Major League Baseball World Series odds are far from scientific and the 2020 season is one that will certainly throw curveballs.
On Opening Day for the 2019 MLB season, the sportsbooks had the Red Sox, Astros, and Yankees as the frontrunners to win the World Series. Way down on their list were the Washington Nationals, who went on to beat the Astros and win the whole thing.
That’s a stark example of just how shaky betting on the World Series can be the further we are from October. And the uncertainty is only compounded by the change in format, with just 60 regular-season games played in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But that also means anything can happen, which makes betting on the World Series early a potentially exciting prospect for MLB fans.
Current World Series Odds
Odds To Win The World Series – Whose Odds Are Increasing?
The far and wide favorites to win the World Series are the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees.
On July 22, 2020, the Dodgers officially locked down Mookie Betts from the Red Sox on a 10-year contract, and he’s the favorite to win the NL MVP according to experts at USA Today.
LA also signed Gavin Lux, who’s expected to win the NL Rookie of the Year. They also have likely Cy Young recipient Walker Buehler on their roster.
Basically, this incredibly strong team would have been a big contender even without Betts and Lux. With those two, they’re the relatively easy favorite.
New York Yankees
The Yankees are the close second favorite after the Dodgers, but some experts and bookmakers are even giving New York the edge.
They have two-time All-Star Gleyber Torres as an infielder as well as outfielder Aaron Judge, who’s been a fan favorite ever since his first MLB at bat resulted in a home run in 2016.
But it’s the AL Cy Young hopeful Gerrit Cole who’s expected to lead the team to the Championship, with ESPN ranking him number two in their list of the top 100 players of 2020. (Number one is Mike Trout of the Angels.)
Odds To Win The World Series – Who’s In Trouble?
Fans of the Nationals and the Red Sox had hopes of an offseason full of good news. Washington didn’t receive it, and Red Sox fans got what amounts to an offseason slap in the face.
Just like in March 2019, bookmakers and experts consider the reigning champs a long-shot. In fact, the DraftKings Sportsbook had the Nationals tied for 11th at the time of writing this article.
Boston Red Sox
Most Red Sox fans are dismayed by the loss of Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, and receiving Alex Verdugo in exchange did little to quell their disappointment. He’s certainly a solid outfielder, but fans were expecting to get both Verdugo and pitcher Brusdar Graterol. The latter, unfortunately for Boston fans, took his 100 mph arm to the Dodgers.
What’s Different In The 2020 MLB Season?
The 2020 MLB season features four significant rule changes: fewer games played, the NL will have designated hitters, the trade window is extended by a month, and each team will start with a runner on second during extra innings.
The 2020 MLB Season will feature 60 games instead of the usual 162. That’s around a third of the usual number, putting a fairly large asterisk next to whoever wins the World Series this year.
Designated Hitters In Both Leagues
Many NL fans aren’t complaining about the introduction of the designated hitter, which is normally reserved for the AL and All-Star Game. Instead of watching a pitcher strike out, fans can watch power hitters take to the plate.
Trade Window Extension
The trade window was extended from July 31 to August 31, which is a particularly big deal if you’re betting on the sport. For example, the Marlins signed Logan Forsythe as recently as July 29, 2020.
Runner On Second For Extra Innings
Each at bat begins with a runner on second if the game reaches the 10th inning. This speeds up the game of an already shortened season, which probably makes this the most fast-paced era in baseball history.
Where Can I Bet On The World Series Online?
In the US, there are currently 17 states (plus DC) where sports betting is legal in some form. However, of those states, only these ten states explicitly allow legal online sportsbooks:
Washington DC also allows mobile sports betting through the DC lottery, and you can bet in-person at licensed venues.
States with legal in-person betting but not mobile betting include:
Dozens of other states have considered legislation related to legalizing physical and online sports betting in 2020 alone. Much of this legislative moment came as a result of the overturn of PASPA, the law that prohibited online sports betting.
In fact, around ten states will likely legalize sports betting in some form by the end of 2021, including California, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and possibly even Texas, which are some of the most populated areas of the country.
Will All Legal US Sportsbooks Take Bets On The World Series?
Yes. While some states bar residents from betting on in-state college games, you can bet on the pros. And because the World Series is one of the biggest sporting events in America, it’s a safe bet that it will be well represented at every legal online sports betting site and app.
It’s also likely that the standard sports betting odds on the World Series will be comparable across the options. That means if you make a straight bet on one of the teams, it doesn’t matter much where you place your bet as long as it’s a legal site.
However, the odds start to get more variable with exotic bets and promotions. This is true with the MLB (and all sports) in general, but it’s in overdrive when it’s the World Series. From unique prop bets to odds boosters to deposit bonuses, each online sportsbook will have something interesting on offer.
How To Place Online World Series Bets
If you’re in a state where online sports betting is legal, placing a bet is relatively simple. Choosing the best bet is where things get a bit more tricky. But analytics aside here’s a step-by-step guide on online World Series betting:
Choose A Sportsbook And Create An Account
You’ll have a set number of options to choose from. States like New Jersey and Nevada have over 20 online sportsbooks while other states have just a few. Here are some factors to consider:
- How good are the promotions?
- How fair are the bonus terms & conditions?
- Do they offer the best odds?
- Can you play via mobile?
Once you’ve selected an online sportsbook, you’ll create an account. Follow the steps that include providing your personal information, and you’ll need to allow the sportsbook to know your location. For all states, you need to be physically located in the state to bet.
You may find a signup or registration bonus that gives you free money without the need to deposit. You may also take advantage of a deposit bonus where the casino matches your deposit by a certain percentage.
Just be sure to read all bonus terms and conditions before you opt-in. You can always opt-out of the bonus offers and simply deposit.
Deposit And Cashout
Common deposit methods include credit and debit cards as well as e-wallets like PayPal. You can likely cash out using PayPal, direct deposit, or in-person at a partnering casino cage.
Where Can I Bet On The World Series In Vegas?
Las Vegas is such a sports betting hub that its sportsbooks play a massive role in setting the odds for all others to follow.
You can bet on the World Series in Vegas at every one of the sportsbooks on the Strip. Westgate, Caesars, Wynn, Mirage, Venetian, you name it, they’ll take a wide variety of bets on the World Series.
You also don’t need to be a Nevada resident to play online in the state. You just need to be physically located within state lines. So you could stay in a Vegas hotel and bet on the World Series without ever leaving your room.
How World Series Bettings Odds Are Calculated
When you bet on the World Series in the US, you’ll likely be dealing with American Odds, also known as fractional odds.
Simple Overview Of American Odds
Basically, the plus (+) number is how much you’ll win if you bet $100. The minus (-) number is how much you need to bet to win $100.
The more likely the bet is to be successful, the higher the minus number (and the lower the payout). The more unlikely a bet, the larger the plus number (and the higher the payout).
For example, let’s say the Yankees play the Dodgers in the 2020 World Series. For game one, the straight bet moneyline might be:
New York Yankees +150
Los Angeles Dodgers -125
If you bet $100 on the Yankees and they win the game, you’d win $150 and receive $250 ($100 of your wager plus the winnings).
If you bet $100 on the Los Angeles Dodgers, you’d win $80 and receive $180 (your wager plus winnings). But if you were to bet $125 on the Dodgers and they won, you’d win $125 and receive $225.
To manually calculate win potential for minus odds, you divide 100 by the number, then multiply the decimal by your bet. For the Dodgers line above, that would be 100/125 = 0.80, then 0.80 x $100 = $80.
For the plus odds, you’d divide the odds by 100. In the Yankees example, that would be 150/100 = 1.50, then 1.50 x $100 = $150.
You could also just use an online calculator. And most online sportsbooks will let you click the bet and type in any amount to see what the payout would be.
See our comprehensive guide to Sports Betting Odds for more information.
Off-Season Betting Odds For The World Series Breakdown
The biggest off-season development was the shortened season and extended trade deadline due to COVID-19. But each of the top five favorites to win it all had some unique developments of their own. Here’s a breakdown of each one:
1. LA Dodgers
Red Sox fans were likely gobsmacked when they lost Mookie Betts to the Dodgers in a February 2020 trade that solidified the LA team’s spot as the out-and-out front runner. Betts finalized his contract in July.
Rookie Gavin Lux and pitcher Walker Buehler are two more additions to the roster that make this team ridiculously formidable. Other batting behemoths include Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner.
Unless there are health concerns, this team will be a safe bet on all 60 regular-season games and into the playoffs.
2. NY Yankees
Before the Dodgers picked up Mookie Betts, the Yankees were the favorite to win the World Series. And they still are at a decent portion of the sportsbooks. In Vegas, betting on the Dodgers or the Yankees hold similar win potential.
The Yankees offense is remarkable, with DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Giancarlo Stanton leading the lineup whether it’s a RHP or LHP.
Meanwhile, they have arguably the best pitcher in the league: Gerrit Cole.
If it’s the Yankees and Dodgers in the World Series, they’ll likely have the NL and AL Cy Young recipients facing off against each other.
3. Houston Astros
The Astros lost to the Dodgers early in the season in what was dubbed a rematch of the 2017 World Series. But despite that, they’ve remained a top-tier competitor.
In November 2019, they signed catcher Dustin Garneau…and that was pretty much it for noteworthy trades.
Fans were more concerned with pitcher Justin Verlander’s groin injury than anything else…only for him to get injured again with a forearm strain. He doesn’t appear to be out for the season, but that’s not a promising sign.
4. Atlanta Braves
The Braves picked up several people during the offseason and in the trade windows.
They got Marcell Ozuna, who may prove himself as a reliable batter. They also got pitcher Cole Hamels, who was solid even after coming off an injury. If he’s even more fresh, he could be a huge force on the mound.
The list goes on: Atlanta signed two veteran catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers as well as pitchers Chris Martin and Will Smith.
And all eyes are still on Ronald Acuña Jr., the team’s superstar and most reliable presence. We know he’s capable of leading the team to the World Series. Only time will tell.
5. Minnesota Twins
If you’re a fan of the Twins, you should check out this piece by Sports Illustrated about pitcher Josh Donaldson. And you should be excited about his presence on the team.
But beyond his solid pitching, Minnesota added starting pitcher Kenta Maeda to the decent bullpen.
The Twins’ defense isn’t the greatest, but their offense is famously incredible, setting the all-time home run record in the 2019 season. And that domination will only be helped by the signing of third baseman and power hitter Josh Donaldson.
Will their massive offensive advantage compensate for their lackluster defense? To win the World Series, it needs to.
MLB World Series Odds and Betting
Because baseball is such a popular sport in the US and worldwide, most MLB games have a good number of choices for betting. But the World Series brings the largest number of options, more than any other time of year.
MLB Moneyline Bets
The moneyline bet is also called a straight bet, and it’s the simplest bet you can make. Before the game begins, you bet on which team will win, and the number of runs don’t matter.
Run Line (Points Spread) Bets
In a run line, the number of runs do matter. You can either pick the underdog to win by any amount or lose within a specified number of runs, or you pick the favorite to win by a specified number of runs.
Rather than bet the moneyline on a single game, you can bet it on the series. This is a particularly hot bet when it’s the playoffs, and the World Series it the most popular Series Bet at the sportsbook.
MLB Totals (Over/Under Bets)
Rather than betting on a team or player, you can simply bet on the total number of runs scored by both teams combined. The sportsbook will set an amount, and you can bet that it will be over or under the bookmaker’s guess.
MLB Parlay Betting
A parlay is where you make multiple bets and receive a payout only if all bets are correct. Bettors choose to parlay to increase the overall win potential.
What Is An MLB Futures Bet?
An MLB futures bet is placing a wager on a future event. Most commonly, this is who will win the NL and AL pennants as well as the World Series.
A futures bet can only be placed in advance. The more teams that are eliminated, the fewer the potential winners, and the fewer futures bets the sportsbook will take.
Bettors who have a good feeling about a specific team to win it all are best suited to place their futures bet early. If the leadup to the playoffs has that team doing better and better, the odds will shift in the team’s favor, and the potential payout diminishes. The opposite is true for an early favorite. And therein lies the strategy for futures betting.
What Is A World Series Prop Bet?
A prop bet is a wager on an in-game outcome or a futures bet on a specific player.
For the World Series, this will include things like Over/Under bets on the first five innings, who will get a hit, and so on. Prop bets can vary dramatically between betting sites.
Last year at the FanDuel Sportsbook, the World Series MVP odds prior to game one had the eventual winner eighth on the list of 12. Someone who bet just $10 on those 1400+ odds won $140.
MLB Prop Bets
MLB games in general will usually feature prop bets. You can bet on whether a batter will get a certain number of hits, a pitcher’s strikeouts, and who will hit a home run.
You can also place player prop bets on a future outcome. Examples include the Cy Young winner and Rookie of the Year.
At the end of the day, prop betting is only limited by what the sportsbook is willing to take bets on. You can also request that a sportsbook will create a line for you if you want to place on an unlisted prop bet.
Betting Odds For The World Series FAQ
Yes, depending on where you’re located. Sports betting is legal in about two dozen states, although at different levels of acceptance. States like Colorado, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are some of the easiest states to bet on the World Series. States like Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana are in the process of legalizing and launching online sports betting. A handful of states, including New York and Tennessee, permit in-person sports betting at retail sportsbooks.
21. In most states, you need to be at least 21 years old to bet on the World Series. This applies to online and physical sportsbooks.
The only exception is Rhode Island, where the gambling age is 18 and up. However, the sportsbooks themselves will likely only accept bettors 21 and up.
In most states, you can play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) if you’re 18 and up. All major DFS sites will have World Series events where you can win real money.
If you’re in a state where online sports betting is legal, you should have a few high-quality options for placing bets. The sites and apps with the best odds, promotions, and customer service include:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- FOX Bet
The list goes on. The great thing about betting at a legal site is that you know you’re joining a legitimate sportsbook that will pay out promptly and feature fair terms and conditions. The same can’t be said for illegal sites.
Yes, if you bet at a legitimate and trusted online sportsbook site or app. However, if you live outside of a state where online sports betting is legal, placing a bet online can be unsafe.
Offshore sites that accept all US players no matter what state are breaking the law and people who bet at them technically are as well. While you likely won’t be prosecuted for placing a bet, you have no recourse if the site refuses to pay or hits you with unfair terms and conditions.
Yes. At legal online sportsbooks in the US, in-game betting (also known as live betting) is legal. That means you can place bets after the game begins, and place bets over the course of the game.
If you’re not able to bet at an online sportsbook, you’ll have to visit the physical sportsbook to place in-game bets. Otherwise, your only option is placing pre-game bets.
Los Angeles Dodgers. At most sportsbooks, the Dodgers are the frontrunner to win the World Series.
However, the New York Yankees had comparable odds at the start of the season, and the two overtook each other frequently for the futures favorite at the start of the season.
Yes. The 2020 World Series will start on October 23. It will take place after a 60-game regular season and an expanded 16-team playoffs.
Other changes include National League designated hitters and a trade deadline extended to August 31. During extra innings, the batting team starts with a player on second as well.