Note: This article was originally published on October 24, 2014.
Before the 2014 World Series had even finished, a few offshore sportsbooks were already looking forward to the 2015 MLB season. In fact, late in October (10/24) the popular square oddsmaker, Sportsbook.com, posted 2015 MLB Futures for all thirty teams. Roughly a week later they were joined by Bovada — another very public sportsbook.
When these odds were initially posted, there were still a number of prominent free agents that remained unsigned. This impressive list included: Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, James Shields, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and recent Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas. With all of those players now signed and a number of blockbuster deals completed, we’ve seen a number of massive changes to these future odds.
The table below displays the compares 2015 MLB Futures at Bovada and Sportsbook.com along with their 2014 win-loss record.
|Team||Bovada (2/17)||Bovada (11/20)||Bovada (10/30)||Sportsbook (10/24)||2014 Record|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+850||+750||+750||+700||94-68|
|Boston Red Sox||+1000||+1200||+2200||+2500||71-91|
|Los Angeles Angels||+1200||+1100||+1000||+1100||98-64|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+1200||+1400||+1200||+1500||90-72|
|San Diego Padres||+1400||+7500||+6600||+5500||77-85|
|Chicago White Sox||+1600||+5000||+4000||+4500||73-89|
|San Francisco Giants||+1800||+1200||+1200||+1500||88-74|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+2500||+2500||+3300||+3500||83-79|
|Kansas City Royals||+2800||+2000||+1800||+1400||89-73|
|New York Mets||+2800||+2500||+4000||+4000||79-83|
|New York Yankees||+3300||+2000||+2200||+2400||84-78|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+6600||+5000||+3300||+5000||77-85|
When we first posted this article, we highlighted the Boston Red Sox (+2500 at Sportsbook.com) as a potentially undervalued team. Although this past season was tough to watch, there was still plenty of talent on the roster including stars like Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Yoenis Cespedes and potentially Rusney Castillo. This team was already stacked offensively, but their pitching staff was riddled with question marks.
With a massive budget and a commitment to spending from ownership, we fully expected see the Sox to make another splash in free agency. Although they did not sign Jon Lester as we predicted, they were able to sign both 3B Pablo Sandoval and SS Hanley Ramirez (who is expected to play LF next season).
The Sox were unable to add an ace to their pitching staff but by acquiring Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson they were able to find serviceable players to fill their most obvious deficiency. With a deep minor league system and a number of top-tier prospects, don’t be surprised to see a trade deadline deal for Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee or another top flight pitcher.
One fascinating discrepancy we discussed back in November concerned the Seattle Mariners. Seattle was listed at just +5000 by Sportsbook.com but +1800 by Bovada. In layman terms, Sportsbook gave the Mariners a 1.9% implied probability of winning the World Series while Bovada puts that number at 5.26%. While this highlighted the importance of always shopping for the best line, both books have now adjusted their odds.
After signing OF Nelson Cruz in free agency, Seattle’s futures jumped to +1400 at Sportsbook.com and +1600 at Bovada. Although the Mariners now have the 8th shortest odds of winning the World Series, it’s possible oddsmakers haven’t gone far enough. Based on early win totals and FanGraphs projections, Seattle could be the 3rd or 4th best team in baseball.
Looking for teams to avoid? How about the Kansas City Royals? This is a team that was already due for a regression after overachieving in 2014 and will be without their ace after seeing James Shields sign with the Padres in free agency.
Speaking of the Padres, there might not be a more overrated team in all of baseball. After adding three talented outfielders (Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers) bettors pounded San Diego which sent their futures from +7500 to +1400 — the 7th shortest odds in at Bovada. However, early research indicates that sharp sportsbooks and respected analysts project San Diego will barely crack a .500 record. The fact that they have better odds to win the World Series than Detroit and Seattle is laughable.
Which teams do you think are being undervalued? Are you planning to place any future bets now, or will you wait until after free agency? Please leave any thoughts, comments or questions in the section below.