significant championship drought will end. Toronto is 22 years removed from their last title, and they’ve won the most recent championship of any team that’s still alive in the postseason.
The Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 107 years, and they haven’t even advanced out of the National League since 1945. But they are currently the NL favorites, and their +240 odds ranks second overall. The Los Angeles Dodgers (+600) and New York Mets (+700) have the worst odds ahead of their Game 5 in the NLDS.
No matter who wins Thursday night’s elimination game, Chicago will likely remain the favorite to reach the World Series. They beat the St. Louis Cardinals in four games in the NLDS, following the Cardinals’ 100-win season. The Cubs also beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had baseball’s second-best regular season record, in the wild-card playoff.
Chicago would have the advantage, being able to start Jake Arrieta on full rest in Game 1, and he could make three starts in the series if he throws on three days’ rest. The Dodgers and Mets wouldn’t be able to pitch Jacob deGrom or Zack Greinke until Game 3, and starting Kershaw in Game 1 would mean pitching him on three days’ rest for a second straight start.