The 2021 MLB playoffs are reaching a crescendo with the Braves leading the NLCS and the Astros having already advanced to this year’s World Series. Houston is the favorite when looking at the current World Series odds as they check in at -150. Atlanta is +225. The Dodgers were the favorites throughout the year but are struggling to keep pace with the Braves.
In this article, we look at Futures odds for the top teams in the MLB and forecast the chances of each baseball team winning the 2021 MLB Championship.
World Series odds
Here are live World Series odds with a comparison of prices from top sportsbooks. Click on the price you like to bet now.
How World Series odds are changing
In an effort to show how much World Series odds are changing throughout the baseball playoffs here were the futures prices as of Oct. 4 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
- LA Dodgers +390
- Houston Astros +450
- San Francisco Giants +700
- Chicago White Sox +700
- Tampa Bay Rays +750
- Milwaukee Brewers +750
- Atlanta Braves +1100
- New York Yankees +1100
- Boston Red Sox +1600
- St. Louis Cardinals +2200
And here is a look at pre-season World Series odds from FanDuel versus current odds.
|Team||March 29 odds||Current odds|
|New York Yankees||+550||OTB|
|San Diego Padres||+800||OTB|
|Chicago White Sox||+850||OTB|
|New York Mets||+1000||OTB|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+2200||OTB|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+2200||OTB|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+2500||OTB|
|Boston Red Sox||+4500||OTB|
|San Francisco Giants||+11000||OTB|
|Kansas City Royals||+11000||OTB|
MLB Futures Report
Houston Astros (): The Astros were neck-and-neck with the Rays all season for the title of best team in the A.L. but always seemed to have a better chance to succeed in the playoffs given their roster construction. Houston’s young pitching staff has been good enough all year to set up a dangerous offense. Dusty Baker has a ton of playoff experience and his team has a nice mix of veteran leaders and young studs like Yordan Alvarez.
Los Angeles Dodgers (): They survived a one-game playoff against a ridiculously hot Cardinals team and a 5-game NLDS showdown with the 107-win Giants. It seems nothing can stop the Dodgers from returning to the World Series now. They’ll face the Braves in a rematch of last year’s NLCS, but this time around Atlanta’s pitching staff is in far worse shape and they’re missing two of their biggest bats (Ronald Acuna Jr. and Marcell Ozuna). Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler won’t be available until at least Game 2 of this series, but the Dodgers have a deep staff and tons of elite arms out of the bullpen thanks to their absurd payroll.
Atlanta Braves (): The Braves won 12 of their last 16 games to wrap up a fourth consecutive N.L. East crown and took 3 in a row from the Brewers to return to the NLCS. They’re 40-25 since July 25 and have continued to produce offensively without Acuna Jr. or Ozuna. This franchise is 30-37 all-time in the NLCS and hasn’t made the World Series since 1999. The Dodgers have knocked the Braves out of the playoffs 3 times since 2013, including a 7-game series in the NLCS last year.
Basics of MLB Futures
Betting on the World Series is available all season long in the form of futures bets. It’s simple — find a team that you like and bet on them at their odds to win it all. For example, the Dodgers were +380 to win the World Series before the start of the 2020 season. If you bet $100 on LA to win it all before the season began, you would have won $380 with a total payout of $480. A $10 bet would have netted you $38.
Futures bets may also include the winner of the American League, National League, and each division. Some sportsbooks delve deeper with “prop bets” on individual achievements, such as who will lead the Majors in home runs, wins, strikeouts, etc.
Generally, books take bets on futures in between game action. When teams are competing on a full slate of night games, your sportsbook of choice might hold off on updating odds in the event there is a catastrophic injury or another event that might change the prospects of a contender.
Here is a quick summary of how the odds are displayed for MLB Futures bets:
- Some sportsbooks will use a system that shows the odds as 5/1, while some display them as +500. This is just semantics, as both systems indicate that a winning $100 bet on the team would cash out at 5x that amount ($500).
- Odds can also be split into fractions. A team may be listed as a 9/2 favorite on one book, which is the same as a +450 favorite, i.e. a winning ticket pays out 4.5x the amount of the bet.
History of MLB futures
Placing a long shot Futures bet on baseball is a very risky proposition. In the NBA, for one, it’s almost akin to throwing away your money. The NFL is a bit more unpredictable with its single-elimination postseason, and the MLB is somewhere in between.
Rarely has a team come out of “nowhere” to win the World Series over the past several years, but plenty of fringe contenders have started the season with long odds before getting hot at the right time. According to archives compiled by William Hill Sportsbook, the Kansas City Royals were listed with +3300 odds to win it all during the first month of the 2015 season. Those odds dropped to +1400 in May, +1000 in June, and were down to +550 by the time the playoffs began.
In 2014, the San Francisco Giants opened the season with +2500 World Series odds and went on to win it all. The Boston Red Sox were getting +2800 odds prior to the 2013 season, and the St. Louis Cardinals were getting +2500 odds prior to the 2011 season.
Hence, there is value in placing a small bet on an underdog early in the season. The Cardinals, Blue Jays, A’s and Rays come to mind as fringe contenders with long odds this year. There is a chance that an unexpected champion is crowned, but it is not guaranteed in today’s MLB due to the importance of pitching in the postseason.
Other ways to bet on the World Series
For those with wagering experience in other sports, much of the baseball terminology and concepts will be familiar. However, as with all sports, there are certain bet types and props that naturally are particular to the individual sport.
Here are the various ways to get a wager down on the World Series.
- Moneyline: As with other sports, the moneyline represents the odds of a team winning a game. A “minus” sign indicates the favorite. The number next to the minus sign represents the amount of money a bettor would need to wager to win a theoretical amount of $100. A “plus” sign indicates the underdog. The amount next to the plus sign represents the amount of money a bettor would win on a theoretical amount of $100.
- Run line: Typically set at either -1.5 or +1.5, the run line functions much like the point spread in other sports. In a conventional run line scenario, the favored team must win by two or more runs or the underdog must lose by two runs or less in order for the run line to be covered. Odds are assigned next to the favorite (which is designated with a run line of -1.5) and underdog (which is designated with a run line of +1.5).
- Total runs (over/under): The total combined number of runs projected to be scored in the game by both teams. As with other sports, bettors can place bets on the total either being exceeded or being greater than the amount of total runs scored.
- Series line: With baseball usually being played in multi-game series between two teams — three- or four-game series being the most common — wagers are also available on which team will emerge as the winner in each matchup.
- Player props: A variety of wagers based on individual players reaching certain benchmarks within a game or in a season. Seasonal examples include over/under wagers on the number of hits, extra-base hits or home runs a player might hit in a season. In-game examples include over/under wagers on the number of hits, walks or home runs a player might hit in a game.
- Team props: A variety of wagers based on teams reaching certain benchmarks within a game. Examples include over/under wagers on whether a team will score a team will score a certain amount of runs in a game. Or, how many runs a team will score by a certain inning within a game.
- Parlays: Parlay wagering is defined as a series of bets that must all be correct in order for a bettor to be paid. Parlay bets feature more favorable odds and payouts due to the increased difficulty involved in predicting multiple outcomes correctly.
MLB betting FAQ
Where can I bet on the World Series in the US?
Currently, there are 18 states that offer legal sports betting. Residents of those states can use top online sportsbooks (if available) or casino sportsbooks to place legal, real-money bets.
Who is the favorite to win the World Series in 2021?
The Houston Astros are the current favorite to win the World Series with -150 odds. Atlanta is +225.
Where can I get MLB betting tips?
PlayPicks.com provides free updates on the movement of MLB Futures lines and offers up-to-date advice on the best bets for games and Futures. Those interested in Daily Fantasy Sports can also check out our free plays and picks each day with advice relevant for DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel.