MLB Favorites, Smart Picks, and Dark Horses To Win the 2024 World Series at the Low part of the Season

MLB Favorites, Smart Picks, and Dark Horses To Win the 2024 World Series at the Low part of the Season

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We all know that overreacting to how teams perform in the early part of the season is never a good idea, yet it’s something that so many of us tend to do. Yes, some teams are going to stay on a similar path to the one they are currently on, but others are either going to move into high gear or fall off the face of the Earth. Trying to figure out which way everyone will go is all part of the fun. Week 1 of the 2024 MLB season is now in the books, so it is time to overreact as we look at the current MLB odds and try to place teams into relevant categories based on what they have done to this point. With that in mind, let’s try and break it all down, keeping in mind that some of these predictions are going to be way off.

Favorites and Smart Picks

The way I look at this is to try and figure out who will be the clear division winners. Sure, there is no guarantee that a dominant division win will translate to success in the postseason, but it can certainly make the path to the World Series a good deal easier to navigate. Right now, there are 3 teams that are jumping out to me, and the bookies tend to agree based on the current odds.

We have to start with the LA Dodgers, who have already opened up a 4 ½ game lead in the NL West. They are one of only two teams to have hit 10 wins this season, and you have to say that they don’t really look to have any strong opposition in the division, at least to this point. The other team to hit double-digit wins is the New York Yankees, They are 2 ½ games up in the East, and while they look strong, there are a couple of teams that might yet challenge them for the division. Finally, the Atlanta Braves look to be exactly as advertised and are already opening up a lead in the NL East. They and the Dodger are, for me, the smart picks to win their respective divisions, with their odds to do so certain to shorten.

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MLB Moneyline for Week 2


Dark Horses

This is where things get a little tricky, as these are teams that re either struggling early or overachieving. The first team that immediately comes to mind in this group is the Baltimore Orioles. Winning the East again was always going to be a tough ask, as we all expected the Yankees to be much stronger this season. They are 6-4 at the moment, but I think we will see them go on a positive run at some point.

The NL Central appears to be wide open in the early going, but who will we see come good and take the top spot? The Pittsburgh Pirates have been incredibly fun to watch this season, going 9-3 thus far, but they had a similar start last year before falling off. I am looking at the Chicago Cubs in here, as they look offensively solid, hammering in 71 runs in 11 games. If they can maintain that pace, look out.

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MLB Moneyline for Week 2


Baseball World Series Betting Odds

  • Los Angeles Dodgers +325
  • Atlanta Braves +450
  • New York Yankees +800
  • Houston Astros +900
  • Baltimore Orioles +1300
  • Texas Rangers +1300
  • Philadelphia Phillies +1400
  • Seattle Mariners +2500
  • Toronto Blue Jays +2500
  • Chicago Cubs +3000
  • St. Louis Cardinals +3000
  • Minnesota Twins +3000
  • Tampa Bay Rays +3000
  • Arizona Diamondbacks +3500
  • Cleveland Guardians +4000
  • Cincinnati Reds +5000
  • Boston Red Sox +5500
  • San Francisco Giants +5500
  • San Diego Padres +5500
  • Detroit Tigers +5500
  • Milwaukee Brewers +6500
  • New York Mets +7000
  • Pittsburgh Pirates +8000
  • Kansas City Royals +10000
  • Los Angeles Angels +12500
  • Miami Marlins +20000
  • Washington Nationals +35000
  • Chicago White Sox +45000
  • Colorado Rockies +50000
  • Oakland Athletics +50000

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2023 MLB Favorites, Smart Picks, and Dark Horses

The Major League Baseball season starts next Thursday on March 30. Heading into the season, defending champion Houston has become the outright favorite over a couple of co-second choices, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets. But although the favorites look tough to beat, this is baseball where anything can happen.

Check out MLB betting lines and analysis for three favorites, smart picks, and dark horses.


MLB Favorites, Smart Picks, and Dark Horses To Win the 2023 World Series

MLB Season Info | Updated MLB Odds
Duration: Thursday, Mar. 30 – Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023
Number of games: 162 games
Number of teams: 30 teams


Houston Astros +600 | Favorites

The Houston Astros have a terrific batting lineup and even better starting rotation. Both Framber Valdez and Christian Javier are Cy Young contenders.

The team can repeat for sure. Among the three favorites, no doubt, Houston is the best play.

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Los Angeles Dodgers +700 | Favorites

At +700 odds, the Los Angeles Dodgers are tough to back. First, LAD has failed to win the World Series in the past two seasons even though they’ve started 2021 and 2022 the chalk to win the Fall Classic.

Second, the Dodgers’ rotation could suffer because Walker Buehler is injured. In addition, Julio Urias has never carried the load as an ace and Clayton Kershaw is 35. Pass unless you truly believe.

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New York Mets +700 | Favorites

The New York Mets are a better play than the Dodgers to win the World Series. There’s nothing wrong with NYM. If Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Kodai Senga stay healthy, the Mets should dominate opposing batters. NYM might be worth a bet at +700.

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Toronto Blue Jays +900 | Smart Picks

The Toronto Blue Jays are a smart play to win the World Series. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads a formidable batting lineup.

The rotation should be decent. Alek Manoah could win the Cy Young this season. Manoah is listed second on the depth chart behind ace Kevin Gausman. Both starters are good enough to win the Cy.  

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Philadelphia Phillies +1600 | Smart Picks

Sure, Bryce Harper may not return until July. Still, the Philadelphia Phillies are a solid squad. The rotation proved it can handle National League opponents.

Also, Philly has more bats in the lineup than just Bryce’s. The team got a taste of success in 2022. Sometimes, success becomes an addiction. We shouldn’t rule out a return trip to the Fall Classic.

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Tampa Bay Rays +2200 | Smart Picks

If Tyler Glasnow returns to the form that made him a Cy Young contender, the Tampa Bay Rays will challenge the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East Division title.

Glasnow is second in the rotation behind solid Shane McClanahan. Jeffrey Springs is the third starter. His ERA is 2.46.

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Texas Rangers +3300 | Dark Horses

Texas is the first of two AL West dark horse teams that can get it done. The Rangers boast a pair of ace pitchers in Jacob DeGrom and Nathan Eovaldi.

The Texas Rangers must find a way to make the postseason. If they do, they’ll have a shot to win the World Series if DeGrom and Eovaldi are healthy because Texas should score plenty of runs.

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San Francisco Giants +3500 | Dark Horses

The San Francisco Giants don’t often stay down for long. In 2021, the Giants won 107 games. A return to that excellent season isn’t probable but it could happen.

The key will be for Logan Webb to develop into a legit shutdown ace starter. It will also help if Sean Manaea rediscovers his best stuff. If those two things happen, the Giants could upset the Padres and Dodgers and win the NL West.

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Los Angeles Angels +5000 | Dark Horses

The Angels boast MLB’s two best players, Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. This season, everything could come together.

The key will be former Dodgers’ starter Tyler Anderson. If Anderson becomes the Halos’ second ace behind Shohei, the Los Angeles Angels can win the World Series, no matter what the massive odds imply.

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2022 MLB Favorites, Smart Picks, and Dark Horses

The 2022 Major League Baseball Season throws first pitch on Thursday, April 7. The Los Angeles Dodgers offering favorite odds doesn’t surprise. The Toronto Blue Jays going off the second choice does. Check out MLB World Series odds on the Dodgers and Blue Jays, two smart picks, and two dark horses to win this year’s World Series. 

Favorites, Smart Picks and Dark Horses for the 2022 MLB Season

2022 MLB Regular Season

  • When: Apr. 7 – Oct. 5

2022 World Series Favorites

  • Los Angeles Dodgers +440

LAD Manager Dave Roberts is so excited about this year’s team that he’s guaranteed a Dodgers’ World Series. Looking at the roster, Roberts has reason to be excited. The starting rotation is stacked and LAD added Freddie Freeman to a lineup that includes Mookie Betts, Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, and Cody Bellinger. 

But closer Blake Treinen had just 7 saves last season. So he didn’t dominate. So if the bullpen doesn’t come together, the Dodgers could struggle to win the pennant. 

  • Toronto Blue Jays +850

The odds on the Blue Jays make them an underlay for sure. No doubt, Toronto will be a good team. Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, and Hyun Jin Ryu make for a strong first to third in the starting rotation.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the chalk to win the AL MVP. He’ll have plenty of support at the plate. But Toronto plays in the super deep AL East where the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays all have a shot to win the division. So the Jays may not even make the postseason.   

Smart Picks

  • Houston Astros +880

The AL West isn’t very deep. Oakland shouldn’t be very good. Neither the Mariners nor the Rangers will challenge for the division title.

The second best team in the American League West should be the Los Angeles Angels. But, really, does the Angels’ starting rotation stand up to the Stros’? 

It’s not even close. Sure, Carlos Correa no longer plays for Houston. But the team still sends Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Michael Brantley to the plate. More importantly, the Astros are almost guaranteed to win their division and make the postseason, which means they’re a solid play at +880.

  • Chicago White Sox +1075

Like the Stros, the White Sox are almost guaranteed to win their division. Chicago has a fantastic starting rotation with Lance Lynn, Cy Young contender, Lucas Giolito, underrated Dylan Cease, and Dallas Kuechel.

The bats will be there while the Minnesota Twins, Chicago’s top rival in the AL Central, will be okay, but not great. The Cleveland Guardians, Kansas City Royals, and Detroit Tigers shouldn’t challenge the White Sox. 

Dark Horses

  • Boston Red Sox +1600

The Red Sox battling lineup is strong. Trevor Story adds a lot to a lineup that already includes Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Alex Verdugo. 

If Chris Sale returns to his dominating ways, the rotation should be good. Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta are solid. At the odds, the Red Sox are a top dark horse play. 

  • Philadelphia Phillies +2500

Philadelphia offers overlay odds to win the World Series. The Phillies send one of the strongest lineups in MLB to the plate. 

Bryce Harpers should continue dominating. The Phillies signed Kyle Schwarber as their designated hitter, which upgrades the line up big time. 

JT Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball. So if Zach Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Ranger Suarez step it up on the mound, the Phillies can beat the Mets and Braves and take the NL East. 


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2022 MLB Favorites, Smart Picks, and Dark Horses after Week 1

Are the New York Mets legitimate World Series contenders under first-year manager Buck Showalter? New York is off to a terrific start, especially its rotation, despite remaining without ace and two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, who is not expected on a big-league mound until late May due to a stress reaction in his right shoulder. Let’s take a look at the following analysis for your MLB odds.

MLB Season 2022 after Week 1

The 33-year-old ‘s next MRI is scheduled for around April 25. The right-hander also recently had a bone scan, which confirmed the original stress reaction diagnosis. Showalter said recently that deGrom’s injury is looking “pretty positive so far.” If deGrom gets cleared to throw at the end of the month, it will likely take him about four weeks to build up his arm to be ready to pitch in games. This would potentially put him on track to return from the injured list by late-May or early-June.

Entering this week, the New York rotation has an absurdly low 1.07 ERA. This is the best 10-game stretch to begin a season by any starting staff in baseball history since the earned run became a statistic in 1913.

Five of the six players to start a game for the Mets have ERAs that begin with zero. In nine of their 10 games, the Mets starter has not allowed more than one run. In eight of 10, he has left with the lead. (He’s left in a scoreless tie in the other two.)

The Mets’ rotation has tossed 50.1 innings, allowing just six earned runs, while striking out 59 batters and issuing a mere 11 walks. Opposing offenses have slugged a measly three home runs and are hitting .158 off of the staff as well.  All this without deGrom and the fact that future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer has not been his usual dominant self, but has still managed to go a solid 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA.

“It’s really good and It’s going to be like this the whole year,” Carlos Carrasco said of the rotation’s fast start after throwing five shutout innings on Saturday. “We’re missing Jake, but we have (Tylor) Megill and all these guys. We’re going to be fine.”

Since 1996, 46 teams have finished April with a rotation ERA of 3.00 or lower; those teams have averaged more than 90 wins on the season, with 28 of them advancing to the postseason. Twenty won their divisions, six the pennant, three the championship (2005 White Sox, 2010 Giants and 2016 Cubs). To win the World Series, the Mets are now +1100.

One of the early disappointments also resides in the NL East: the Philadelphia Phillies, who are +2200 to win the World Series. The Phillies are slashing .325/.405/.542 on fastballs and that .325 average and .542 slugging on fastballs is tops among all ML clubs and their .405 OBP ranks 3rd behind the Rockies (.408) and Cubs (.407). The problem is the Phils are struggling on other pitches and their rotation hasn’t been great.

Manager Joe Girardi has made a change to the lineup at the top: “I think ironing out a leadoff hitter is important,” Girardi said over the weekend. But no one had expected Girardi to remove that status from Kyle Schwarber, despite a 1-for-28 slump. It’s early. Schwarber was touted by Phillies officials as an untraditional but effective hitter for the leadoff spot. He batted fifth Sunday, and that will be his place in games to come. He homered Sunday in the eighth inning.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto is the new hitter atop the lineup. Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper will hit second. The goal, Girardi said, is to prevent teams from summoning a lefty reliever late in the game to face three batters with two of them being Schwarber and Harper.

In the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays are now +750 second favorites to win the World Series and their lineup is scary. The bullpen is anchored by Jordan Romano. He has become the 9th player in MLB history to record at least six saves in a team’s first 10 games of a season. Romano has converted 29 consecutive save opportunities, dating back to last season, the longest streak in franchise history (Tom Henke – 25 in 1991) and currently the longest active streak in the Majors.

Some bad news, though, as starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is going to miss a while. Ryu, 35, was pulled after just four innings in Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics. He lasted less than that in his first start of the season April 10, when he allowed six earned runs over 3⅓ innings in a 12-6 loss to Texas. He is currently listed as having forearm inflammation and does not have a timeline for when he will return. Ryu, who won 14 games for the Blue Jays last season, is in the third year of a $80-million, four-year contract.


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