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SBD’s Experts Offer Their 2020 World Series Picks

Max Muncy laying a tag on Austin Meadows at second base
Max Muncy's LA Dodgers are heavy favorites against Austin Meadows and the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 World Series. Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire)
  • The Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers are set to meet in the 2020 World Series
  • The Dodgers are -200 favorites to win the best-of-seven series, while Mookie Betts has the shortest odds to claim MVP (+800)
  • SBD’s panel of experts provide their picks for the 2020 Fall Classic

The 2020 World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers starts on Tuesday, Oct. 20th, at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

Despite hauling a 32-year championship drought into the series, the Dodgers are heavy -200 favorites to win the best-of-seven.

On the eve of Game 1, SBD’s editorial team convened to make their picks for the series winner, exact series score, and MVP.

SBD’s Expert World Series Picks

Prop Bryan Thiel Matt McEwan Mitch Robson Ryan Metivier Ryan Sura Sascha Paruk
World Series Winner Dodgers (-200) Dodgers (-200) Rays (+160) Rays
Dodgers (-200) Rays (+160)
Exact Series Score 4-2 Dodgers (+350) 4-1 Dodgers (+500) 4-2 Rays (+750) 4-3 Rays (+650) 4-1 Dodgers (+500) 4-3 Rays (+650)
MVP Max Muncy (+1500) Mookie Betts (+800) Brandon Lowe (+2800) Randy Arozarena (+1000) Corey Seager (+1200) Randy Arozarena (+1000)

Odds as of Oct 19th at DraftKings. Experts listed in alphabetical order, not in order of expertise. 

Bryan Thiel

Because of Andrew Friedman’s lasting impact with Tampa Bay, this World Series sees the Rays taking on the team they could be if they had limitless cash.

Both feature carefully constructed lineups and strong pitching staffs. The Dodgers are in the World Series for the third time in four years, so the edge in experience goes to them.

Dave Roberts used Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and Julio Urias in Game 7 against the Braves. So after Clayton Kershaw goes in Game 1, Tampa has an advantage in Game 2. But once they weather that storm, the Dodgers have a multitude of options, pitching-wise, and more than enough pop.

Don’t overlook the advantage of the NLCS being played at Globe Life Park either.

Matt McEwan

These are some awfully chalky picks. But I simply can’t bring myself to bet against this LA roster. Plus, third time’s a charm, right?

I give the Dodgers the advantage in nearly every aspect of the game. I guess that should be the case when your payroll is nearly four times as much as your opponent’s.

The Dodgers led the league in runs scored and allowed the fewest during the regular season. They proved their dominance by walking into the NLCS unscathed, and then showed that they can handle adversity in coming back from a 3-1 series deficit.

If LA hadn’t used so many arms in Game 7 of the NLCS, I’d be calling for a sweep. Clayton Kershaw is too good to let another opportunity pass him by. But even if he does stumble in Game 1, Walker Buehler and Dustin May will make their way to the mound eventually.

Mookie Betts is the best player in baseball, in my opinion. While the Dodgers possess so many different bats that can hurt you, Betts’ defense will give him the nod in the MVP decision.

Mitch Robson

Tampa’s run through the AL postseason primarily came on the backs of Ji-Man Choi and breakout star Randy Arozarena and we’re due to see some positive regression at the plate from Brandon Lowe, Yandy Diaz and 2019 team MVP Austin Meadows.

If Snell, Morton and Glasnow can pilot their way through the loaded Dodger lineup in early innings, Kevin Cash can continue his strong run of bullpen management with their cast of *relatively* unknown, hard throwers to get it done late. 

While the Dodgers pitching staff may be more loaded on paper, it’s also more volatile – and Dave Roberts’ track record suggests he could try to get too cute and ultimately cost themselves the series.

Jump on the Rays in six, with Lowe as a worthy MVP longshot at +2800. While sporting an ugly 6-52 mark at the plate through the ALCS, he hit .269 and had 14 bombs during the regular season – good times await.

Ryan Metivier

These teams were only three games apart in the regular season as the league’s two best teams. The Rays nearly blew a 3-0 lead in the ALCS vs the Astros before winning in seven, while the Dodgers fought back from 3-1 down in the NLCS vs the Braves. Momentum should be in the Dodgers’ favor who look to win the World Series for the first time since 1988 despite reaching the big game in two of the past three years.

They bring the offensive advantage into the series with four players with double-digit hits in the playoffs. They also held a ridiculous run-differential of +136 in the regular season.

No team struck out more on offense than the Rays this season so they’ll be hoping to win this series with strong pitching and solid defense. By comparison, their pitching staff struck out the sixth-most batters in the regular season. The Rays’ right-handed relievers have been money in the playoffs but will face a different look vs some of LA’s left-handed bats.

Rays’ rookie Randy Arozarena does lead the playoffs in hits (21) and home runs (7) though. His seventh homer set a new rookie playoff record. So if the Rays pull the upset in this series and Arozarena stays hot and contributes a few more big hits he could be in line to cash as MVP.

The star power and odds lean in the Dodgers’ favor, but I’ll side with the pitching and better price for the Rays to win their first World Series title in a seven-game series. Alternatively, if you think the Rays can push it to Game 7 but will come up short, I like the Rays at +1.5 on the series game spread at -112 odds.

Ryan Sura

Both of these teams found unique ways to make it to the World Series. The Dodgers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NLCS, while the Rays almost blew a 3-0 lead in the ALCS and ended up winning in seven games.

This leads me to believe that the Dodgers have the momentum heading into the World Series. Speaking of momentum, Seager had five home runs and 11 RBIs in the NLCS and will look to build off these fantastic numbers against the Rays. Not to mention Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and rookie Dustin May are a deadly three-headed monster.

The Dodgers received eight percent of the bets heading into the MLB postseason. Listed at -200 heading into the World Series, I think the Dodgers will close out the Rays in five games.

Sascha Paruk

Betting on the Rays at +160 is simply a price play.  The Rays only need to have a 40% true probability to create positive expected value. Their pitching staff, top to bottom, has been stronger than LA’s. As a team, Tampa had a 3.94 xFIP, third-best in baseball and slightly better than the Dodgers, who were sixth at 3.99.

Their lineup doesn’t produce runs at the same clip, but I trust Kevin Cash to juice every last drop out of his deep roster. No manager is better at putting his players in favorable matchups.

Since I am taking Tampa in seven, I was tempted to ride with Charlie Morton (+1500) as MVP. There is a good chance Morton starts Game 3 and Game 7 (should it get that far) and his big-game pedigree is second-to-none, at least none in this series. He pitched 5.2 almost-flawless shutout innings in Game 7 against the Astros. He single-handedly staunched Houston’s momentum and kept his team out of the darkest parts of the MLB history books. But pitchers don’t win MVP often (only three times since 2004) and Randy Arozarena has been a man possessed this postseason.

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