2024 World Series Futures Odds: Will an Underdog Win It All Again?

By Chris Hughes   March 6, 2024 

2024 World Series Futures Odds: Will an Underdog Win It All Again?

MLB’s new playoff format, implemented in 2022, has been a boon for the underdogs in World Series futures odds.

Last year, a wild card team (Texas Rangers) won the World Series with preseason odds of +5000. The year before, the Philadelphia Phillies, another wild card, were two wins away from a title. Their odds during spring training were +3000.

The 2023 champion could’ve had even longer odds. Arizona, the National League champions, had preseason odds of a staggering +12500 to win the World Series.

This year, there are only two teams (Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves) who have odds shorter than +1000, and five other teams are between +1000 and +1500. We examined their chances here.

But for the underdog lovers, this column is for you. Here’s a look at three key underdog picks for the 2024 World Series futures odds.

World Series Futures Odds: Underdog Candidates

There are nine teams between +2200 and +5000, which is where Texas was at this point last year. Here is a look at each along with which sportsbook you can get their best odds.

Seattle Mariners+2200 (Bet365)Third in AL West
Toronto Blue Jays+2500 (Caesars)Third in AL East
Minnesota Twins+3000 (Bet365)AL Central Champions
St. Louis Cardinals+3500 (DraftKings)Fourth in NL Central
Chicago Cubs+3500 (FanDuel)Second in NL Central
Arizona Diamondbacks+4000 (FanDuel)Second in NL West
Tampa Bay Rays+4500 (Caesars)Second in AL East
Boston Red Sox+5000 (BetMGM)Last in AL East
New York Mets+5000 (Hard Rock Bet)Fourth in NL East
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Bounce-Back Year for Seattle?

The Mariners (+2200) failed to capitalized on their 2022 playoff berth when they missed out on a spot last year during the final weekend of the season. But the M’s won 88 games, and the two teams that narrowly beat them in the AL West ended up being the world champion Rangers and the Houston Astros — the 2022 champions who took Texas to a seventh game in the ALCS.

Prior to last year’s 88 victories, the Mariners won 90 in both 2021 and ’22. Seattle had neither huge additions or departures in the offseason. Gone are hitters Teoscar Hernandez and Eugenio Suarez along with pitchers Robbie Ray and Marco Gonzales. Most of the additions were on offense, including Mitch Garver, Jorge Polanco, and Luis Urias. Returning is emerging superstar Julio Rodriguez along with pitchers Luis Castillo and George Kirby, who make up one of the best one-two punches in MLB.

Houston is Houston, but a regression for the Rangers is possible. The Angels and Athletics should be doormats, giving the M’s plenty of chances for wins and a wild card shot if the Astros keep their stranglehold on the division. But given that just a couple of games separated these three teams a year ago, we like the value with Seattle.

Is This the Year?

With the exception of 2016, the refrain in Chicago regarding the Cubs each offseason is: “Wait till next year.”

For the Cubs, next year is here, and after re-signing Cody Bellinger, a late-season collapse from 2022 could be a thing of the past.

After missing the playoffs by one game, the Cubs fired manager David Ross and brought in Craig Counsell from division rival Milwaukee. The Brewers won the division last year but appear to be in fire-sale mode, so the NL Central is wide open.

The Cubs are co-favorites with the St. Louis Cardinals, but we like what the Cubs are coming into the season with. Plenty of offensive stars emerged last year, including Seiya Suzuki and Christopher Morel, who slugged 26 home runs and 17 doubles in 107 games.

Bellinger, Dansby Swanson, and Nico Hoerner are also nice pieces to the offense. Justin Steeler was a top-five finisher in NL Cy Young voting last year. The rest of the rotation has some question marks, as it includes Kyle Hendricks, who is the lone pitcher remaining from the 2016 championship season. But if the Cubs are in contention, expect them to make a move at the trade deadline to bolster their rotation. Plus, they have a veteran manager and a team that doesn’t have to deal with the curse talk if they do make it into October.

Despite More Change, the Rays Will Be There in October

While Tampa Bay hasn’t shown the ability to win a playoff series in recent years (first-round losses in 2021-23) since a World Series appearance in 2020, you can almost count on the Rays making it to the postseason. And at World Series futures odds of +4500, it’s worth having a team in the hunt come October.

Sure, there’s been plenty of turnover with the Rays. They lost ace Tyler Glasnow, co-ace Shane McClanahan won’t pitch this year while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Jeffrey Springs is on track to return from his TJ surgery in the second half. They also got burned by Wander Franco, who was given a rare long-term contract by Tampa Bay but remains in the Dominican Republic in plenty of legal trouble surrounding allegations of having sex with underage girls.

That leaves Zach Eflin as the ace of the staff. But the Rays have endured departures before — James Shields, David Price, Chris Archer, and Blake Snell have all left and the Rays train keeps on rolling. And without Franco, the top of the Rays’ lineup is still extremely dangerous with Yandy Diaz, Brandon Lowe, Randy Arozarena, Josh Lowe, and Isaac Paredes all returning. Strong bullpen pieces Pete Fairbanks, Jason Adam, Colin Poche, and Phil Maton all return.

The names don’t sound like much, but Tampa Bay is riding a five-year playoff streak in one of baseball’s most competitive divisions. While 99 wins seems like it will be difficult to achieve again, it’d be foolish to think the Rays won’t be a part of the October conversation.

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