2008 World Series Futures – Betting Odds

2008 World Series Futures - Betting Odds
by Badger of Predictem.com

A closer look at the Future Odds on the 2008 World Series

If you are a fan of Major League Baseball, theres no better phrase in the English language than “pitchers and catchers report.” Spring Training is in full swing, and that means it is once again time to look forward to the upcoming baseball season with the giddiness of a schoolgirl.

Every team still has the thought of a World Series title in their dreams. Many of those thoughts are just that, dreams, but at this time of the year who can blame them. After all, the players havent even started the six-month grind commonly referred to as the regular season.

So lets break it down and take a realistic look at the futures odds for the 2008 World Series title. All of the future odds listed in this article can be wagered on at Bovada.

THE FAVORITES

Boston Red Sox 7-to-2
New York Mets 4-to-1
New York Yankees 5-to-1
Detroit Tigers 5-to-1

Its no surprise that the current World Champion Boston Red Sox are once again the favorites for the 2008 season, since they return everyone from last years team (Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo, Dustin Pedroia - you get the picture, theyre still loaded) that walked away with the title. With the additional help of a few youngsters (Jacoby Ellsbury, lefty Jon Lester and righty Clay Bucholtz) ready for their first full season in the bigs theres no reason to think the Sox cant get back for a repeat.

The Mets are the favorites in the National League, a direct result of them winning the sweepstakes for pitcher Johan Santana in the off- season. Santana goes to the front of a rotation that is still suspect in my eyes though (John Maine, Oliver Perez, Orlando Hernandez, Pedro Martinez) with too many injury, age and effectiveness questions to be considered top flight. The Mets do have a dynamic left side of the infield with David Wright and Jose Reyes, but center fielder Carlos Beltran had surgery on both knees in the off-season and you have to wonder just how much Carlos Delgado and Moises Alou have left in the tank.


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The Yankees have a new manager in Joe Girardi, and a whole heap of questions to answer before I just assume they will get back to the World Series. Sure they have Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano for offensive stability. But Jorge Posada, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi are all a year older and starting to decline. Mariano Rivera is back to close, but will he get a chance with Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang and Mike Mussina leading a rotation that will feature unproven youngsters Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy?

The Detroit Tigers made a huge splash at the GM winter meetings in Florida, which seems like years ago, when they added third baseman Miguel Cabrera and lefty Dontrelle Willis to an already loaded offense and starting pitching staff. Oh yeah, and they added shortstop Edgar Renteria and outfielder Jacque Jones via trade as well. One thing is for sure, with Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez and Curtis Granderson setting the table, the Tigers will score runs. The only weakness is the Tigers bullpen, and the weakness will get tested in the playoffs. Joel Zumaya is hurt and closer Doug Jones is just getting older, so the Tigers will have to hope they can just out- hit everyone.

CONSIDERED CONTENDERS

Los Angeles Angels 10-to-1
Cleveland Indians 10-to-1
Chicago Cubs 12-to-1
Philadelphia Phillies 20-to-1
Arizona Diamondbacks 22-to-1

All of these teams made it into the post season last year, so big things are expected of them in 2008 as well. But realistically, several of them will crash back down to earth as those expectations become too much to overcome.

The Angels and Indians are in similar situations. Both teams will put together a solid mix of veterans with young players. Its both teams pitching staffs that will have questions that will need to be answered if their title dreams are realized.

The Angels have a loaded outfield of Vladimir Guerrero, Garret Anderson, Gary Mathews and new free agent acquisition Torii Hunter. But they will need a young infield (Howie Kendrick, Brandon Wood, Casey Kotchman) to play beyond their years quickly to hang with the teams above. After ace John Lackey, the Angels starters are extremely thin and young (Jon Garland, Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana) now that Kelvim Escobar is already hurt.

The Indians also have a solid offense to rely on, with Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez and Casey Blake. Young guys like Jhonny Peralta, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo and Franklin Gutierrez will have to continue to perform at high levels, especially if they end up chasing an improved Detroit Tigers team in their division. After the No. 1 and No. 2 starters (C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona) the rest of the Indians staff is average (Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook) and old (Paul Byrd) and might not have enough in the tank.

The Cubs are always everyones favorite, but they too have holes that need to be filed to end their 100 years of World Series failure. Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano give the Cubs offensive pop, but they will rely heavily on newcomers (Geovany Soto, Kosuke Fukudome, Felix Pie) and some borderline questionable pitchers (Jon Lieber, Rich Hill, Jason Marquis) to put them into the top echelon of teams, which may or may not happen.

The Phillies and Diamondbacks are hoping that the can build off of last years success, because neither team did a whole lot in the off- season to help their cause.

Philly will once again rely on a strong offense (Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley) because their pitching staff has major issues after you get past Cole Hamels and Brett Myers.

The D-Backs added righty Dan Haren from the As in the off-season to give Brandon Webb a solid running mate in the starting staff, but they dumped closer Jose Valverde and will rely on Tony Pena to close games, which may come back to haunt them. Their young offensive stars, which played so well late in the season last year (Steven Drew, Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, Chris Young) is bound to have one or two of them fall into the famous sophomore slump, which will hurt the D-Backs chances in the long run.

THE FEW LEGIT LONGSHOTS

Seattle Mariners 25-to-1
Colorado Rockies 25-to-1
San Diego Padres 25-to-1
Atlanta Braves 30-to-1
Milwaukee Brewers 30-to-1

All of these teams, with the exception of the miracle Colorado Rockies, were in the playoff chase down to the final weeks of the season last year.

Seattles acquisition of lefty Erik Bedard in a trade with Baltimore, and free agents Miguel Batista and Carlos Silva, give the Mariners a solid starting pitching staff. But the Mariners struggled to score runs last year at times, and will need huge years from Adrian Beltre, Richie Sexson and Ichiro Suzuki just to get out of their own division.

Lets face facts, Colorado overachieved last year pure and simple. They were a great story making it all the way to the World Series, but do they realistically have a chance to get back? Offensively they are solid, with Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton, Matt Holiday and Garrett Atkins leading the way. Its the pitching (come on, Kip Wells, Josh Towers and Mark Redman as your 3-4-5 starters) that will fail if the Rockies dont get back again this year.

San Diego was one game away last year, but their aging closer Trevor Hoffman fell apart down the stretch. The funny thing is, the Padres actually got older in the off-season, adding Jim Edmonds, Tony Clark and Randy Wolf. I dont know if thats improvement or not, but they put the P-R-O-N-E into injury prone if you ask me.

Atlanta is another team like the Padres that added aging vets to try and get over the hump. Tom Glavine rejoins the Braves to team up with John Smotz, Tim Hudson and possibly Mike Hampton to form one of the oldest rotations in baseball. The Braves will have holes on offense too, as Mark Kotsay and Yunel Escobar will be asked to fill the holes left behind when Andrew Jones and Edgar Renteria left town, and that might be too much to ask.

The Brewers still have a young and exciting core of everyday players (Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun) that are all under the age of 26-years-old. So their addition of vets like Mike Cameron and Jason Kendall was about adding leadership and guidance. If Ben Sheets can stay healthy and be the true ace of the staff, and thats a big if, the additions of bullpen arms like Salomon Torres, David Riske and Eric Gagne could make the Brewers the team most likely to improve the most in 2008.

FINAL ANALYSIS - PICKS TO WIN

Alright, if youre still reading this you are probably waiting for me to give you my pick. So here they are, but remember, diversify your futures bets with a few different levels of action.

FAVORITE - I like the 5-to-1 the Detroit Tigers are getting as the best odds out of all of the so called “favorites.” Their lineup is absolutely loaded top-to-bottom and should put up enough runs that even I could chuck-n-duck a few innings on the mound for them and not hurt them too much. Plus, taking the Red Sox or Yankees would be boring.

MIDDLE OF THE ROAD - My middle team is actually the sad-sack Chicago Cubs. At 12- to-1 they are rated a little higher than I think they should be, but thats because they are the Cubs and oddsmakers know they can suck a few Windy City fans into a sucker bet from time to time. A weak division will help if the Cubs young players struggle out of the gate, but if they dont figure out their bullpen jobs in a hurry this bet goes down in flames.

LONGSHOT - Im sticking in the same division for my long shot bet, the 30- to-1 Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers core of young talent is hard to beat, period. If they actually improve this year, and they are all still so young that it is not necessarily out of question, they will more than make up the ground they need to and make the postseason. But like about 29 of the 30 teams in the league, pitching will determine if this long shot cashes in or not in the end.