The 2020 MLB regular season is quickly coming to a close with the MLB Playoffs set to start on Sept. 29.
This page will look at MLB futures betting odds for the 2020 World Series favorites and contenders, as well as some of the biggest movers over the last few weeks. We also look at all the different betting options that will be available once the World Series begins this fall.
World Series odds 2020
MLB Futures Report
Los Angeles Dodgers (+350): While the Padres are hot on their heels, the Dodgers keep winning to keep the bar set high in the N.L. Their pitching staff leads MLB with a collective 2.98 ERA and they’ve hit a league-leading 93 homers.
Tampa Bay Rays (+650): The Rays started September 6-7 and allowed the Yankees to get back in the A.L. East race. They’re the new Moneyball era squad with all sorts of advanced metrics in play for strategy, but as Billy Beane once said, “That doesn’t work in the playoffs.”
New York Yankees (+750): After a brief injury-related lull, the Yankees appear to have hit their stride with an explosion of runs coming in their most recent series against the Blue Jays. They have the power, starting pitching, and bullpen necessary to make a postseason run.
Chicago White Sox (+1000): The White Sox opened the season with +4000 odds to win the World Series and are now among the favorites with the best record in the A.L. Lucas Giolito leads an improved pitching staff and the Southsiders can slug with anyone.
San Diego Padres (+1000): The Padres are an even bigger surprise in the N.L. They opened the season with +6000 odds and moved up to +2500 after a productive trade deadline. Now they’re a legitimate contender with the most runs in MLB as of Sept. 18.
Oakland Athletics (+1000): After a hot start to the shortened season, the Athletics’ odds have stabilized. They’re virtually a lock to win the A.L. West title, but don’t have a pitching staff that is built for October and lost 3B Matt Chapman (hip) for the year.
Atlanta Braves (+1250): The Braves have also experienced an offensive surge of late, but are struggling to get batters out consistently. Can their offense carry them through a tough N.L. bracket?
Minnesota Twins (+1250): While the Twins don’t have much of a track record in the postseason, this could be the year they exceed their low expectations in empty stadiums.
Chicago Cubs (+1600): The Cubs haven’t seen their odds move much as they’ve been quietly consistent during a down year for the N.L. Central.
The biggest movers
Houston Astros (+2000): Because of the new 16-team playoff format, the Astros are still very much in line for a Wild Card berth. Once they get into the dance, no one will count them out, but their odds have dropped from +1400 to +2000 after a poor stretch of play.
Cleveland Indians (+2500): The Indians are struggling to keep up with the Twins and White Sox in the suddenly stacked A.L. Central. They lost eight in a row in early September and could get the Yankees, Rays, or White Sox in the first round if they qualify for a Wild Card berth.
Toronto Blue Jays (+3500): This team seemed to be a couple years away from contention, but the young Blue Jays are flashing during the shortened season and could scare one of the top seeds in a first round series.
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 Yankees were +600 (or 6/1) before the 2019 season to win the World Series. Had you placed a $10 bet on them and they wound up hoisting the championship trophy, it would’ve earned you a $60 profit (it’s a good thing you didn’t).
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 longshot 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 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 Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, and even the slugging Colorado Rockies come to mind as fringe contenders with long odds this year. The past three years, the World Series crown has gone to one of the favored teams. The Cubs, Astros, and Red Sox paid off after opening the season with odds around +1000 or lower. 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.
- Runline: Typically set at either -1.5 or +1.5, the runline functions much like the point spread in other sports. In a conventional runline 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 runline to be covered. Odds are assigned next to the favorite (which is designated with a runline of -1.5) and underdog (which is designated with a runline 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 16 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 2020?
The Dodgers were the 2020 World Series favorites to open the season after landing former AL MVP Mookie Betts.
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.