It's the dog days of summer, and the 2023 MLB season is in full swing. With the season just past its midway point following the All-Star Game on July 11, there are plenty of predictions as to who could be hoisting the World Series trophy in October. Here are a few of the teams experts are picking to win it all during the Fall Classic:
The Bravos keep climbing. While the 64-34 Braves were always seen as contenders, they have escaped from the rest of the pack and are sitting on top with +350 odds on MGM and +360 odds on FanDuel. At the beginning of the season, MGM had placed their odds at +800, so they have clearly defied expectations.
Beyond their own team, the Braves "have the advantage of playing in the National League, which currently has less competition at the top," and are part of the less-competitive NL East, Jennifer Piacenti wrote for Sports Illustrated. They currently have the best record in baseball, and "are just one season removed from being World Series champions, and have the experience and talent to do it again."
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Tampa Bay Rays
Undoubtedly one of the bigger surprises of the season, the 61-42 Rays began the year with average odds to go all the way, sitting at +2200 on MGM. However, they now have +550 odds on MGM and +420 odds on DraftKings to win the World Series.
Part of the optimism is because the Rays "exceeded even the most optimistic expectations," from the start, Tyler Maher and Brendan Pempus wrote for Forbes. However, the Rays have also been consistently good the last few years, with a record that includes "two division titles, one second-place finish, and one World Series appearance," Matt Jacob reported for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite this, oddsmakers "didn't exactly hang a 'buy' sign on this year's club" at the beginning of the season," Jacob added.
The 57-44 Astros were the odds-on favorite to win the World Series at the beginning of the year, with MGM and FanDuel both placing them at +600, easily the highest ranking of any ballclub heading into the season. The Astros are looking to secure back-to-back championships, and currently have +800 and +1000 odds at MGM and FanDuel, respectively.
However, despite the fact that the Astros "were clearly the best team in baseball [in 2022] and return mostly intact," writes Tyler Maher for Forbes,repeating is extremely difficult, and "no team has won consecutive World Series in the 21st Century, so you're better off betting on a different team to win the championship."
The 62-38 O's have had a fantastic regular season so far, and currently have baseball's second-best record. Despite this, their World Series odds are still relatively low, sitting at +2000 on MGM and +3000 on FanDuel (though this is a large bump from the start of the season, when their MGM odds were +3500.)
These lowered odds may be because the Orioles have little postseason experience, last making the playoffs in 2016. The club's "long-stated goal of a sustainable, perennial contender didn't necessarily account for a 2023 team that blasted beyond anyone's expectations, but it has," Jon Meoli wrote for The Baltimore Banner. As a result, the Orioles must try and "strike the balance of how to weigh that against the long-term goal."
Los Angeles Dodgers
The 57-42 Dodgers, like the Astros, have enjoyed success in recent years, and are trying to keep that pattern going. Los Angeles has odds of +480 on FanDuel and +550 on MGM, which are both currently the third-best odds in both sportsbooks to win it all.
MLB.com writer Will Leitch picked the Dodgers to win this year because they are "still arguably the class of the National League, and...the whole point of having a great team every year is that one of these days, you're going to get hot in the playoffs and win the whole thing." With a roster headlined by sluggers Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, and Noah Syndergaard and Clayton Kershaw leading a stacked pitching rotation, the Dodgers have had a hot season so far, and are looking to keep up the success.
Update July 31, 2023: This article has been updated with mid-season predictions.
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