The Los Angeles Dodgers are the clear favorites to become the first team to repeat as World Series champions since the New York Yankees won three straight titles from 1998 to 2000.
Fittingly, the Dodgers have the highest regular-season win total at Las Vegas sportsbooks since the 1999 Yankees.
As pitchers and catchers reported to spring training this week, the Westgate and William Hill posted season win totals for every team. The Westgate opened Los Angeles at 103½ wins and William Hill at 104½ — which ties the ’99 Yankees for the highest total since 1990, according to sportsoddshistory.com.
“On paper, the Dodgers are putting together an All-Star team for this year,” Westgate sportsbook manager Randy Blum said.
Los Angeles already was favored to win the World Series on Feb. 5 when it added reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer to a stacked staff with Walker Buehler and former Cy Young winners Clayton Kershaw and David Price.
The Dodgers also feature three other legitimate starters in Dustin May, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin.
“Two of those guys will be in the bullpen and one will be the fifth starter. That’s amazing depth,” Blum said. “Their game lines will be insanely high. Imagine the Pirates playing at LA, it almost doesn’t matter who’s pitching. You’re talking (-500) every game.”
Before the Dodgers signed Bauer, a Westgate bettor made a wager on them to win the World Series at +350 to win six figures. Los Angeles’ odds have since shrunk to +200.
“It’s very rare for a baseball team to be that low before the season,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “At +200, there’s no value in it, you might as well wait for the playoffs if you think they’re going to repeat. That way you avoid catastrophic things happening in the regular season and you’ll get around the same price anyway.”
The Dodgers are the sixth team since 1990 with a win total of 100 or more, according to sportsoddshistory.com. Each team went under the total.
Four other teams have win totals of more than 90 at the Westgate: the Yankees (95½), San Diego Padres (93½), Atlanta Braves (90½) and New York Mets (90½).
The Yankees are the 6-1 second choice at the Westgate to win the World Series.
“It’s going to come down to their health,” Blum said. “They’ve had a lot of injuries, and Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have missed a lot of time the last two years.”
New York added two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and expects to get starting pitcher Luis Severino back from Tommy John surgery at midseason.
“If Kluber can stay healthy, him and Gerrit Cole at the top of the rotation is a pretty nice 1-2 punch,” Blum said.
The Padres are the 8-1 third choice to win the World Series after trading for former Cy Young winner Blake Snell and 2020 Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish. San Diego has two $300 million men in shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and third baseman Manny Machado.
“The Padres are a really solid team,” Blum said. “Unfortunately for them, they’re in the same division as the Dodgers.
“There are some other good teams in the NL. The Braves really should’ve beat the Dodgers last year. They were up 3-1 in the (NLCS) and blew it.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Pittsburgh Pirates have the lowest win total at 58.
“They project out to be awful this year,” Blum said. “Look at their depth chart. It’s just hideous. That said, their division is not great.”
There are four other teams with win totals less than 70: the Colorado Rockies (63½), Baltimore Orioles (66), Texas Rangers (67) and Detroit Tigers (69½).
The Rockies traded five-time All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals.
“They’ve been bad, and they traded away their best player,” Blum said. “They’re obviously going into a rebuild, and we believe there could be more trades coming. Plus, they’re in a division with the Dodgers.”
After the shortened 2020 season, baseball will return to a 162-game schedule. Teams must play at least 150 games for season wins to be action at William Hill and 155 games for action at the Westgate.
MLB win totals
White Sox 89½
Blue Jays 86
Red Sox 79