The 2021 MLB season is right around the corner. While the Detroit Tigers don’t offer a lot of hope for a run at the World Series, that doesn’t mean Michigan sports bettors can’t find good value somewhere on the board.
In fact, several teams changed their fortunes considerably during the offseason, adding big names to their lineup and bullpen.
Here’s a look at some intriguing teams to consider placing a championship bet on in 2021.
MLB World Series odds: A Dodgers repeat?
The current odds at online betting sites in Michigan like the Los Angeles Dodgers to repeat as World Series champions in 2021.
BetMGM Sportsbook also sees the Dodgers as a +350 favorite, while the Yankees are at +600. They are listing the Atlanta Braves and Padres at +900 each.
Not surprisingly, the Detroit Tigers are among the longest odds to win it all (+10000 DK & FD; +8000 MGM).
Los Angeles adds to already strong roster in 2021
The Dodgers are the favorite for good reason.
After coming away with the World Series in a COVID-shortened 2020 season, the Dodgers still bring back plenty of firepower for 2021.
LA already had a strong starting rotation with Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias. The Dodgers led the league in team ERA at 3.02 last season.
Now, the Dodgers added Trevor Bauer to the mix on a three-year, $102 million deal. The controversial pitcher is coming off a 5-4 record with a 1.73 ERA in 2020 with the Cincinnati Reds.
At the plate, Los Angeles scored the most runs (349) in MLB last season. The Dodgers also had the most home runs (118).
Mookie Betts, A.J. Pollock, Corey Seager, Max Muncy, and Cody Bellinger all had over 10 home runs last season. All are back, as is Justin Turner, who signed a new deal in the offseason.
Basically, the Dodgers are the team to beat. But as we noted earlier, the offseason put a few other dark horses on the board in World Series odds.
1. San Diego Padres making a push toward a title
The Padres had the biggest offseason signing of anyone, locking up Fernando Tatis Jr. for over a decade.
Tatis, a 22-year-old shortstop agreed to a 14-year, $340 million extension with the Padres last week.
In just 143 games for San Diego, Tatis has 39 home runs and 98 RBI while hitting .301. Already with power bats like Manny Machado and Wil Myers, San Diego has a great nucleus of hitting.
San Diego addressed its pitching staff in the offseason, too. The Padres added Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove to lock up the rotation for years to come. Drew Pomeranz was also a solid relief option in 2020 that is back in 2021.
The Padres finished six games behind Los Angeles in the NL West last season. They were then swept by the Dodgers in the NLDS.
2. Chicago White Sox can capitalize in a weak division
On paper, the Chicago White Sox may not jump off the page in terms of top-level talent. However, Chicago had a savvy offseason and they play in an AL Central Division that is going to be bottom heavy.
The Tigers and Kansas City Royals were already down, while the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins didn’t do anything to help themselves in the offseason. In fact, they likely regressed.
While that was happening, Chicago added top reliever Liam Hendriks and starting pitcher Lance Lynn. That will add to a Chicago staff that was already sixth in baseball last season with a 3.81 team ERA.
At the plate, Chicago has a powerful lineup that produced 96 home runs in 2020. Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez, Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, and Yasmani Grandal make for a very challenging lineup for opposing pitchers.
Chicago was just a game out of first in the AL Central last season before falling to the Oakland Athletics in three games in the Wild Card Series.
This season, Chicago comes in as the clear favorite in the division and that can be a springboard to a championship if the Sox can secure the home-field advantage.
DraftKings sees the Sox as a -143 favorite to win the division. The Twins are listed at +175.
3. Mets, Cardinals, Rays all dark horse options, too
If Chicago and San Diego don’t appeal to you, there are some teams with longer odds to consider. For all three listed below, their offseason actions and their play in 2020 earned them a spot for consideration.
- New York Mets: An aggressive offseason brought in Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, James McCann and others. New York is +1000 to +1200 in most books.
- St. Louis Cardinals: The Cards added five-time All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado to the lineup. A perennial playoff contender, the Cards are going at +2200 to +2500.
- Tampa Bay Rays: Tampa Bay is never big on offseason moves or spending, yet always find themselves in the mix. The 2020 ALCS champs are listed at +2500 at multiple sportsbooks.
All three are viable options in a long and unpredictable baseball season. Some hot bats, or some injury bugs, can change the landscape of the baseball season dramatically.