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As the Superbowl festivities come to a close, it marks the end of the media albatross that is the NFL. While many use this time to take a step away from the sports calendar, it’s the best time to shift your attention over to Major League Baseball.
With eyes averted to the NBA and CBB, we’ll look to extract some value in the futures market. Before I highlight what I’ve bet in this market, let’s talk about how to approach it. This is my opinion on approaching the futures market, and it’s applicable across all sports.
Remember, it can be quite difficult to find a +EV bet in the futures market. You’re betting into a market with a hold of about 25-30%, if you’re using Draftkings or Fanduel. This means the house is expected to keep 25-30% of every dollar wagered, putting the bettor at a disadvantage.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to ignore this market completely. However, rather than betting on the team that you think is the best in the league, bet on teams at numbers that you won’t see again.
In this article, I’ll highlight a team that the betting markets are clearly undervaluing at the moment. I’m betting on them now because I think they have a legitimate shot at the World Series and because I believe the market is too low on them.
Before getting to my best bet, let's first take a look at the odds for each MLB team to win the 2023 World Series. If you have a tickle in your tummy for your favorite team, you can peruse their odds of winning this year's title below.
Here’s a quick look at the current odds from FanDuel Sportsbook as of June 16:
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+430|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+480|
|New York Yankees||+1300|
|San Diego Padres||+1800|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+1900|
|New York Mets||+3000|
|Los Angeles Angels||+4000|
|San Francisco Giants||+5000|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+7000|
|Boston Red Sox||+13000|
|Chicago White Sox||+25000|
|Kansas City Royals||+100000|
The Minnesota Twins are coming off a rather disappointing 2022 campaign. At first look, yes, it’s a lot to ask a sub .500 team to even make the playoffs after finishing third in the AL Central in 2022.
However, I think the Twins are in for some positive regression, especially when considering their Pythagorean win total was 82-80. A team’s Pythagorean win total is calculated based on the number of runs scored and allowed in a given season. The Twins lost four more games than their run delta implied they should have.
On paper, it doesn’t look like the Twins made the necessary additions to be a World Series contender. However, let’s dive into some of the year-over-year changes and numbers for Minnesota. The biggest question mark for Minnesota will be regarding their star, Byron Buxton.
Can Buxton stay healthy for an entire season? He’s matured as a hitter and has the ability to produce MVP-level numbers, but he’s yet to play more than 92 games in the last 5 seasons. Buxton’s presence alone elevates this offense from average to good.
Re-signing Carlos Correa gives the Twins a great 1-2 punch of elite hitters who hit for both average and power. Another player who will act as an upgrade is Royce Lewis. Lewis went down with an ACL injury (again) in 2022.
Lewis was the Twins' top prospect at one point, looking to be the next great shortstop in MLB. The Twins won’t have him back until July, but he will serve as a mid-season upgrade should he be able to return to his pre-injury ability.
The Twins also signed Christian Vazquez to a three-year deal this offseason. While Vazquez isn’t blowing anyone away, he’s an extremely necessary upgrade over the catching tandem of Gary Sanchez and Ryan Jeffers. The Twins' offense will be much better served to get league-average production out of the catcher position at a minimum.
One Twin who should benefit tremendously from Major League Baseball’s decision to ban the shift is Max Kepler. The Twins were actively shopping Kepler, but at this point, he looks to remain on the opening-day roster.
Kepler is an interesting case as he’s been unable to recreate his 2019 success that had the Twins excited about his development from a highly touted prospect. At age 30, Kepler’s career is far from over, and he still has many positive attributes to his approach at the plate. He’s a very patient hitter, drawing a double-digit walk rate every season. He’s been a starter in the bigs.
In 2022 it feels like Kepler’s power went away, hitting for just a .121 ISO when he’s been up over .200 in the past few seasons. His strikeout and walk rates remained consistent, and he was still making decent contact. Kepler had the highest ground ball rate of his career at 46%, which I believe accounts for a lot of his struggle at the plate.
His expected stats were still closer to his career average, showing that he was making good contact with the ball when he wasn’t driving it into the dirt. I think this, the shift ban, and better lineup protection for the Twins will set Kepler up nicely for a bounce-back season.
This isn’t a world-beating lineup, but it’s certainly one that will be more effective than the current odds suggest, especially if their big bats can stay healthy. If the Twins can get ANY production out of Joey Gallo, it’ll be a win for the organization. They’d love to see Alex Kiriloff and Max Kepler bounce back and hit for power. A trade deadline acquisition of an impact bat could make this a true playoff lineup.
The key piece of this lineup missing to those familiar with the 2022 Twins was AL batting champ Luis Arraez. While many were critical of the Twins' decision to ship Arraez to Miami, I believe the Twins won that trade.
Arraez is coming off his first all-star appearance and was a fan favorite in Minnesota, yet he doesn’t move the needle for me like the acquisition of Pablo Lopez does (more on him shortly). Arraez is one of the best contact hitters in baseball, but doesn’t hit for power, doesn’t draw walks at an elite rate, and is probably best suited at DH. The Twins won’t replace him on base percentage completely, but I think they sold the top for Arraez’s production and acquired their new #1 starter.
Pablo Lopez looked like he took a step back in 2022 after a stellar start to 2021 before succumbing to a shoulder injury. Lopez saw a dip in his strikeout rate in 2022, as well as an increase in walk rate, and lost half a mile per hour on his fastball. I’m not overly concerned with the year-over-year decrease, as Pablo threw 180 innings for the first time in his career.
His fastball/changeup combination is great, and he’s slowly developed his cutter to keep him from being a two-pitch pitcher. Minnesota’s rotation looks like 5 #2 or #3 starters and lacks a true ace.
I think Pablo Lopez has a good shot to step into the ace role this season. He’ll return and perhaps exceed his 2021 peripherals, especially factoring in a weaker division in the AL Central.
The Twins also feature two former Cincinnati Reds pitchers who are happy to be away from Great American Ballpark. Both Tyler Mahle and Sonny Gray can get away with elevated fly ball rates pitching in the friendly confines of Target Field.
Sonny Gray doesn’t miss bats at the same rate as his Cincy days, but he’s shown that he can still be effective. At times, the Twins looked like they really had something in Joe Ryan, who might end up projecting to be a #2 or #3 starter. If Ryan can continue to improve and match his minor league strikeout numbers at the major league level, the Twins rotation could quietly crack the top 12 in baseball.
The bullpen does leave something to be desired, as the signing of Jorge Lopez doesn’t turn this into an elite bullpen. That being said, Jhoan Duran has the ability to be dominant and should still anchor this bullpen. I think the Twins will see year-over-year improvement in some of their returning pieces and should be in buy mode at the trade deadline.
The market is simply undervaluing the Twins at the moment, putting them behind both Cleveland and Chicago in the AL Central. I think this Twins team will compete with the Guardians for the top spot and should be the team to come out of this division in 2023.
The Twins are priced way too long for a competing playoff team, with longer odds than the Texas Rangers. The path to the playoffs is much simpler in the AL Central, and I think 2023 is the year the Twins take advantage of it. 65/1 is way too high for a team with a ton of upside.
Through 70 games in the 2023 Major League Baseball season, many of the preseason favorites remain out in front on the World Series odds sheet. Four of the top five teams listed before the season started remain in the top five, with the New York Mets being the lone exception. Baseball’s biggest spenders sit fourth in the NL East, and their odds of winning a title have fallen to +2800.
The Tampa Bay Rays are again outperforming expectations and their payroll, surging to a 50-22 record with the fourth-lowest combined salary payouts in the league. According to Stathead, 17 of the last 39 teams with a win percentage of .694 or better through 72 games went on to win the World Series. The Rays have gone from +2500 in the preseason odds to +500 in mid-June.
It is the Atlanta Braves who claim the top spot in the current odds, leading Tampa by a slim margin at +450 after being +1000 before Opening Day. The Braves have the best record in the National League, but the current NL runner-up has been the real surprise.
The Arizona Diamondbacks lead the AL West by two games, and their 41-28 start is tied for the 4th-best in franchise history at this point in the season. They’ve blended young talent in players like Corbin Caroll (.977 OPS in 267 PA) with effective pitching to narrow their World Series odds from +12500 to +3000.
To recap our WS prediction, Minnesota leads the AL Central by 2.5 games with a 35-34 record. According to Baseball Reference’s Pythagorean W/L measure, they’re among the five unluckiest teams in baseball in terms of record. Their title odds through nearly 70 games reflect that, as the Twins are now +2200 to win it all.
Wanting to add to your Major League Baseball knowledge? The following table can be just what you're looking for. We've compiled the following list of all MLB World Series winners from 1997 to 2022.
|Year||World Series Winner|
|2020||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|2018||Boston Red Sox|
|2015||Kansas City Royals|
|2014||San Francisco Giants|
|2013||Boston Red Sox|
|2012||San Francisco Giants|
|2011||St. Louis Cardinals|
|2010||San Francisco Giants|
|2009||New York Yankees|
|2007||Boston Red Sox|
|2006||St. Louis Cardinals|
|2005||Chicago White Sox|
|2004||Boston Red Sox|
|2002||Los Angeles Angels|
|2000||New York Yankees|
|1999||New York Yankees|
|1998||New York Yankees|
Have more questions about the MLB World Series? We've done all the research for you and provided the following frequently asked questions and answers!
No sport in America has a history as rich as baseball. It's a very statistical-driven game, which makes it a favorite among numbers-loving sports bettors.
The Major League Baseball team that has won the most World Series titles is the New York Yankees. As of the end of the 2021 MLB season, the Yankees have won 27 World Series championships, the most recent one coming in 2009. The Yankees have a long and storied history, and their success over the years has made them one of the most well-known and celebrated teams in all of sports.
The player with the most home runs in World Series history is Mickey Mantle. "The Mick" hit 18 home runs in World Series play during his career. Mantle is widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and his ability to hit for power and average helped him to achieve many of the game's most significant records.
The pitcher with the most wins in World Series history is Whitey Ford. Ford won 10 games in World Series play during his career with the New York Yankees, which spanned from 1950 to 1967. He also holds the record for the most strikeouts by a pitcher in World Series history, with 94. Ford was known for his pinpoint control, as well as his ability to perform well in pressure situations. His success in the World Series helped to cement his legacy as one of the game's all-time greats, and his achievements continue to be celebrated by baseball fans and historians to this day.
Yes, there have been several Major League Baseball managers who have won World Series titles with multiple teams. Some of the most notable examples include:
Sparky Anderson: Anderson won the World Series with the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and 1976, and then later won the title with the Detroit Tigers in 1984.
Joe Torre: Torre won four World Series titles with the New York Yankees in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000, and then later won one with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009.
Tony La Russa: La Russa won the World Series with the Oakland Athletics in 1989, and then later won it with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and 2011.
These are just a few examples, and there have been other managers who have achieved similar feats over the years. Winning a World Series title is a significant achievement for any manager, and doing it with multiple teams only adds to their legacy and reputation within the game.
The first ever World Series was won by the Boston Americans, now known as the Boston Red Sox, in 1903. The Americans defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three in the best-of-nine series to claim the championship. The World Series was created that year as a postseason exhibition series between the champions of the American League and the National League. It has since become one of the most important and celebrated events in the world of sports. The Red Sox, of course, have gone on to win several more World Series titles over the years, and their success in the early years of the championship helped to establish them as one of the most storied and respected franchises in all of baseball.