While college football takes a breather and NFL football is winding its way toward the postseason, the MLB winter meeting took center stage this week.
With all the shake up amongst teams, the futures board for the 2015 World Series on Bovada and topbet saw a great deal of movement.
Several teams made big alterations to their playing rosters in what was one of the busiest winter meetings of MLB in quite some time.
Sites such as betonline and sportsbook.com were trying to stay abreast of all the transactions taking place to adjust the rankings for each team on the futures board to determine odds and daily lines for the World Series.
Daily lines can be changed in due time, but the future wagers take place now and very quickly as bettors begin investing on different teams that became very active in the winter meetings, while trying to exploit some kind of edge they find in the numbers if they believe a line was not adjusted enough by a book maker.
The team that has been the most popular for bettors prior to and after the close of the winter meetings in San Diego is the Chicago Cubs.
One sportsbook said that over 18% of its overall handle for the World Series was on the Cubs and more than 15% of the overall tickets that were written.
The Cubs have become a popular bet after signing Jon Lester to a contract. Chicago had opened at 50 to 1 in October following the World Series and was bet down prior to the meetings to 30 to 1, now after the meetings the Cubs are at 16 to 1.
Another sports book has the Cubs as low as 5 to 1 and calls them their biggest liability on the board by far.
It is not strange to have large handles on the Cubs. They are typically the team that is most wagered on regardless of what prospects they have of winning or not.
Chicago has not won the World Series since 1908. However, with Theo Epstein in charge they have someone who brought Boston the World Series. Bettors feel that the Cubs president can do the same for them as he did for the Red Sox who had not won a title since 1918.
Besides signing Lester, Chicago added Miguel Montero a catcher and Joe Maddon as manager.
Los Angeles was busy at the meeting and remained on top at 5 to 1. The Red Sox were very active and went from 25 to 1 to 15 to 1.
The July 31 trade deadline has come and gone. Teams battling for a spot in the postseason and to win the World Series made trades to better their current rosters before 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday.
A team can never have too much pitching. That is why the Oakland A’s have gone out and picked up as many of the top quality arms that are available on the market as they hope to win the American League pennant and battle for a World Series title.
On Thursday, prior to the trade deadline Oakland traded Yoenis Cespedes their power hitter to the Boston Red Sox for veteran southpaw Jon Lester.
Lester was one of the two top pitchers still available on the trade deadline.
Before the trade, the A’s on sportsbooks like Bovada and betonline, were already a co-favorite to win the World Series with odds of 9 to 2.
However, Lester adds one more dimension to the A’s chances. Oakland’s starting rotation before Lester joined was 3.32, which was tops in the American League. Lester this season has the lowest ERA of his career at 2.57.
Oakland following the trade for Lester saw their World Series odds shortened on topbet and sportsbook.com from 9 to 2 to 7 to 2.
Some insiders however question the move made by the A’s. Cespedes was their No. 4 hitter in the lineup and loved by everyone in the A’s clubhouse. A shakeup like this for the league’s current top team might end up as a negative over the short run.
Oakland general manager Billy Beane might have been tempted to make the trade after seeing one of the two pitchers in another deal he made struggle.
On July 5, Beane traded for Jeff Samardjiza and teammate Jason Hammel. Samardjiza has lived up to expectation, as Oakland is 4-1 with him on the mound since the trade. However, Hammel has been pummeled in each of his four starts. He is 0-4 with an ERA of 9.54 since joining the A’s.
Oakland has the best offense in the majors averaging 5 runs per game, but the question is how they will fare without Cespedes’ big bat in the fourth spot in the batting order.
He had 17 home runs and 67 RBIs along with 102 hits to lead the team. The A’s picked up Jonny Gomes in the same deal but he does not have the skill at the plate or on the field as Cespedes does.
The Detroit Tigers made a late traded prior to the trade deadline acquiring David Price the talented left-hander for Alvin Jackson and other players in a three-team deal.
The Major League Baseball’s regular season is just over a month away. Many of the biggest free agents are signed, including Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz with the Baltimore Orioles, in just the past week.
Spring training has started and therefore, online sites across the Internet such as Bovada and topbet are updating their futures boards for the 2014 MLB season.
Despite the fact, the Orioles added the strong arm of Jimenez and the powerful bat of Cruz, Baltimore’s price has lengthened to 40 to 1 today from 30 to 1 at the end of January.
AL East rivals the Tampa Bay Rays saw their odds shortened on betonline and sportsbook.com to 12 to 1 from 16 to 1.
Two teams in the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers, also had their odds shortened to 15 to 1 from 18 to 1. They are at that number with the Oakland Athletics the defending champs of the division, whose price went from 16 to 1 to 15 to 1.
Some teams also had their odds adjusted for their division, while not having their prices changed for the World Series.
On Bovada, the Los Angeles Dodgers have World Series odds at 5 to 1, which make them the favorite. To win the NL West they are 5 to 14, which was slightly shortened from last month’s 1 to 3.
The Detroit Tigers are second on the futures board to win the World Series sitting at 7 to 1. That price did not move on topbet, but the price for them winning the AL Central moved to 4 to 11 from 1 to 3.
In win totals on betonline, the Kansas Royals total increased to 82 from 79.5, while the Cleveland Indians jumped a ½ game to 80.5 from 80.
In addition, the odds for the home run title for 2014 were updated, with several adjustments worth looking at.
Chris Davis the Orioles slugger is now tied with Miguel Cabrera at 7 to 1. Davis moved from 12 to 1 to his current 7 to 1 odds. Davis is the defending champ in home runs as he swatted 53 last season to lead the Majors.
A big mover on the home run boards was Jose Abreu. His odds shorten from 100 to 1 to 40 to 1. Abreu has great power, but some other sports sites have him only hitting 24 round trippers for the season.
He could be a risky bet at the current 40 to 1 price as he is coming from a foreign pro league into MLB.
Three left-handed batters are emerging as possible good plays. Mark Teixeira, who actually hits from both sides, but will do his damage for the left hitting to the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium is healthy once again and still young enough that he could put together a good season. He is sitting on 75 to 1 and the potential for a nice profit is attractive.
Joey Votto the Cincinnati first baseman is 100 to 1 and has exceptional profit potential. Look for him to have a strong season at the plate.
Jay Bruce, a teammate of Votto, is sitting at 30 to 1 after previously being 25 to 1. He has not yet shown the power his impressive scouting reports have forecasted.
Here are the latest odds for the remaining teams in Major League Baseball. I have one key question for each team heading into the playoffs.
Boston 15/4 – The Red Sox will await the winner of the Cleveland Wild-Card game from Wednesday evening and in doing so will have plenty of rest. The BoSox surprised many this year with their impressive season. Perhaps it was an indicator of just how badly Bobby Valentine screwed this team up.
The big question I have for Boston is can the starters hold up in these series and get the game to their top notch closer?
LA Dodgers 17/4 – There really isn’t much to say regarding the Dodgers. The pitching should be able to carry the Dodgers a long way in the playoffs but what about the loss of outfielder Matt Kemp? Personally, I don’t think they’ll miss him all that much. With that said…
The big question I have for LA is can Yasiel Puig be a performer in the playoffs?
Detroit 5/1 – The Tigers limped into the playoffs having been swept by the Miami Marlins. Granted they didn’t exactly put their best line-up on the field each day, but going into the playoffs stumbling seems to work for this team. Miguel Cabrera had another fantastic season but he isn’t 100% and needs to get his bat going again.
The big question I have for the Tigers is what can they expect from Justin Verlander?
St. Louis 6/1 – The Cardinals will be facing a very familiar foe in the division series whether it’s Pittsburgh or Cincinnati. St. Louis struggled against the Pirates this season so I’m guessing they’d prefer the Reds. The Cards are in the top five in runs scored and in team batting average so if they can get solid starting pitching they should be OK.
The big question I have for the Cardinals is will the pitching match the offense?
Atlanta 7/1 – The Braves stumbled to the finish line but survived because of a huge lead they built all season. The outfield could be an issue because B.J. Upton is batting well below the Mendoza line so I believe he’ll be sitting. We know the Braves have a tremendous closer in Craig Kimbrel, but can the starters get to him without having to go through some shaky middle relievers?
The big question I have for the Braves is who is your ace?
Oakland 15/2 – Another magical season out in Oakland has landed the A’s home-field advantage for their first-round series with Detroit. The A’s most recent series against the Tigers saw them absolutely tear them up in Comerica Park so going east should not bother them a bit. The Athletics have always had good pitching but now the seem to have some hitting too.
The big question I have for the A’s is simple; can they finally get ‘moneyball’ to the World Series?
Cleveland 14/1 – The Indians get to sit back and watch the Rangers and Rays battle it out for the chance to fly into Cleveland for the AL Wild-Card game. Cleveland has won 10 straight games and is easily the hottest team going into the playoffs. Cleveland is going with rookie pitcher Danny Salazar who has just ten starts under his belt. He does however have an impressive 11.25 strikeouts per nine innings rank to his credit.
The big question I have to the Indians is can they stay hot? Going from the regular season to the playoffs is not the easy transition many make it out to be.
Cincinnati 18/1 – The Reds are limping into the NL Wild-Card game with Brandon Phillips having struck himself with a foul ball against Pittsburgh this weekend. The all-start second baseman will be less than 100% at game time tonight but should play. Mat Latos was expected to be the starter tonight but has a bone chip in his elbow. Johnny Cueto will get the ball instead.
The big question for the Reds is can they overcome the injury to a key player and handle the raucous crowd that will be on hand tonight?
Pittsburgh 18/1 – What can you say about this team? For the last two years they teased their fans with strong first-halves only to let them back down to Earth with slumping second-halves. There was no such slump this time around for the Buccos. They went into Cincinnati for the final three games of the season knowing they needed two of three to host the very same Reds tonight in PNC Park and they did just that and more sweeping the Red Legs.
The big question I have for the Pirates is can they get the big hit when they need it most?
Tampa Bay/Texas 25/1 – The winner of the 163rd regular season game will not have been decided until I after publish. The winner of the game will travel to Cleveland to play the Indians in the official AL Wild-Card game.