The Kansas City Royals won the World Series for the first time since 1985 during the 2015 season. As a relatively new kid on the block, they made a stunning run as the American League wild card to go to the 2014 World Series. They lost in seven games, but they got revenge against the New York Mets last year. It was the first World Series without the San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, or New York Yankees since 2005 when the Chicago White Sox topped the Houston Astros in dominant fashion.

Is that a sign of things to come? Are we going to see some new teams make appearances in the Fall Classic? World Series odds are rather difficult for this season because there is so much parity in the American League and so much parity among the top teams in the National League. You can actually narrow down the National League representative to one of seven teams. In the American League, a case can be made for all 15 teams, with no fewer than 12 of them as legitimate World Series contenders.

It is interesting to point out that wild cards have not fared as well lately as we might think. A wild card team made the World Series in six straight seasons from 2002-07, but only three wild card teams have made it since and two of them, the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals, did it in the same season. The National League has won four of the last six World Series titles and they seem to be well-positioned to snag another one this year.

In terms of World Series odds, here are the prices from BetDSI Sportsbook (click the team name for Adam Burke’s MLB season win total analysis):

Chicago Cubs +575

Los Angeles Dodgers +945

San Francisco Giants +960

New York Mets +961

Washington Nationals +1224

Toronto Blue Jays +1256

Houston Astros +1300

Boston Red Sox +1380

St. Louis Cardinals +1622

Kansas City Royals +1631

Cleveland Indians +1750

Texas Rangers +1860

New York Yankees +2106

Pittsburgh Pirates +2225

Detroit Tigers +2412

Arizona Diamondbacks +2495

Los Angeles Angels +2770

Seattle Mariners +3422

Chicago White Sox +3843

Miami Marlins +4000

Baltimore Orioles +4946

Minnesota Twins +5000

Tampa Bay Rays +5280

Oakland Athletics +8418

San Diego Padres +12500

Atlanta Braves +13453

Cincinnati Reds +13500

Milwaukee Brewers +14280

Philadelphia Phillies +23000

 

Five teams to watch:

Houston Astros (+1300): The American League favorite per the AL pennant odds is the Houston Astros and they are the seventh favorite for World Series futures odds? That doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. The Astros are young, which is very important because you want a team that isn’t going to burn out by the end of the season. With reigning Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, and a developing power arm in Lance McCullers, the top three of this rotation is plenty good enough. An offense built around Carlos Correa, George Springer, Jose Altuve, and a good collection of power bats that draw walks, you could a lot worse than this price on Houston.

Tampa Bay Rays (+5280): The long shot of the bunch is Tampa Bay, who will have to earn it to come out of the AL East, but they can be a very intriguing team if they get to the postseason. Chris Archer has dynamic stuff and Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, and Erasmo Ramirez should all continue to develop their secondary offerings this season. With a lineup full of platoon advantages, the Rays are not a sexy lineup by any means, but platoons can carry immense value in the postseason because no pitcher is that bad of a matchup. The Rays are a long shot for a reason, but a little beer money on them won’t hurt.

Chicago White Sox (+3843): Going way off the radar here for another long shot, the Chicago White Sox carry a bit of value. They’d be a decent value pick for either the AL pennant or the AL Central because they have the potential to have a really great top three with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Carlos Rodon. Mat Latos isn’t a bad #4 starter either, especially with Don Cooper overhauling his poor mechanics. The White Sox can’t hit very much, so they aren’t really on anybody’s radar. The AL Central would seem to be the most wide open of the three divisions, so there’s some modest value here.

Pittsburgh Pirates (+2225): The Pirates are worth a token mention here because this is a team with three straight playoff appearances and a lot of wins in that span. They are an afterthought following teams like Chicago, St. Louis, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, but they have a lot of potential upside, including a pitching prospect like Tyler Glasnow that isn’t that far away from The Show. They’re another beer money type of play and these odds aren’t as good as other teams with similar possibilities, but they have been really successful in recent seasons and didn’t lose anything of great consequence outside of AJ Burnett.

Chicago Cubs (+575): Look, the value isn’t really there anymore, since the Cubs were active in free agency and scooped up Jason Heyward and John Lackey. And you’re also dealing with the longest World Series drought in Major League Baseball. But, I challenge you to find a more complete team. The Cubs have four bona fide starters in Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Kyle Hendricks and it’s hard to see Jason Hammel not carrying his weight as a fifth starter. They have great young position players that hit AND play defense, which is a rarity. The chalk is almost never a great option from a futures standpoint, but this is the best team in baseball by just about every metric.