Also known in the United States as “The Fall Classic,” Major League Baseball’s World Series is the culmination of a 162-game season and month-long playoff.
All odds via DraftKings and current as of publication. They are subject to change.
If you’re looking to bet on the World Series this year, you’re in the right place, as we have compiled a detailed guide to help you strengthen your World Series betting strategy and perhaps learn some new tricks to help you grow your bank roll.
But first, let’s start with how we find ourselves at the World Series in the autumn months:
Major League Baseball consists of 30 teams playing in two leagues, the American League and the National League, with each league divided into three divisions of five teams apiece. In each league, the three division winners all qualify for the postseason as well as two wild card teams who put up impressive numbers.
Playoff seeding within each league is determined by best overall record among the division winners. Once the seeds are set for the playoffs, the MLB playoff committee does not alter the bracket after each round is completed.
The two wild-card teams from each league play a one-game play-in to advance to the Division Series round. The Wild Card team with the better record during the regular season gets home field advantage for this game.
In each league, the winner of the wild-card game faces the division winner with the best record in a best-of-5 series, while the other two division winners also play a best-of-5 series. The format for home field advantage in this round is 2-2-1.
The winners of the two American League Division Series and the winners of the two National League Division Series each play a best-of-7 series for the right to meet in the World Series. The format for home field advantage in the league championship series is 2-3-2.
The first World Series was played in 1903 and featured the Boston Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates. The best-of-7 series takes place in mid-to-late October and features the champion of the American League and National League.
Before 2003, home-field advantage in the World Series rotated between the two leagues. But from 2003-2016, the winner of the summer All-Star Game got the advantage. From 2017 on, the team with the best overall record during the season receives home-field advantage
When it comes to finding World Series betting odds, you can find a huge variety at virtually every sportsbook on the market. The real dilemma is choosing which betting options are best for you. Sportsbooks tend to have plenty of options including ones you may not see year-round, so you will want to learn how each betting type works before you start placing your wagers.
There are a number of different ways to bet on the World Series each year, including betting on each individual game or betting on the entire series as a whole.
For our examples, we are going to use American odds, so it’s important to understand how American odds work first.
American odds are commonly used in North America and show the odds as a plus or minus number. The number will show you how likely or unlikely a team is of winning, or that outcome occurring by the number you are presented with. The best way to learn how to use American odds and understand how they work is to look at moneyline betting.
There are other odds formats you can look at like decimal or fractional odds, but let’s look at the betting options available for World Series betting first:
Moneyline betting is the easiest way to bet on each individual game of the World Series. This bet simply requires a bettor to wager on which team will win a particular game, and the payouts are determined by the odds.
Now that we’ve outlined the American odds format, you can very easily see how moneyline betting works:
If you have the LA Dodgers at (-125) and the Texas Rangers at (+350), you can tell that the Dodgers are favored to win because of the negative number. The negative odds represent favored teams and show you how much you would need to bet to win $100. So in this case, you would need to bet $125 to win $100 on the Dodgers.
The Rangers are the underdog in this situation, and you can tell by the positive odds. The positive odds represent underdog teams or teams less likely to win, and the higher the number the less likely they are to win. A $100 wager on the Rangers would payout $350 in winnings, so underdogs can be extremely enticing to bet on!
Moneyline betting is extremely popular during the regular season, but there are other betting options that tend to draw more attention and focus during the World Series.
Even though the moneyline bet is extremely popular when it comes to MLB betting during the regular season, you will also see bets offered on the point spread. This is typically referred to as the runline because baseball doesn’t track points like other sports do, they track runs. However, it does work the same way as traditional point spread betting.
Most run lines for MLB games will be set at 1.5 runs, but if you have a heavily favored team it might be a larger spread. This usually isn’t the case in the World Series as we are watching the top two teams in the league compete, but that’s not to say there haven’t been larger spreads in past World Series matchups.
When betting on a point spread for the World Series, you are betting on the amount of points a team must win or lose by. The underdog team, which will be noted by the minus sign (that we learned above) will have to either win the game outright or lose by less than the spread. The favorite which will be noted by the minus sign, will have to win the game by more runs than the spread.
Let’s look at an example:
In this example the Dodgers are the favorite again, and they must win the game by two or more runs. By looking at those American odds, you can see that the oddsmakers believe it will be a close game because the odds show that outcome to be less likely (+195) than the Rays chances of winning or covering the spread (-115).
The Rays simply need to win the game, or they can lose by one run and a bet on the Rays will still profit.
Can’t decide who will win the game? That’s where totals betting comes in handy. Sometimes it can be too much pressure to decide which team will win, especially if you’re looking like a potentially close game like our point spread example.
For these close games, it can be a huge relief and benefit to bet on the totals or the over/under as it’s commonly called. Totals betting doesn’t force you to bet on a particular team or outcome, you just are betting on the total combined runs for both teams.
If you have a total of 7.5 for a World Series game, you can bet the over, which would mean you believe that both teams collectively will score more than 8 runs (a winning over bet would be a final score of 7-4, let’s say). If you bet the under, you are betting that both teams will collectively score less than 7 runs (a winning under bet would be a score of 3-2, let’s say).
Betting on the totals during the World Series can be a great option throughout the series if you aren’t keen on either team. This way, you don’t have to cheer for either side.
Prop betting or proposition betting is a fun way to bet on the World Series that has nothing to do with a particular outcome. Prop bets are unusual or unique occurrences that have nothing to do with the result of the World Series games. These prop bets offer a unique and exciting twist to betting on baseball, and there are more prop betting markets available each year.
A prop bet doesn’t look at the winning team or the final score at all, but instead focuses on what will actually occur within the game. Prop bets can focus on just one individual player or these bets can be offered on each team in a matchup.
It’s hard to know what types of prop betting options will be available every year, and each sportsbook will likely come up with their own fun and exciting prob bets.
Here are some potential examples of what you might see:
As we mentioned, these betting options are just for fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. You can find a huge variety of props at some of the best online betting sites for each game of the World Series.
World Series futures betting is one of the most popular ways to bet on Major League Baseball. One of the reasons is that these odds come out as soon as the previous season has ended, and this also offers a chance for a sizable payout.
As soon as the 2020 World Series ended, the 2021 World Series futures odds were released. This allowed bettors the chance to make predictions about which team would win the next crown, and this same process is repeated each year.
Even if a bet is placed on the team with the best odds to win the upcoming World Series, there will still be a good return on that investment. Betting on a team that is not expected to perform the following season could lead to a massive payout if that team goes on a surprising run.
Seasoned sports bettors always look at futures wagers at the start of the season to see if there’s any value to be had. You will want to keep an eye on injury reports throughout the season, as well as trades and suspensions. You can always cash out your bet from your sportsbook if your team tanks, but you might not get the full price you paid for your wager.
|Year||Winning Team||Winner’s Odds||Series||Losing Team|
|2020||Los Angeles Dodgers||-200||4-2||Tampa Bay Rays|
|2019||Washington Nationals||+192||4-3||Houston Astros|
|2018||Boston Red Sox||-155||4-1||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|2017||Houston Astros||+150||4-3||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|2016||Chicago Cubs||-190||4-3||Cleveland Indians|
|2015||Kansas City Royals||-104||4-1||New York Mets|
|2014||San Francisco Giants||+100||4-3||Kansas City Royals|
|2013||Boston Red Sox||-140||4-2||St. Louis Cardinals|
|2012||San Francisco Giants||+155||4-0||Detroit Tigers|
|2011||St. Louis Cardinals||+135||4-3||Texas Rangers|
|2010||San Francisco Giants||+125||4-1||Texas Rangers|
|2009||New York Yankees||-200||4-2||Philadelphia Phillies|
|2008||Philadelphia Phillies||+115||4-1||Tampa Bay Rays|
Even when the World Series field is set each year it is hard to make a good prediction on how the final seven games will play out. Baseball is a sport that can be dictated by a number of factors, and that can lead to some surprising results!
The most important World Series betting tip is to do as much research as you possibly can on each team in the series. Before you ever place a wager on the World Series you will want to arm yourself with enough information to make a sound decision. Check out teams, how they’ve evolved during the offseason, what players are returning, who got traded or what new rookies are acquired. As we said in the futures section, keep a keen eye on injury reports.
Another tip is to use several of the different betting types above. Learning new betting options can broaden your horizons to bigger payouts. If you constantly are betting moneylines and losing, you might want to mix it up as your picker doesn’t seem to be leading you in the right direction right now. Some of the betting options will lead to higher payouts at times, and you could find some bets that have some value in the odds.
Finally, if your initial World Series prediction is wrong then you could potentially have six or seven games to change up your thinking about each matchup. Don’t be overwhelmed when looking at all of the World Series odds, but instead enjoy and appreciate all of the bets that are available to you.
The first two games of the 2021 World Series will be played in Houston on October 26th and October 27th. Games 3,4, and 5 will be played Truist Park in Atlanta on October 29th, October 30th, and October 31st. Assuming games 6 and 7 are needed, those will be played at the Minute Maid Park in Houston, on November 2nd and November 3rd.
The team with the better regular-season record has home-field advantage, hosting Games 1, 2, 6 and 7.
The World Series is broadcast on the FOX network.
Yes, if you live in one of the states that has legalized sports betting.
The New York Yankees have won the most World Series with 27.
The Los Angeles Dodgers won last year’s World Series.
The Houston Astros are favorites to win the 2021 World Series currently with odds of -152.
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