We are four months in to the 2021 MLB season and not much has changed at the top of World Series odds boards as the LA Dodgers remain the favorites.
In this article, we look at Futures odds for all of the top teams in 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.
MLB Futures Report (July 30)
Los Angeles Dodgers (): The defending champs have everything on their stacked roster, and it got even stronger with the additions of ace Max Scherzer and down-ballot MVP candidate Trea Turner. Whether they catch the Giants in the division or not, they’ll be sizable favorites in any postseason series.
Houston Astros (): Offense has never been hard for this team to come by and their young pitching staff is performing admirably with Zack Greinke serving as the elder statesmen. Houston had a weakness in the bullpen but dealt for multiple capable arms and appear ready for another deep postseason push.
Chicago White Sox (): The White Sox are cruising atop the A.L. Central with a +110 run differential and 35-17 record at home. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez has returned with Luis Robert soon to follow, and they added huge bullpen upgrades by raiding the crosstown Cubs for Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera.
New York Mets (): With Jacob deGrom (forearm) and Francisco Lindor (oblique) joining a list of injured contributors, the Mets are treading water atop the N.L. East. They added Javier Baez, taking advantage of the Cubs’ sell-off, and they’re big favorites to win the division despite a recent slump.
San Diego Padres (): Fernando Tatis Jr. is an absolute superstar and the Padres have had no issues piling on runs, but their starting staff has been less reliable in the summer months and their collective ERA (4.03) is now up close to the league average. They added a nice bullpen piece in Daniel Hudson but failed to make the splashes of fellow powerhouses like the Dodgers and Yankees.
Boston Red Sox (): The Sox continue to exceed expectations during what was projected to be a rebuilding year, and they’ll get reinforcements soon with Chris Sale on a rehab assignment. Boston landed All-Star outfielder Kyle Schwarber at the trade deadline, giving them another big bat in the lineup.
Milwaukee Brewers (): Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta lead a staff that owns the highest K/9 ratio (10.25) in baseball and is allowing the Brewers to run away with the N.L. Central. They fortified their already solid bullpen and added Eduardo Escobar to the lineup at the deadline.
San Francisco Giants (): The Giants didn’t watch idly as the Dodgers loaded up their already stacked roster with even more stars. They dealt for Kris Bryant and will hope the former MVP can help them keep the Dodgers at bay to avoid the Wild Card game.
Tampa Bay Rays (): The Rays continue to defy baseball logic with a slew of low-priced starters and openers making up for the loss of staff ace Tyler Glasnow (elbow). Don’t count out Kevin Cash and his staff as they prepare for another postseason run.
Toronto Blue Jays (): Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio lead a crew of second-generation stars who are hitting the cover of the baseball and keeping things spicy in the A.L. East. Toronto added a solid starter in Jose Berrios to aid their push this season and for 2022.
Oakland Athletics (): The A’s are battling the first-place Astros for the division lead, but don’t have the same type of firepower that would be required to make a postseason run.
New York Yankees (): The Yankees made some of the biggest deadline moves with the additions of Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo. Their offense, already elite on paper, has more power than anyone’s, and if their pitching staff gets healthy and more consistent, they’ll be a dangerous potential playoff opponent.
Atlanta Braves (): Just a few games out of first place in the N.L. East, the Braves lost superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. to a torn ACL and now have to quest on with a patchwork lineup and a staff that owns a rough 4.25 ERA.
Philadelphia Phillies (): Injuries to key players for the Mets and Braves has opened things up for the Phillies to make a run in the N.L. East. The Phillies believe they can make a run, as they landed Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy at the deadline.
Cincinnati Reds (): A series sweep at the hands of the first-place Brewers indicates how far the Reds have to go to become true contenders in the National League.
Cleveland Indians (): The Indians are in a bit of a skid due to their lack of offensive firepower and continuous injuries to top arms Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale. They sold off pieces at the deadline and seem content to work toward the future.
Washington Nationals (): The Nationals tore it down to the studs, selling off tons of pieces from their World Series winning squad from a couple of years ago. They reloaded the farm to build their next contender around Juan Soto.
Pre-season MLB odds vs. current odds
A look at pre-season World Series odds from FanDuel versus current odds.
|Team||March 29 odds||Current odds|
|New York Yankees||+550||+1800|
|San Diego Padres||+800||+1100|
|Chicago White Sox||+850||+650|
|New York Mets||+1000||+1000|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+2200||+15000|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+2200||+2700|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+2500||+1400|
|Boston Red Sox||+4500||+1200|
|San Francisco Giants||+11000||+1000|
|Kansas City Royals||+11000||+50000|
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.
- 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 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?
After winning the 2020 World Series, the Dodgers are again the favorites to take it all in 2021. They were +400 at FanDuel Sportsbook to claim the trophy again right after the 2020 season ended and are now +390.
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.