With the Midsummer Classic now in the rearview mirror, it’s officially time to gear up for the latter portion of the MLB season. Rosters become their most concrete. Series wins take a back seat as every game counts. And the animosity between opponents reaches an all-time high. Naturally, Las Vegas already has their picks for who they think will win it all — and who you should be betting your money on. Here’s a look at who Vegas is choosing to win the 2018 World Series. (Their No.1 pick probably won’t surprise you.)
15. Colorado Rockies
- Odds: 75/1
Colorado has the opportunity to make the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time in the team’s history. What would it take for them to go all the way? Woody Paige of The Gazette says they need to be aggressive ahead of the trade deadline to get veteran help on their squad. “The Rockies’ most demanding essentials are a quality veteran starter and a dependable late-inning reliever,” he suggests. Anything less wouldn’t just hurt their slim World Series chances — it hinders their ability to get into the postseason at all.
Next: Over in the NL Central …
14. St. Louis Cardinals
- Odds: 50/1
The Cards showed they were ready for big changes when they moved on from manager Mike Matheny ahead of the All-Star break. Still, the big challenge lies ahead in pulling off a killer second half performance so they don’t miss the playoffs for the third season in a row. Whether that’s possible is anyone’s guess, given how mixed their schedule will be. (They have to survive games with the Cubs while not dropping games to subpar clubs like the Marlins.)
Next: All the way out West …
13. San Francisco Giants
- Odds: 33/1
The injury bug bit the Giants hard this season, particularly when it came to their pitching rotation. They have, however, had moments of greatness thanks to an emerging corpse of young guns including Andrew Suarez and Derek Rodriguez. SF is feeling the pressure to add a big bat to their lineup if they want to put a postseason campaign together. Is there still pressure to add veteran help to the starting rotation? Or do the youngsters have what it takes?
Next: Traveling up the coast …
12. Seattle Mariners
- Odds: 20/1
On paper, the AL outside of the East is comprised of the Houston Astros, and then everybody else. But Seattle could be a sleeper that creeps into the postseason discussion. That is, of course, if they can take advantage of the easier series on their schedule and hang onto the Wild Card spot they’re currently occupying. (Especially since the Mariners have to play Houston four times before the season ends.
Next: In the Mid-West …
11. Milwaukee Brewers
- Odds: 18/1
Another sleeper in Wild Card contention, Milwaukee will need to start off their second half much better than they ended their first. Ahead of the All-Star break, the Brew Crew lost eight of their last 10 games and dropped a whopping six games straight — not good for any team looking to play baseball in October. Their schedule starts off tough to boot, with the LA Dodgers visiting right after the break.
Next: On to our nation’s capital …
10. Washington Nationals
- Odds: 16/1
Despite the lack of a World Series trophy, Las Vegas typically slates the Nats as a team with a decent chance of making it all the way to the Fall Classic. This season, however, they exit the All-Star break teetering at .500 with their star players — both in the batting lineup and in the pitching rotation — not playing anywhere near as good as they should be. (Heck, Bryce Harper’s quiet bat has hurt his trade chances big time.) Even though FanGraphs gives Washington a 58.7% chance of making the postseason, they may not even be a Wild Card contender.
Next: On the other side of the spectrum …
9. Philadelphia Phillies
- Odds: 16/1
Philly is having one of its best seasons in a while. (Maybe it’s that championship mojo left over from the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory.) They’ve been sitting pretty at the top of the NL East for a sizeable amount of the first half, and the fact that FanGraphs has them slated below the Nationals in making the playoffs — or winning the World Series, for that matter — is kind of bizarre. As SB Nation’s Beyond The Box Score points out, now is the time for Philadelphia to put their foot on the gas and really create some space between themselves and the Atlanta Braves en route to October baseball.
Next: Speaking of which …
8. Atlanta Braves
- Odds: 16/1
Like Philadelphia, Atlanta is having a better season than it’s had in some time, and have the potential to make it to the postseason for the first time since 2013. But while they may be a Wild Card contender with the future looking bright, a postseason berth is not guaranteed. FOX Sports suggests the Braves beef up their bullpen ahead of the trade deadline if they want to be a competitive force in October.
Next: Out in the desert …
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
- Odds: 16/1
The Snakes were able to leapfrog over NL West competitors to come within striking distance of the division-leading Dodgers. (More on them in just a second.) SB Nation worries that their streaky play could doom them in the second half, but that getting into the postseason at all should be the key. However, no team should be okay with being “streaky” when they still have to face LA twice before the regular season is up.
Next: Down in SoCal …
6. Los Angeles Dodgers
- Odds: 8/1
It’s no surprise Las Vegas slots the Dodgers as one of the best bets in the National League. Or that FanGraphs gives them a 13.5% chance of winning the World Series — the best chances for any NL team. It only remains to be seen if the moves they make ahead of the trade deadline will be enough to help them go that extra mile. Is newly-acquired addition Manny Machado the missing ingredient they need to win a championship? And if he isn’t, than who is?
Next: With the same odds …
5. Cleveland Indians
- Odds: 8/1
With a cushy lead in the AL Central, the Indians would have to have an abysmal second half not make the playoffs. So what’s left to get them back into the Fall Classic? Their bullpen needs to be beefed up if they want to make a deep postseason run, for starters. Their road record also isn’t spectacular, and they have a couple lengthy roadies coming up in August that can give us a pretty good idea of how they’ll fair in October ball.
Next: Speaking of the Central …
4. Chicago Cubs
- Odds: 15/2
With the best record in the National League, it’s no wonder Las Vegas picks the Chicago Cubs as one of the top contenders to put your money on winning the World Series. That being said, superstars such as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo didn’t quite hit their stride in the first half of the season, and Chicago’s pitching wasn’t anywhere near as intimidating as it has been in season’s past. At the very least, the Cubs’ rotation has to pick up the slack if they’re going to make another deep postseason run.
Next: And now for the big guns …
3. New York Yankees
- Odds: 11/2
The AL East is basically just a slugging match between the Yankees and the Red Sox. New York is projected to win over 100 games in the regular season and has a 12.5% chance of winning it all, according to FanGraphs. But NorthJersey.com points out that the Yankees need to make some upgrades ahead of the trade deadline to make up for their current squad having a “good, but not great” kind of first half. Bolstering their lineup may be the only way to bump Boston out of the postseason race.
Next: Speaking of which …
2. Boston Red Sox
- Odds: 11/2
Boston made big noise ahead of the Midsummer Classic, winning nine of their 10 games ahead of the All-Star break. And if the Red Sox can have as successful a second half as they did before the break, they are going to be very tough to beat. They also have a very favorable schedule since they are done traveling to the West Coast for the season, NorthJersey.com points out. If they continue on the same trajectory, don’t be surprised if their odds in Las Vegas get better.
Next: Last but not least …
1. Houston Astros
- Odds: 7/2
Naturally, last year’s World Series champions are favored to have repeat success this October. FanGraphs has them slated as having the best chance of winning with World Series out of the entire league at 24.8%. Looking for a series to watch before the postseason gets underway? Check out when the Astros visit the Red Sox in early September. That should give you the best idea of which team you really should be putting your money on to win the World Series.