World Series Predictions
It might look and feel like the middle of winter, but pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training in just over a week. That means that now is a good time to look at the World Series futures odds to see what teams make sense, and which ones are totally out of whack. Here's a look at some of the more interesting futures prices (all odds are from Bodog) along with some World Series predictions:
New York Yankees (5/2) - The Yankees are the favorites because, well, they are always the favorites. This price is obviously ridiculous at this point in the season, but the optimism regarding this team is as warranted as it has ever been. Their rotation has been their Achilles heel for the last few years, but it's as good as it has ever been this year. They have upgraded where they needed to (and even where they didn't), they have dropped some dead weight like Jason Giambi, and Joe Girardi is a year older and hopefully wiser. It makes me feel dirty just saying it, but I fully expect the Yankees to win the AL this year.
Chicago Cubs (7/1) - Since we are on the topic of overbet public teams, we might as well look at the Cubs. I'll never count out a Lou Piniella team, but I am not as high on this team as I have been. They have had some departures I am not thrilled about in Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa. Milton Bradley is probably a good gamble, but it's risky, and I am not convinced that he and Piniella will co-exist. Basically, they weren't good enough last year and I'm just not convinced that they are better. They are firmly in the bet-against category for me.
New York Mets (7/1) - It's not hard to like this team. They have lots of power and depth, and I expect very big things from Johan Santana this year now that he has settled in. I am not in love with the bottom end of their rotation, though. If they were 15/1 then I'd like them a lot, but I think they are an underlay at this price.
Boston Red Sox (15/2) - Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but I don't have a good feeling about the Sox this year. Their pitching staff has too many questions this year - it's hard to know what they'll get from Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, John Smoltz and others. I have no faith that Dustin Pedroia will have the same season he did last year, and Jacoby Ellsbury is very unproven. The whole Jason Varitek situation has been very odd. They are still obviously going to be solid, but I think they have fallen behind New York, and I don't like them at this price.
Los Angeles Angels (11/1) - It's going to be very interesting to see if K-Rod was overrated or not. It's hard not to like the rotation, but this team has problems beyond that. The addition of Mark Teixera last year didn't immediately pay off, but it was a much-needed direction. They haven't done enough to replace him. They will almost certainly make the playoffs because of their laughable division, but I don't see them getting over the top.
Philadelphia Phillies (11/1) - I wish that they could come to a long-term solution on Ryan Howard. Despite that, I like this team as much as any. I love the addition of Raul Ibanez in the outfield. It won't be a cakewalk by any means, and I would be happier if they played in a softer division, but if I have to pick one NL team then this is it. Cole Hamels is the best pitcher in the NL right now.
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Tampa Bay Rays (12/1) - I don't know who this year's Tampa Bay is going to be, but I'm pretty sure it won't be Tampa Bay. It's not anything in particular that they did. I just think that they play in a ridiculously tough division, and I don't think they can be as lucky as they were last year two years in a row. They will be competitive, but this price is silly. However, I am very excited to see what David Price does this year. I like the Pat Burrell addition, too, though he gets paid too much.
San Francisco Giants (40/1) - I can't go without a longshot, and longshots can come from nowhere all the time in baseball, so I will go with the Giants. They have a long way to come from last year, but there is a lot to like. Their rotation is very intriguing and has the potential to be quite good. They have a bunch of intriguing young talent. They play in a division that is winnable. If they take the plunge and sign Manny Ramirez or some other big talent then this could be a steal of a price. At the very least they seem to be worth a shot.