If everything goes right for the Orioles this year, they could end up winning the World Series. The people who make the odds don’t seem to think that’s very likely, though, with the Bovada sportsbook today setting the Orioles at 33/1 odds to win it all.
Those aren’t very good odds, and the Orioles themselves would probably quote Han Solo about them: “Never tell me the odds!” It could be worse. There are six teams who are at 150/1 to win it all. That’s a group that comprises mostly the obvious tanking teams like the Padres and Reds. There’s another tier of strugglers at 75/1 or 100/1.
At 33/1, the Orioles are tied for the 13th-best odds of winning the World Series along with the Mariners, Royals, and Tigers. Not a great place to be, although just like with the over/under win totals, Vegas is showing the Orioles a lot more love than something like PECOTA. If the gambling world thought the Orioles were very likely to be a 73 win team, they would have much worse odds of winning the World Series than this.
The Orioles odds of winning the 2017 World Series have actually gotten worse as the offseason has gone along. They opened up at 22/1 immediately after last year’s World Series. By December, they were down to 28/1, and now, two months farther on, it’s 33/1.
If you found yourself in Las Vegas and decided to drop $20 on the Orioles, you know, just in case, you could collect in November and win back $660. But far, far more likely is that you’ll never see that $20 again.
The changing odds for the worse is probably a reflection of other teams improving more than any notion of the Orioles themselves being worse off than they were. The two big things that the Orioles did - trading for Seth Smith and re-signing Mark Trumbo - sure seem to make the team better on paper, after all. Signing Welington Castillo instead of Matt Wieters can’t have made that much of a difference.
Other teams did more, though. For instance, the Red Sox were 9/1 to win it all in November. After an offseason that saw them pull off the trade for Chris Sale, they’re now down to 9/2, tied with the Cubs for the best odds of winning it all.
The Indians, after making a splash in signing Edwin Encarnacion, have also seen their chances improve, going from 14/1 in November to 8/1 now. Just like the Red Sox, they were already good, and they had an offseason that looks to make them even better, especially since, barring a disaster, they’ll probably walk to another AL Central title.
Odds are about as meaningful as projections as far as predicting what’s going to happen this season. That is to say they aren’t meaningful at all in reality. But they’re interesting, perhaps even moreso than projections. These are smart people and the house always wins. PECOTA’s creators and maintainers don’t have to give out money every time they’re wrong. A sportsbook does.
The oddsmakers give better odds to three of the O’s division rivals. Along with the favored Red Sox, the Blue Jays are 20/1 and the Yankees are 25/1. Those aren’t exactly great odds either; you wouldn’t want your life hanging on the balance of 20/1 or 25/1 odds - or, for that matter, the 9/2 odds of the favorites. It’s hard to win the World Series. A lot can happen in the regular season to change the odds.
Don’t bet on sports! It’s a bad idea and you’re going to lose because you’re not as smart as they are. That said, what do you think about the Orioles at 33/1? Are you tempted?