Yup. It’s the time of the year when heads start spinning while inundated with so many sports to follow. But October is usually reserved for one sport because its playoff season is starting to heat up.
For all of the happenings in the other professional sports leagues in America, October will always be about the World Series. So it’s only appropriate that space is reserved to dissect which among the eight teams left has the realest shot at going all the way.
This year, a familiar lineup of teams are still in the running. Mix that with some Cinderella squads, longshots, and a team making its first playoff appearance in more than 20 years and you have the makings of what should be an eventful baseball postseason.
Parity in baseball always rears its head whenever the playoffs start and this year, it’s no different. There’s no clear-cut favorite to the title, only a number of teams bunched up together in the same old war of attrition edict that seems to prevail as the narrative every season.
As it stands, the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites to win the World Series with both teams receiving 4/1 odds from numerous bookmakers. Both teams come with loaded lineups that are back-stopped by two of the most dominant pitching rotations in the league. Don’t be surprised if these two teams are the last ones standing because when it comes to the playoffs, pitching takes center stage and no other team can boast of the rotations these two teams have at their disposal. And we’re not even going into the power-laden lineups the Sox and the Dodgers have to provide the necessary run support for their pitchers.
Speaking of a loaded lineup that also has quality pitching, the Detroit Tigers comfortably sit as the third favorites to win the World Series at 5/1 odds. Joining the Tigers in that bracket are the St. Louis Cardinals, who despite not having the kind of star-laden talent as the Sox, Dodgers, and Tigers, are still considered threats to wax hot at the right time and potentially go all the way. Hardly surprising that with 6/1 odds, the Birds are being treated as the threats that they are.
Meanwhile, three teams have been penciled in at similar 8/1 odds by numerous sportsbooks, a clear sign that there’s not much of a difference among the Atlanta Braves, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Oakland Athletics. All three teams have their respective strengths, but they also have certain weaknesses that can be exploited by the right team.
And then, there’s this year’s darling of the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite being the long shots at 12/1, the Buccos should still be considered threats to give all the other teams on this list a serious run for their money. It’s got a solid rotation and the lineup has some pop to it, lack of power notwithstanding.
Ultimately, picking the World Series champions this year is going to be a difficult task. It’s rare to see all eight teams’ respective lines bunched up together as closely as it is this year.
When you have this much parity, sometimes it boils down to who survives through October, proving that the phrase “war of attrition” has some weight to it this year.