World Series Odds

We’ll be betting baseball daily but this is also a perfect time to reexamine the futures market. Here’s a breakdown of the remaining contenders and how they stack up for the postseason:Baseball

All statistics compiled prior to Wednesday’s games.

THE FAVORITES

Philadelphia Phillies (+225)

To say that things are coming together for Philadelphia might be the understatement of the century. The battle-tested Phillies, who clinched their fourth straight NL East title on Monday night, are 20-5 in the month of September.

They’ve already locked up home field throughout the playoffs, and did it early enough to let Charlie Manuel set up his rotation for the NLDS. The trio of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels is so dangerous in a short series, it ought to be illegal.

New York Yankees (+275)

The Yankees lead the majors in runs scored and Alex Rodriguez is getting hot at the right time (he leads all third basemen with a .658 slugging percentage in September). Unfortunately for New York, he can’t pitch.

The Yankees’ rotation has been a disaster down the stretch. Their stay in the postseason will be short if no one steps up behind C.C. Sabathia.

Tampa Bay Rays (+300)

David Price threw another gem Tuesday night, but behind Price, the Rays’ rotation looks thin. Matt Garza, James Shields and Jeff Niemann have all struggled down the stretch.

And home field won’t be much of an advantage for Tampa Bay. The Rays drew just 12,446 to Tropicana Field Monday night playing with a chance to clinch their second-ever playoff berth.

LONGSHOTS

Minnesota Twins (+1000)

What’s colder than the phone lines at the Rays’ ticket office?  How about outdoor October baseball in Minnesota. The chances of Justin Morneau returning for the playoffs are dwindling, but the Twins continue to play great baseball without him.

This week’s schedule looms large for Minnesota. The Twins, who hold the best home record in the American League, still have a shot at earning home field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Cincinnati Reds (+1000)

Cincinnati clinched a division title Tuesday on Jay Bruce’s dramatic home run, but there wasn’t much drama to the NL Central race. The Reds had the division all but sewn up a month ago, which may explain why they’re playing sub-.500 baseball in September.

Cincinnati leads the National League with 4.9 runs per game, but has averaged only 4.2 this month. There’s a reason the Reds are this far down the favorites list: just look at their starting rotation.

Texas Rangers (+1200)

The Rangers’ hopes rest largely on Josh Hamilton’s broken ribs. Texas wants get him into its lineup this weekend to see if he can handle full-speed baseball before the playoffs start.  If Hamilton can’t play, or isn’t the offensive threat we’re used to seeing, the Rangers’ first playoff appearance in over a decade will be shortlived.

San Diego Padres (+2500) and San Francisco Giants (+1200)

The Padres and Giants have the same odds as the Rangers, but they’re in a different boat since neither has secured a spot in the postseason yet. That angle will likely play itself out this weekend when the teams play a three-game set in San Fran.

The Padres appear to have peaked too early. They’re hanging on for dear life in the NL West and Wild Card races. San Diego ranks 21st in the majors in runs scored and 28th in the month of September. Not even the best bullpen in baseball can overcome that kind of offensive inefficiency.

San Francisco has been almost as offensively inept as San Diego, but the depth of the Giants’ rotation makes them dangerous. A short series between the Giants and Phillies could get interesting. Philadelphia would be a heavy favorite, but San Francisco is the only contender who’s beaten both Halladay and Oswalt in the regular season. They’re also 1-0 against Hamels.

Atlanta Braves (+1500)

Tim Hudson has had a big season for the Braves, but he’s been hit-or-miss down the stretch. You’ve got to wonder if Atlanta can overcome the recent injuries to Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens to earn Bobby Cox one last postseason appearance before he rides off into the sunset.

With a weekend series against the Phillies on the horizon, chances are they’ll be watching the playoffs on TV with the rest of us.

Posted by: cover.com

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