MLB Futures Odds: Does Greinke Make the Astros Smart World Series Bets?

MLB Futures Odds: Does Greinke Make the Astros Smart World Series Bets? article feature image
Credit:

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa

  • The Houston Astros are +200 favorites to win the World Series after acquiring for Zack Greinke at the MLB trade deadline.
  • Using a consensus projection, we determine if there is value betting the Astros as favorites to win the World Series.

The Houston Astros won the MLB trade deadline by acquiring ace Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cy Young winner has been impressive this season, going 10-4 with a 2.90 ERA in 23 starts.

Before the trade, the Astros rotation, which included Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, was already one of the best in baseball. Houston’s starters ranked first in strikeouts per nine innings (10.5), first in opponents’ batting average (.213) and fourth in ERA (3.68).

Greinke wasn’t the only move the Astros made. Houston also obtained Martin Maldonado, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini.

Oddsmakers were impressed with the ‘Stros big day. Houston was as high as +450 to win the World Series before the deadline but is now +200 (bet $100 to win $200).

On paper, Houston looks like the best team in the majors, but is there value wagering on the Astros at +200 odds?

To find out, we created a consensus World Series projection using simulations from FanGraphs (FG) and Baseball Prospectus (BP). To determine if there is value placing a bet, we compared the model results to the betting odds at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Below are each team’s odds and projected chance to win the World Series:

According to the consensus projection, the Astros are the most likely World Series champions with a 24.2% chance of winning a second title in three seasons.

However, the implied probability of Houston winning it all is 33.3% based on +200 odds. The 9.1% difference between projected chance and implied probability is the largest in baseball. There is no value betting on Verlander, Greinke and Co.

However, there is one team the models like more than the betting market:

Minnesota Twins

  • Current odds: +1600, Implied Probability: 5.9%
  • Twins win the World Series 8.6% of the time

The Twins are a team casual bettors overlook and that’s a mistake. Minnesota leads all of baseball in home runs (206) and its starters ERA (3.84) ranks fifth in the big leagues.

Rocco Baldelli’s team has the third-best run differential in baseball, has been leading the AL Central for most of the season.

Minnesota’s relievers ranked 13th in ERA before the trade deadline. The Twins made two moves to improve their bullpen by acquiring Sergio Romo from Miami and Sam Dyson from San Francisco. It will be harder to score runs against this team late in games.

The consensus projection gives the Twins an 8.6% chance of winning the World Series — the fourth-highest probability. This suggests the team’s championship odds should be closer to +1000, but bettors can grab the Twins at +1600.