Early World Series Chalk
February 25, 2013
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The odds the win the 2013 World Series have been out for some time now but with Spring Training underway and the regular season starting in about a month, it's crunch time for bettors looking to get the best future odds. With three of the top six favorites being based in California (LAD, LAA, SF), oddsmakers wouldn't be surprised to see the championship trophy stay on the left coast. That is why they play out the season though, so here are my thoughts on a couple of teams getting plenty of action at the moment.
Toronto Blue Jays (+1700)
The Jays are listed as the 7th favorites at this price and with all the big names they brought in this winter it's no wonder why. Jays fans are beaming with excitement about the 2013 season as Toronto could make the post-season for the first time since winning it all back in 1993. Their season win total (88.5) has been bet up since coming out a few wins lower but Toronto hasn't won more than 88 games since that fateful '93 season. They are still in the ultra-competitive AL East and although it would appear to be a down year for the Yankees and Red Sox, they are still New York and Boston and will be tough to beat at any venue.
Toronto was decimated by injuries last year and have a healthy Jose Bautista (among others) ready to play but we've seen in the past that huge roster changes in the off-season don't always live up to expectations the first go-around. In the NFL there was the case of the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles who dubbed themselves as the "Dream Team," only to miss the playoffs that year and the NBA's Miami Heat added LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2010 and fell short in the finals.
There are examples in baseball as well and we don't have to look any further than last year's L.A. Angels. The Angels were tagged as a "no doubt" postseason participant after the addition of Albert Pujols and others (Grienke, C.J Wilson) but even with MVP-calibre play from sensational rookie Mike Trout, L.A still didn't make it to the playoffs. Baseball might be the most "individual" team sport out there but players still need time to gel and become accustomed to one another and that is something Jays fans have to be concerned about this year.
I think Toronto will succumb to some similar "gelling" issues this year and while I do believe they will see October baseball, the lack of playoff experience on this roster is huge vacancy that will magnify itself come that time. We've seen in recent years that playoff experience is such a valuable asset in postseason play and the lack of it will come back to bite the Jays in 2013.
L.A. Angels (+1000)
The Angels are one of four teams listed at +1000 and tied with only the Detroit Tigers among AL teams at that price. The Angels went through their growing pains last year and a trying year like that will motivate them that extra bit to get the job done in 2013. They added the biggest free agent on the market for the 2nd year in a row (Josh Hamilton) and the rest of the roster has had a full year to understand how to play with one another. L.A. will also have a full year of Mike Trout and while it is impossible to ask, or expect him to put up identical numbers from last year, Trout is still one of the best players in the game this year and will be great. They have a decided edge in the AL West now that Hamilton is on their side and with the lowly Houston Astros coming to town, L.A will be able to rack up the wins and run away with the division.
It's tough to see too many scenarios that don't involve L.A. in at least the ALCS and since they have the right mix of youth and veterans, playoff baseball will be welcomed by this team. They have arguably three of the top five hitters in all of baseball and after a down year their pitching staff will be much better this season. The Angels will fear no team this year and with Pujols' past success lighting up NL pitchers, he won't hesitate to share his wealth of knowledge on them with his teammates come World Series time.
L.A. is loaded with playoff-tested stars (C.J. Wilson, Hamilton, Pujols) and at +1000 are more than worth the price to win it all.
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