You never know what the Midsummer Classic is going to bring. Granted, it’s always nice to get a little rest from the 162-game grind that is the Major League Baseball season, but there’s no guarantee the All-Star Break will provide any semblance of flair and excitement. Which is what made this year’s spectacle so surprising.
For those of you who missed it, the Home Run Derby — with its timed head-to-head bracket style slugfest — was exactly what the game needed to create some buzz heading into the second half of the 2015 season. Now as we began the final push of the regular season, we find ourselves eagerly excited to see how it’s all going to play out; and we’re not the only ones.
We love sports because we enjoy seeing competition at its finest. Others, well, they find themselves drawn to the game because they have money on the line. And no place does sports gambling quite like Las Vegas. For the Las Vegas sports books, how the end of the season plays out will do nothing but determine how hard their pockets get hit. And with the MGM Race & Sports releasing its latest odds to win the whole thing, we at least get some idea of which teams, according to Sin City, find themselves among baseball’s favorites.
For the heavy hitters out there who love play the odds, we think it’s only right to keep you informed. With that in mind, here’s a look at who Vegas is picking to win the 2015 World Series.
5. Houston Astros
- Odds: 8-1
Despite heading into the All-Star break on a six-game losing streak, the upstart Houston Astros have emerged as legitimate contenders in Major League Baseball. This club currently sits at 49-42, just half a game back of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the AL West Division. With youth, drive, and chemistry, this group could very well win the World Series in 2015. Plus, with an ace like Dallas Keuchel — 2.23 ERA and a 4.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for pitchers — leading the way and a staff with the fourth-best average ERA (3.58) in the American League, you can never count this team out of anything.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
- Odds: 6-1
The Los Angeles Dodgers are sitting pretty in the NL West with a 51-39 record and a 4.5-game lead over the defending champion San Francisco Giants. They are fourth in the National League in runs scored (376), have the best fielding percentage (.990) in baseball, and boast two of the games top pitchers. While it’s usually the dominant lefty Clayton Kershaw who receives most of the praise, this season has actually been all about the incredible play of Zack Greinke. He’s leading the Majors with a 1.39 ERA, has the highest WAR (5.5) among pitchers, and has been virtually unhittable. With Greinke playing the best ball of his career, if the Dodgers start getting top-notch stuff from Kershaw and the team’s bats start to come alive, you can expect this team to be in the thick of things come October.
3. Washington Nationals
- Odds: 5-1
At 48-39, the Washington Nationals head into the second half of the season with a two-game lead over the New York Mets. And while the club currently sits with the four-best record in the National League, this team has two things that separate them from every other organization in Major League Baseball: Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper. The former has been one of the best pitchers in the league and will have to continue this trend if the Nationals hope to make a run in the postseason. However, it’s been the 22-year-old slugger who’s left folks with their jaws on the floor. Harper is batting .339, has 26 home runs, and has driven in 61 runs. He’s leading baseball with a 6.2 WAR and has seemed to make something happen every time he’s stepped up to the plate. If Scherzer continues to play like the guy the Nationals spent big bucks on and Harper can remain healthy, Washington will definitely be one of the teams to beat in the playoffs.
2. St. Louis Cardinals
- Odds: 9-2
Following the shocking hacking scandal, the St. Louis Cardinals have certainly fallen off their pedestal a bit. However, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that this organization consistently finds themselves in the thick of things come the end of the season. This year should be no exception. The Cards are 56-33, two and a half games ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central, and have the best average ERA in the National League. Any way you slice it, the St. Louis Cardinals are among baseball’s elite, and having the league’s best overall record only further solidifies their legitimacy.
1. Kansas City Royals
- Odds: 4-1
For those who thought it was a fluke the Kansas Royals made it to last year’s World Series, it might be time to reconsider your position. This team has a 4.5-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central and boasts the league’s second-best record at 52-34. This club has the second-lowest ERA in the American League, confidence in themselves, and a historically elite defense. If you’re looking to play the odds and go with the team most likely to take home the 2015 World Series title, it might be the right time to bank on KC.
Odds are courtesy of MGM Race & Sports.