We’re entering the final stretch of the 2021 MLB season, and while playoff spots are still up for grabs, the cream has largely risen to the top. World Series Odds 2021 are starting to narrow down.
Of course, the Dodgers headline the odds. L.A.’s aggressive trade deadline moves have created a roster that looks unbeatable. Or, at least on paper, as I think the Giants have something to say about that.
That begs the question: Are the Giants undervalued? They’ve had the best record in baseball all season, and yet are still being offered north of .
That begs the next question: As we gear up for October, are there any teams that provide value in the World Series market right now? Let’s check out the odds.
World Series Odds 2021
Los Angeles Dodgers : Scherzer. Buehler. Kershaw. Betts. Bellinger. Muncy. Turner.
The array of superstar names on the Dodgers roster alone makes them surefire favorites to win the whole thing. However, let’s not look past how they’re playing – the Dodgers have won seven straight games and 19 of their last 30.
Of course, the Dodgers probably don’t pose much value at such short odds. There’s a chance they still steal the division from the Giants, but if they don’t, only six of the last 24 World Series champions did it from the Wildcard spot.
Houston Astros : Surprisingly, I think the Astros provide a bit of value in this spot. They clearly have the most talented offense in baseball – Houston paces MLB in wRC+ with 117 – and their pitching rotation is slightly underrated.
The Ace Zack Greinke has proven he can still be effective in his twilight years, while Framber Valdez and Lance McCullers Jr. have combined to contribute 205 2/3 starting innings with an ERA below 3.20.
The biggest reason for Houston’s value, however, is youngster Luis Garcia. In his first year in the rotation, the 24-year-old has done nothing but shove. He’s posted a 3.39 ERA and a 3.72 xFIP and has been the perfect complimentary arm to the rest of the rotation.
The Astros surprisingly lost Garcia’s first seven starts, but have finally started to produce run support, and Houston has gone 12-4 in Garcia starts since.
With Garcia shoving, this team has just enough pitching for the offense to carry them to the World Series trophy.
Chicago White Sox :
Opposite of the Astros, the White Sox should have just enough bats for the arms to carry them to the trophy.
The White Sox have gone all-in on their strengths by forming the best bullpen we’ve seen in years. Between Liam Hendriks, Craig Kimbrel, Ryan Tepera, and Michael Kopech, the White Sox can really shorten playoff games on you.
Meanwhile, the starting pitching staff ranks sixth in MLB in ERA. Lance Lynn paces the AL in ERA with Carlos Rodón not far behind him. Lucas Giolito has had a down year but should be due for some positive regression (3.83 ERA, 3.40 xERA).
It’ll be almost impossible for offenses to score on the White Sox come October. The question is: Can the offense produce enough? On the season, they have the third-highest wRC+ in MLB at 109, but they’re batting just .239 with a 100 wRC+ over the past 30 days.
The offense can be streaky, but if they get hot at the right time, Chicago’s pitching staff makes a White Sox World Series bet a steal.
Top Value Picks
Atlanta Braves : Despite the loss of Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta’s lineup has figured it out. They’ve hit the third most home runs over the past 30 days (47) while recording the league’s sixth-highest OPS (.781) during that stretch.
But the lineup isn’t why I’m high on the Braves. The pitching staff is coming around. Charlie Morton and Max Fried are finally pitching well again following tough starts to the season. Meanwhile, Huascar Ynoa just made his first start after his hand injury, and the Braves will soon be adding Ian Anderson back in the lineup.
When the rotation is healthy, the Braves have four guys that can go toe-to-toe with any rotation in baseball. Combine that with the lineup’s capabilities, and you have the formula for a World Series champion.
The Braves have ripped off nine straight victories and now lead the NL East by four games. They’ve perfectly positioned themselves to win the division, and they have all the tools to make a run in October.
And you can still bet Atlanta at the north of 15/1. If you’re going to bet any team to win the World Series right now, this is the top value play on the board.
New York Yankees : The Yankees have just ripped off seven straight victories. They’re now 24-9 in the second half this season, which is the best record in MLB over that span.
With the additions of Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo, the Yankees’ revamped lineup is raking. Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole has started pitching well again after slight hiccups in the middle of his season, and the bullpen has also found its way again, posting the third-best reliever FIP in MLB since the trade deadline (2.97).
All-in-all, the Yankees have been a top 10 offense via wRC+ (109) and a top 10 pitching staff via FIP (3.89) in August. They still have some defensive and baserunning issues, but things are looking way up in the Bronx.
Sometimes, playoff baseball is all about getting hot. The Yankees are getting super hot at just the right time, which is why they provide value at this number.
Teams to Avoid
Tampa Bay Rays : It’s never smart to fade the Rays. The front office and coaching staff have proven it can create a team that performs better than the sum of its part. Plus, the lineup is dangerous and has been the best in baseball over the past month (131 wRC+ over the last 30 days).
However, there are just not enough arms on this team to play a World Series run. With Tyler Glasnow done for the year, The Rays are depending on guys like Ryan Yarbrough (4.57 ERA), Josh Fleming (4.86 ERA), and Michael Wacha (5.91 ERA) to put in quality starts.
The World Series formula is simple: Starting pitching and timely hitting wins playoff games. The Rays have half of that, but they seriously lack in the starting pitching department. Without an army of starters at their disposal, I don’t see how the Rays defend their AL Pennant.
And they certainly don’t provide value at such short odds. While they should win the AL East, I’m looking to fade the Rays come October.