Tuesday is May 1, which means it’s a perfect time to check the updated standings around Major League Baseball and the World Series odds. If you are leading your division on May 1, you have a better than average chance of making the playoffs. Since MLB instituted the first wild card in 1996, around 55 percent of eventual division winners led on May 1.
In addition, 15 of the 22 World Series champions led their division on May 1. The reigning champion Houston Astros were leading the AL West by 3.5 games last May 1. They are atop the AL West again and continue to lead the odds to win the 2018 World Series at +500.
The other division winners last year on that date were the Baltimore Orioles (AL East), Cleveland Indians (AL Central), Washington Nationals (NL East), Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers (NL Central), and Colorado Rockies (NL West).
The Indians, Nationals and Cubs all won their divisions last year. Baltimore and Milwaukee missed the playoffs entirely. The Boston Red Sox won the AL East. Colorado was a wild-card team, with the Los Angeles Dodgers taking the NL West for a fifth straight season.
The Red Sox, who are currently leading the AL East, are +700 second favorites on the World Series odds. One trend is working against Boston, however. The Sox were no-hit by Oakland A’s left-hander Sean Manaea on April 21. No eventual World Series winner has been no-hit since the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cincinnati Reds’ Tom Browning threw a perfect game against Los Angeles on September 16, 1988. Those Dodgers remain the only team to ever win a World Series when the victims of a perfect game. The 2018 Dodgers are struggling some and have seen their 2018 World Series odds slip to +900.
At +1000 are the New York Mets, who are batting the Atlanta Braves (+8000) and Philadelphia Phillies (+3300) for the NL East lead – a division nearly everyone expected Washington (+1200) to win again.
The Mets appear to have the starting pitching to win it all, even after demoting former ace Matt Harvey to the bullpen. The Phillies are one of the early surprise stories in baseball, buoyed by their free-agent signing of former NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, a wild-card team last year, are the NL West leaders and have seen their World Series odds improve to +1200. Arizona has made one trip to the Fall Classic in franchise history, upsetting the New York Yankees in a seven-game epic in 2001. The 2018 Yankees, red hot at the moment, are +950 to win it all.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.
Source: Heavy Sports