This weekend, spring training games get underway across MLB. We're a few weeks away from the World Baseball Classic. Overall, we're a little more than a month from Opening Day. Believe it or not, baseball season is approaching.
Ever since Nick Castellanos of the Philadelphia Phillies made the last out in Game 6 against the Houston Astros in the 2022 World Series, bettors have had the opportunity to bet on who will win it all this season. We then saw some big names change teams in what was a pretty exciting offseason across the league.
Now that we basically know what teams will look like come Opening Day, where are bettors leaning this season? Which teams are the most popular bets to win it all?
Mets are bettors' pick to win it all
Last season, the New York Mets won 101 games and lost the National League East on a tiebreaker to the Atlanta Braves. Their reward for a 101-win season was a first-round wild-card series against the 89-win San Diego Padres. The Padres surprisingly outpitched the Mets and won the series in three games.
Despite last season ending as a failure, both the market and bettors are high on the Amazins heading into the upcoming season. The Mets are +750 to win the World Series. Those odds are tied for second-best with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. Only the defending champion Houston Astros (+650) have better odds to win the World Series this season.
Bettors are lining up for the Mets as well. Overall, nearly 11% of the bets and 16% of the money is backing New York to win the World Series. Both marks are highest in the league.
The lineup for the Mets hasn't changed much from last season. In fact, it would not at all be shocking to see the exact lineup that ended the season last year begin this season. Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil make up a dangerous first half of the order.
The question becomes what can New York get from its catcher position, third base and the DH spot? New York flirted heavily with signing Carlos Correa but decided to pass after examining his medical records. Tomas Nido, Eduardo Escobar and Daniel Vogelbach appear to be the leading candidates to fill those three spots, and that profiles as the weakest part of the Mets lineup.
While not much has changed offensively, the same cannot be said about the starting rotation. Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker all departed in the offseason, replaced by Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana and Kodai Senga. Verlander is coming off a Cy Young season in the AL, but few would call him an upgrade from a fully healthy deGrom. (Then again, it has been years since we've seen that version of deGrom). Senga is the most intriguing name brought in by the Mets, as he has a nasty arsenal of pitches that he used to dominate hitters in Japan. That success doesn't always translate to MLB, however.
Guardians are also a popular bet
Turning our attention to the American League, you probably would've guessed a team such as the Yankees, Astros or even Toronto Blue Jays would be the favorite choice for bettors. However, those who have placed their World Series wagers at BetMGM are looking a little further down the board.
The Cleveland Guardians are currently the second-most popular bet to win the World Series and the most popular bet among AL teams. The Guardians are 25-to-1 to win it all, down from their opening number of 35-to-1. Overall, more than 8% of bets and just under 10% of the money is backing Cleveland.
The Guardians surprised a lot of people last season when they won the AL Central over the Chicago White Sox. With the new rule changes coming into play this season, it's expected that young, athletic teams such as Cleveland stand to benefit most. Steven Kwan, Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez all had solid seasons and are still young and growing. Jose Ramirez remains one of the better players in baseball. The Guardians added Josh Bell in the offseason to give their lineup some pop. Shane Bieber is a solid ace, and Triston McKenzie should continue to grow into a very good MLB pitcher ahead of some veteran arms in Cleveland's rotation.
The 10 most popular World Series bets
New York Mets (+750, 10.6% of bets)
Cleveland Guardians (25-to-1, 8.1% of bets)
New York Yankees (+750, 7.9% of bets)
Philadelphia Phillies (14-to-1, 7.7% of bets)
Houston Astros (+650, 7.4% of bets)
San Diego Padres (10-to-1, 7.0% of bets)
Atlanta Braves (10-to-1, 6.0% of bets)
Los Angeles Dodgers (+750, 5.2% of bets)
Toronto Blue Jays (14-to-1, 3.9% of bets)
St. Louis Cardinals (25-to-1, 3.7% of bets)