A certain stat was doing the rounds on Twitter the other day, one that was impactful for baseball fans, especially those who know a thing or two about facts and figures. The stat read: The Boston Red Sox have won 90 games this season before any other team has won 80. In baseball terms, that’s a staggering statistic, one that put the Sox within touching distance of the Seattle Mariners 116-46 season – a record for the modern league format set in 2001.
It should be noted, of course, that the Mariners did not go on to win the World Series in 2001, losing out to the Yankees in the ALCS. So, the Red Sox putting up record numbers now does not always point to a World Series victory in November. In fact, in the last 20 years, only three teams have posted the best regular season record and gone on to win the World Series. MLB postseasons have always been much less predictable than, say, the NBA Finals, so there is still a lot of work remaining for the Sox.
Yankees were expected to win AL East
It is only natural, however, that the Red Sox top the odds with most sportsbooks to win the World Series. Since the All-Star Break, they been phenomenal, including a 4-0 sweep of the Yankees, their hated rivals and the team that happens to have the second-best record in MLB. The current odds vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, but most are in and around William Hill’s price of +400.00.
The thing is though, you can get some much better value odds for other teams, some of whom have arguably better depth and quality in the rosters than the Red Sox. The current champions, Houston Astros, are tight to the Sox at +500.00 (William Hill), as are the Yankees at a tempting +700.00 (Sportingbet Canada).
Cubs look more settled in late summer
But going beyond that, there are some intriguing teams who can be backed with free bets to use on betting sites in Canada. The Cubs, who now boast the best record in a tight National League, can be found at +1000.00 with several sportsbooks. Joe Maddon’s men really seem to be locked in at the moment, and the 2016 champs certainly look like the most likely team to represent the NL in the World Series.
However, the standout value might be the Oakland Athletics, coming in at +1600.00. Not only are they hot, but they seem to be revolutionising baseball by hitting flyballs and line drives like no other team in MLB. Coming from the team that give the world ‘Moneyball’, one has to respect the A’s ability to do something different.
Red Sox still the top team
Still, all of this does not mean the Red Sox will definitely come up short in October and November, although it does set out the case that other teams are worth considering. Do Alex Cora’s men merit being less than half the odds of the Cubs? A quarter of the odds of a quickly-improving A’s team? Perhaps we will only find out with hindsight, but certainly precedence does not dictate that anything should be guaranteed in the postseason. Sox win their fourth World Series this century? Maybe, but probably not.