Opening Day of the baseball season is Thursday.
The Baltimore Orioles will not win the 2019 World Series. They are currently priced at anywhere from 100-1 to 2000-1 odds to do so, and even that is generous.
This is not stopping a surprising amount of action across the country on Orioles futures.
Why all of the Orioles action?
The Orioles will not be a good team this year. Or next year. Probably not the year after that either. They’re in a division with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. While they last won the division in 2014 (only five years ago!), they only won 47 games last year. Since World War II ended, only four teams have had a worse record than Baltimore last year.
Vegas and advanced analytics peg the Orioles around 59 wins.
Keith Law at ESPN Insider predicts the Orioles are a 56-win team (!!) and writes:
Baltimore will be nigh unwatchable this year, with a pitching staff that will probably be the worst in baseball, compounded by a tough schedule in a deep division.
At William Hill sportsbooks in Nevada, New Jersey and West Virginia, there have been more bets on the Orioles to win the World Series than 10 other teams, including a $500 wager on Baltimore placed Monday at 1,000-1 odds.
At the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia, 39 futures bets have been placed on the Orioles.
Last season, if you bet $100 on the Orioles in each game, you ended up down $5,188. It was the worst money-line result for any team in the past 14 years, according to sports betting database BetLabSports.com.
So why all of the action? People love betting longshots.
Where would this rank in the history of longshots?
A year ago, TheLines covered the 10 biggest long shots in gambling history. Going apples-to-apples at 2000-1, the Orioles would be in rarefied air.
For comparison’s sake, the 2015-16 Leicester City team who won the Premier League at 5000-1 were criminally undervalued. They actually had top-level talent (N’Golo Kanté, Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy) that the Orioles do not. For as sophisticated as the English soccer betting market is, that 5000-1 is shockingly long in hindsight.
In reality, the best comparable is the “do you believe in miracles?” 1980 US Hockey team. While only a 1000-1 long shot, they were as improbable of a champion as any team in sports history. That’s more in line with the Orioles in 2019. It would be nothing short of a miracle to see this roster hoist this trophy.