Betting on the winner of the World Series of baseball is no mean feat. While the regular season stats are immensely useful game by game, the playoffs are an entirely different beast. But there are some useful precedents available for punters to consider.
The first question to ask is just how far season form can predict who will eventually triumph at the World Series. In the 2013 MLB regular season, Boston and St. Louis had the best form in the series, with tied win percentages of 59.9%, just pipping Oakland and Atlanta whose win rate was 59.3% (that's just one more loss). Nonetheless, fine margins proved decisive, and the finalists were Boston and St. Louis, with Boston rising to become the eventual victors.
However, over the long term, regular season results have not been a reliable indicator of the eventual champions. In 2012, the San Francisco Giants triumphed despite finishing the season with the fifth best record, and the beaten finalists were Detroit: whose record was 11th in the league. 2011 winners the St. Louis Cardinals' had a 55.6% record before the playoffs, ranked 9th overall, 2010 winners the Giants were fifth again, in 2009 the Yankees were top, but in 2008 the Phillies were fifth, and so on, showing that, over 20 years or so, there is no obvious correlation.
One trend does tend to stand out when looking at form, however, and that is that the winning teams tend to have above average form over the 10 games running up to the playoffs. This is often true for more than one team, but it really does help to identify the hot teams when moving into the close season when trying to bet on a World Series winner.
One simple factor that can be identified early is how well the last series winner is playing in the current season. Although no team has repeated the dominance of the Yankees in the late '90s, the Red Sox have won three World Series titles since 2000, and the Giants and Cardinals two apiece. So there are repeat performers within a rolling 10-year period.
Previous years' finalists are also worth considering when looking for current season champions, but, more often than not, it is several years before a beaten finalist returns to claim their prize. St. Louis were beaten finalists in '04, and returned to win in '06, the Yankees beaten in '03 next won in '09, and the Giants lost in '02 and won in '10. All of which suggests that identifying medium-term rebuilding strategies may represent a better approach when looking for the next MLB champions.
A final crucial aspect to examine when looking at the World Series winner market are decisive players who rise beyond the moneyball tactic of buying runs, outs and blocks and create a psychological advantage when it comes to closing out crucial games.
In 2012, San Francisco's Buster Posey might not have amassed the most runs, but he did have the highest batting average and that became a crucial factor in the playoffs. In 2011, the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright's enviably low earned run average was critical. Spotting these players, particularly those that can stay fit, makes all the difference when making your bet.
For all the latest odds in baseball betting's 'World Series winner' market, visit Betfred Sports today!