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The Odds Don’t Lie: The Oakland A’s Are Legit World Series Contenders

SBD Staff Writer

by SBD Staff Writer in MLB Baseball

Updated Mar 23, 2020 · 10:11 AM PDT

Our hats are off to Jed Lowrie and the surprising A's. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License]
  • The Oakland Athletics are now pegged at +1100 to win the 2018 World Series
  • Can the A’s sneak past the Astros in the hotly contested AL West?
  • Can Oakland sustain its prolific home run rate?

September is around the corner and the MLB Playoffs are approaching faster than an Aroldis Chapman fastball. With them come ample opportunities to place some bets and make some money, but the time to act is now. As favorites begin to emerge and smart money placed on dark horses the odds are tightening up.

Here’s a live look at the current top World Series contenders and their average odds:

Average 2018 World Series Odds


A few things stand out immediately including Boston’s brutal odds – especially after going 4-6 in their last ten games. The Cleveland Indians sitting at +950 despite Andrew Miller placed on the DL with shoulder inflammation, and the Chicago Cubs continuing to climb up the leaderboard after some sneaky acquisitions at the trade deadline.

Billy Beane’s experiment in frugal finances is paying off again this year with a bunch of players outperforming their expected value.

None of these stories are as intriguing as the Oakland Athletics. After another win against the Houston Astros (also the team they’re chasing in the division) on Tuesday the A’s are now pegged at +1100 to win it all this year. Billy Beane’s experiment in frugal finances is paying off again this year with a bunch of players outperforming their expected value, and a roster without any true holes continuing to win.

They now have the 7th-shortest odds in the Majors to win it all this fall, and yet there’s still value in this bet. Here’s a quick glance at all the top contenders and their odds to be crowned World Champions:

2018 World Series Odds

Team Odds
Boston Red Sox +325
Houston Astros +450
New York Yankees +700
Chicago Cubs +750
Cleveland Indians +950
Oakland Athletics +1100
Arizona Diamondbacks +1200
Colorado Rockies +1200
St. Louis Cardinals +1800
Milwaukee Brewers +2200
Philadelphia Phillies +2500
Seattle Mariners +5000
Washington Nationals +6000

At first glance it already seems silly to have Oakland so far down that list, and still at a value worth more than ten times your bet. They’re healthier than Cleveland, hotter than the Red Sox, and neck and neck with the Astros. They’re just four back of the Yankees and have been the best team in baseball since the All-Star Break.

The A’s are healthier than Cleveland, hotter than the Red Sox, and neck and neck with the Astros.

Say what you will about momentum, but the Athletics certainly have it and will now and try and ride it straight to a World Series title.

The AL Wild Card race is perhaps they’re only real hurdle to a successful run. If they can’t pass the Astros for the division lead by the end of the season then it’s a winner-take-all-one-game-showdown, and things like depth, momentum and even skill often get thrown out of the window.

AL Wild Card Standings

Team Record Last 10 Games Back Division Games Back Wild Card Average World Series Odds
Astros 7-3 0 0 +440
Yankees (84-48) 8-2 6.5 +4.5 +740
Oakland (80-53) 6-4 1.5 0 +1100
Seattle(74-58) 4-6 7 5.5 +5000

Barring a major collapse by the A’s, they’re not going to miss the playoffs. The question is whether or not they can avoid a do-or-die Wild Card game with the Yankees, or should New York catch Boston somehow, the Red Sox. All signs point to a fight to the finish between the Astros and the Athletics resulting in a team with the better record having a much easier path through to the playoffs.

YouTube video

The odds are nice for Oakland to jump on right now, but they do come with a caveat. This team is shockingly dependent on hitting home runs to win baseball games. It helps that they have the home run leader – and thanks to him trail only the Yankees for the most home runs in all of baseball this season. Just check out the damage Khris Davis did against the Rangers this year:

YouTube video

However, outside of that there’s not a whole lot that stands out about this club. They don’t rank in the top ten in batting average, on base percentage, or pitching by most measurable statistics, and while they are consistently in the top half of the league in almost every conceivable category. Their only major advantage is home runs.

The swings tend to get shorter in the playoffs and the pitching becomes world class. If the A’s can’t make their balls fly out of the park, it could be a quick postseason for this Cinderella squad.

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