2012 World Series Predictions – Postseason Edition
by Badger of Predictem.com
The Major League Baseball regular season is done and 162 games are in the can, so let’s take a look at our positions on our World Series future bets and take a look at the odds for the American League and National League pennants.
If you recall my preseason predictions, wait, let’s not go there because I didn’t hit on any of my short (LA Angels), middle (Tampa Bay Rays) or long shot pick (Milwaukee Brewers) this season. In fact, none of the three even made the postseason, although all three were involved in the chase until the final week.
So with none of my preseason bets still pending, let’s take a look at the futures odds for the AL and NL pennants, and the revised odds on the World Series, to see if there’s any value left in a futures bet on October baseball.
Baltimore Orioles +800
Detroit Tigers +280
New York Yankees +225
Oakland Athletics +250
Texas Rangers +400
At first glance the NEW YORK YANKEES are exactly where you’d expect them to be, the short favorite to take the AL crown. When the bottom third of your lineup (Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez) combines to hit 80 homeruns and 195 RBIs, it’s clear that nobody is going to match the Yankees offensively. Andy Pettitte (1.62 ERA since coming off the DL) has pitched well down the stretch, but when you pull someone out of retirement midseason because you can’t find anyone to pitch after C.C. Sabathia, you know your starting pitching is hurting.
I realize the OAKLAND A’s are the hottest team in baseball right now, in fact, since June 10th there’s not a single team in the playoffs (AL or NL) that has a better record then the A’s. While there’s something to be said for being the hot team when October comes, the holes in this A’s offense (team BA of .238, top slugger Josh Reddick 32 HR, 85 RBI has little protection in lineup) and a potential rotation of Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and Brett Anderson doesn’t really scream American League Champions to me.
The DETROIT TIGERS have a lot going for them a triple-crown winner in Miguel Cabrera anchoring the lineup; a Cy Young pitcher in Justin Verlander set up to pitch at home where he is lights out (9-2, 1.65 ERA); and a home field advantage right from the start in the first round, where the Tigers are 32-12 at Comerica since July 4th. The big question for the Tigers will be if they can play the caliber of defense you need to play in the playoffs, and get production out of the bottom of their lineup, which are a couple of big ifs.
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No team fell apart like the TEXAS RANGERS down the stretch, but they’re also the only team aside from the Yankees that have proven they can win October baseball games. They have to throw Yu Darvish in the wildcard game against Baltimore, which will hurt their chances moving on should they win. But with 4-to-1 odds, a lineup that can still mash, and pitching that still can matchup with the rest of the AL playoff teams, the Rangers might be the best value left on the board.
If you didn’t believe in the BALTIMORE ORIOLES before the season when you could have gotten 50-to-1 or 100-to-1 odds, I’m not sure why you’d go after them now for just 8-to-1. They are a great story, but the heart of the order is very strikeout prone and in the playoffs, I’d expect the jitters to cause a few of the young Orioles to expand their strike zones. Baltimore is 29-9 in one-run games, which is certainly a selling point. But I still can’t get past the fact their starters aren’t lined up, because Joe Saunders in a “win-or-go-home” wild card game doesn’t get me all gushy over the Birds to complete the miracle season.
AL PENNANT PREDICTION: Texas Rangers +400 – They’ve limped in, which I think will ease some of the expectations. They’ve been here before, unlike the Orioles, A’s and Tigers, and they’re the only team that can match the Yankees on offense. The AL will be won with big offense, not pitching, so I’m taking the best value and Texas.
NATIONAL LEAGUE PENNANT
Atlanta Braves +550
Cincinnati Reds +250
San Francisco Giants +300
St. Louis Cardinals +700
Washington Nationals +225
The WASHINGTON NATIONALS were the best team in the regular season, so they get the honor of being the short favorite in the National League. While it’s never been my position to take the favorite, the Nationals made me do a double take because they are so versatile. With a balanced lineup that can play both small ball and bop homeruns (best run differential in MLB) and a deep staff and bullpen, it’s hard not to like Washington to make some noise in their first go-around in October.
Like Texas in the AL, one of the National League’s best teams that comes into the playoffs struggling is the CINCINNATI REDS. The Reds can hit homeruns with anyone, but considering the have to open on the road in spacious AT&T Park in San Francisco, I’m a little worried the Reds might be one and done like they were the last time they made October. The Reds staff will have to continue to overachieve in order to make a risk at 2.5-to-1 in my book.
A lot of people think the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS are the NL’s best team set up for a deep playoff run. They play the Reds in the first round at home, where they are tough to beat and where game one starter Matt Cain was 8-3 with a 2.03 ERA this season. Plus, the Giants are so deep in pitching that Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito could (could!) be used out of the bullpen according to manager Bruce Bochy.
The ATLANTA BRAVES were one of the hottest teams down the stretch, going 20-8 in September, to give them momentum as the top wild card. The Braves bullpen is top-notch, and unlike last year when they were spent, this year they come into the playoff fresh and on a roll with 11 of the last 18 Braves games where they’ve held teams to two runs or less (they’ve held leads flawlessly). They slipped to 5.5-to-1 because they have to play in the wild card game and blow Kris Medlen, but I think their other starters are good enough to keep it close and turn it over to the bullpen.
The defending World Series champion ST. LOUIS CARDINALS have the best offense still around in the playoffs, leading the NL teams in runs scored, OPS and slugging. They also have Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright waiting for a shot at the Nationals, they just have to get past Hotlanta with Kyle Lohse in the wild card game. That’s the part about the Cardinals chances, Lohse against the Braves, that I’m struggling to get past.
NL PENNANT PREDICTION: Atlanta Braves +550 – I’m going to throw a unit on the Braves because outside of Washington, I think the Braves have the most balance of offense and pitching left in the race. I just really like their bullpen too, they are going to need to win a lot of one-run games to get there and that bullpen and Craig Kimbrel are going to make October glory.
WORLD SERIES PREDICTION: Since I’m offering a Texas Rangers-Atlanta Braves World Series with my predictions above, and since the Braves World Series odds (+1200) are better than the Rangers odds (+800), I’ll throw another unit on the Braves to win the whole shouting match when its all over.