Early 2015 MLB Futures

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
Washington Nationals +650 +900 +750 +700 96-66
Los Angeles Dodgers +850 +750 +750 +700 94-68
Boston Red Sox +1000 +1200 +2200 +2500 71-91
Chicago Cubs +1000 +1600 +2500 +4000 73-89
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
Detroit Tigers +1600 +1100 +1000 +1100 90-72
Seattle Mariners +1600 +1800 +1800 +5000 87-75
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
Oakland Athletics +2500 +2000 +2000 +2400 88-74
Kansas City Royals +2800 +2000 +1800 +1400 89-73
Baltimore Orioles +2800 +1600 +2200 +2000 96-66
Cleveland Indians +2800 +3300 +2500 +2400 85-77
New York Mets +2800 +2500 +4000 +4000 79-83
New York Yankees +3300 +2000 +2200 +2400 84-78
Pittsburgh Pirates +3300 +2500 +2000 +2400 88-74
Miami Marlins +3300 +5000 +5000 +5500 77-85
Texas Rangers +5000 +2500 +3300 +3500 67-95
Houston Astros +5000 +10000 +10000 +20000 70-92
Tampa Bay Rays +6600 +5000 +3300 +5000 77-85
Cincinnati Reds +6600 +4000 +3300 +3500 76-86
Atlanta Braves +6600 +2800 +2200 +2400 79-83
Milwaukee Brewers +6600 +5000 +4000 +4500 82-80
Arizona D-Backs +10000 +7500 +10000 +15000 64-98
Minnesota Twins +10000 +10000 +10000 +20000 70-92
Colorado Rockies +15000 +10000 +10000 +12500 66-96
Philadelphia Phillies +15000 +10000 +7500 +15000 73-89

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.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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One comment on “Early 2015 MLB Futures
  1. I have put together a John Morrison (long-term revenge) type system for MLB betting with proven, modest results going back to 2008. I cannot seem to find a link to contact someone here directly, so I am using this comment on the most recent MLB blog post to do so. +37 Units last year and unbeaten for all 37 series chases. +156 units since 2008 with no less than +24% ROI (+6 Units) of starting bankroll in any single year when using the full system strictly. Bankroll was +100% (double initial bankroll) or more in four of those seven years. Full system includes unit value determination based on initial bankroll and proceeds from there. Someone from Sports Insights please contact me if interested in speaking about results/picks. Thanks!

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