There are those teams who are shaking up the World Series odds by having tremendous seasons when little was expected of them, and then there are those who a lot was expected of them, and they have delivered little. We’re going to look at three teams in the latter category who, despite seeing their odds lengthen throughout the season, do still have a shot at winning the World Series and may still be bet-worthy.
The Northwest’s team came into 2017 with high hopes after going 86-76 a year ago and coming within 3 games of a playoff spot. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager were expected to help lead Seattle’s offense while pitchers Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton were looked at to keep games close so that the offense could do their work.
However, the Mariners have struggled all season, posting a 51-51 mark through their first 102 contests and sitting 17 games back in the AL West albeit just 2-1/2 games behind the second wild card. And that’s where the hope comes in since this team does have the potential to go on a long postseason run if only they could get there, something they haven’t done since 2001.
Just behind the Mariners are the Rangers, who, at 49-51 through 100 games, are 1 game back of Seattle so within 3-1/2 games of a playoff spot. However, much more had been expected of them heading into the campaign considering that they have won the last two AL West crowns. At least the bettors thought so as they were 20-1 to win the World Series at that point, odds that have plummeted to 75-1.
However, hope is there for a turnaround as they have responded to a disappointing 11-14 April by going at least .500 in both May and June (15-14 and 13-13, respectively) before starting July with a 10-10 mark. As with Seattle, just getting into the playoffs is half the battle, and they have plenty of postseason experience albeit not good experience after losing in the Division Series the past two seasons.
St. Louis Cardinals
Over in the National League, the frustrated Cardinals entered 2017 with something to prove after missing out on the 2016 playoffs by just 1 game despite ending their campaign on a four-game winning streak. That ended a run of consecutive playoff appearances at five, a stretch that included a World Series title in 2011 and plenty of postseason series wins.
But their World Series-winning odds have also tumbled, from 25-1 to 60-1, as a result of the team going just 49-51 through its first 100 games and sitting in fourth place in the NL Central, a position the club has only finished in once this century (2008). But they are just 4 games behind the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers, so hope is still alive in this baseball hotbed.
With the Mariners receiving the longest World Series odds of these three teams at 85-1 despite still very much being in the playoff race, they have to be considered the best bet. And all of that frustration of no playoff appearances in the past 16 years could very well help push them through a long postseason run.