Yankees' pitching keeps them from getting respect in World Series futures

August 22, 2019 06:53 PM

No interleague series has as much historical allure as the New York Yankees battling the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those franchises met in the World Series in 1941, ‘47, ’49, ’52, ’53, ’55, ’56 when the Dodgers resided in Brooklyn, and in ’63, ’77,’78, and ’81 after their move west. 

The latest three-game renewal begins Friday night at Chavez Ravine, a possible prelude to a long overdue World Series reunion this October. 

Of course, the Houston Astros will likely have a lot to say about that. And…anything can happen in the playoffs. Several talented teams will have a shot to score series upsets, even if the Yankees and Dodgers are able to earn home-field advantage in their respective league brackets. 

Betting markets are currently giving the World Series championship nod to Houston after the Astros acquired Zack Greinke. Here are William Hill’s latest odds to win it all for top contenders…

Astros 11/5 (31%), Dodgers 5/2 (29%), Yankees 5/1 (17%), Braves 10/1 (9%), Twins 14/1 (7%), Cubs 14/1 (7%), Indians 18/1 (6%), Cardinals 20/1 (5%), Nationals 22/1 (4%), Mets 25/1 (4%), Rays 25/1 (4%), A’s 28/1 (3%).

Those of you good at addition noticed immediately those add up to more than 100%. Sportsbooks build a universe larger than 100% to create a house edge. 

Nobody besides the big three currently has a chance of 10% or more. But if you add up all the odds of the outsiders, there’s still a reasonable chance “somebody else” gets hot at the right time. The Astros, Dodgers and Yankees only add up to 77% of the inflated universe. 

Why aren’t the Yankees getting more respect in pricing given their fantastic season? It all comes down to front-line pitching. Oddsmakers and sharps know that elite starters have the most impact in playoff matchups because they gobble up the majority of postseason innings. 

*Houston will be throwing Cy Young caliber hurlers Justin Verlander, Gerritt Cole and Zack Greinke. That’s kept the Astros priced as favorites even though they might not enjoy home field advantage over either the Yanks or Dodgers. 

*Los Angeles is loaded too, as the trio of Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Walker Buehler has proved through the regular season.  

*New York didn’t have a single rotation pitcher possessing an ERA below 4.00 at midweek, even though Yankee Stadium has graded out as a pitchers park in 2019 (reducing offense by about 20%). Can Domingo German, Masahiro Tanaka, and James Paxton hold their own? Can Luis Severino return from injury in time to save the day? Or, will the Yanks be forced to win homer-fests against elite opposing pitchers?

Bettors believing that the Bronx Bombers are ideally suited to exploiting the new aerodynamically friendly baseballs should consider taking shots on the futures board. William Hill is offering 5/2 to win the A.L. pennant (plus 250 on the money line), to go along with 5/1 (plus 500) to win it all. 

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