Washington Nationals Open Spring Training as World Series Betting Favorites

When the 2014 season started a year ago, the Kansas City Royals’ playoff chances looked nearly impossible. At 100/1 longshots, handicappers were saying that you’d have to simulate a season at least one hundred times for the Royals to have an even shot. Tabletop-sports gamers might have been even less bullish on the Royals chances. If you’d plugged in PECOTA projections and made a bunch of APBA cards prior to 2014, for instance, do you think the Royals would have seen the World Series in even 100 simulations?

But real life isn’t a simulation – it’s real life. And a preseason bet on the 2014 Royals would have paid off greatly. Who will be the sim-busting Cinderella team this year? Or will the favorites meet expectations?

Matt Williams, manager of the Washington Nationals

Matt Williams, manager of the Washington Nationals

After capping a strong 96-win regular season with a disappointing playoff run, in which they were ousted from the National League Division Series by the underdog San Francisco Giants, the Washington Nationals open their 2015 campaign as strong 13/2 favorites to claim their first ever World Series title in MLB betting at the online sportsbooks.

The Nats also open as heavy favorites to claim their third NL East pennant in the last four years. With the NL East once again expected to be the weakest division in baseball in 2015, the Nationals are perched well ahead of their divisional rivals with odds of 1/3 in MLB futures betting at sportsbooks available through bettingsports.com.

Washington is closely trailed in World Series 2015 betting by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who kicked off their Cactus League schedule with 17/2 odds. The Dodgers are also heavy 1/2 favorites to successfully three-peat in what is expected to be a highly competitive NL West division.

The Boston Red Sox lead all American League clubs on the World Series betting odds menu, pegged at 10/1 to once again go from worst to first. The Sox accomplished the feat in 2013, defying oddsmakers to finish atop the AL East after finishing in the division basement in 2012, before moving on to their third World series championship in 10 years.

The Sox were a major disappointment in 2014 however, winning just 71 games to finish 25 games back of the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles. But, following a busy off-season, during which the club added free agents 3B Pablo Sandoval and SS Hanley Ramirez, and dealt for P Rick Porcello, who tallied 15 wins for the Detroit Tigers in 2014, the betting line on the Red Sox total regular season wins is set at 86.5 in MLB team props betting at sportsbooks available through bettingsports.com.

The perennial contending St. Louis Cardinals round out the top tier of World Series betting favorites at the online sportsbooks, with 12/1 odds.

The Cards will be aiming for their fifth straight MLB Postseason berth in 2015, but have fallen short of a World Series title in each of the last three seasons.

The youthful Chicago Cubs return to the World Series betting mix, with odds of 14/1 to end the curse and claim their first championship since 1908.

Can Kansas City's Ned Yost guide the Cinderella Royals back to the big dance?

Can Kansas City’s Ned Yost guide the Cinderella Royals back to the big dance?

The Cubbies have nowhere to go but up after five straight last place finishes in the NL Central, averaging less than 69 wins per season during the club’s most dismal stretch in well over a half-century.

The Cubs are joined at 14/1 in World Series betting by the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels led the majors in 2014 with 98 regular-season wins, and were pegged as World Series favorites for much of the year before being embarrassed by the Cinderella Kansas City Royals in a three-game ALDS sweep.

Seattle surprised many observers by being one of baseball’s best performing road clubs last year, claiming 46 wins away from the friendly confines of Safeco Field, finishing their campaign with a respectable 87 wins.

The defending World Series champion Giants follow, deadlocked with the Tigers, Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres at 16/1. The Cleveland Indians are next up at 20/1, with the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland A’s both sporting 25/1 odds.

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