Often times in sports, the eventual league champion isn’t always the top team from that season. We’ve seen teams catch fire late into the schedule, and ride that momentum all the way to glory. And if you were wise enough to spot that value before they won it all, then you rode that momentum all the way to the bank.
The 2018 MLB season is winding down, with just a month and a half remaining before the postseason. There are a handful of teams and sportsbook contact, ticking up the standings thanks to late-season success, and now is the time to take a shot on their futures. Here’s a closer look at some MLB clubs that could make a surprise run at the World Series:
St. Louis Cardinals (+3,500 to win World Series)
There might not be a hotter team in baseball right now than the St. Louis Cardinals. They’re rapidly moving up the National League Central standings, just a half game back of the Milwaukee Brewers and five games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals have won 13 of 16 games in August and are getting it done on both sides, plating an average of 5.3 runs per game while touting a collective 2.66 ERA this month.
Despite that red-hot run, St. Louis is still deep on the World Series futures board at 35/1 odds, behind the Cubs +600, Los Angeles Dodgers +900, Philadelphia Phillies +1,500, and Arizona Diamondbacks +2,500. – in terms of National League contenders. The Cards are expected to return some injured pitchers in September, just in time to bolster their rotation for the playoffs – if they can make the cut.
Colorado Rockies (+4,000 to win World Series)
The Colorado Rockies are second in the National League West, one and a half games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks and keeping a half-game cushion between them and the L.A. Dodgers. The Rockies have faced a challenging schedule recently and stepped up to the plate – so to speak – taking a series victory over the Dodgers, splitting games with the World Series champion Houston Astros, and opening a current four-game series with the Atlanta Braves with a pair of victories.
Colorado has perhaps the best player in baseball, Nolan Arenado, setting the pace. He’s been a monster this year – 30 home runs and a .308 BA – and hasn’t slowed down in the late stages of the schedule in past seasons. The previous three years, the third baseman has hit a collective .325 BA in September with 23 home runs and 69 RBI from 2015 to 2017. He can’t do it all on his own, however, and really needs the Rockies pitching staff – most notably the bullpen – to set up in the home stretch.
Tampa Bay Rays (+100,000 to win World Series)
All right. This one is a bit of a reach, but with the way the New York Yankees are sliding and the current state of the American League, the window is open for the Rays to do something crazy. Tampa Bay is currently fourth in the AL Wild Card standings – 11 games back of the Yankees – but the club is playing solid baseball this month, especially when it come to production on the mount. The Rays own a 2.91 ERA in August – fourth best in the Junior Circuit – and recently took two of three games with the Bronx Bombers.
Tampa Bay has quietly hung around all season, hovering above .500 and turning around a solid profit for baseball bettors: 6.26 units. They’ve been competitive in most series and have played 50 one-run games, going 22-28 in those nail-biters. With a little uptick in offense, the Rays could make a charge in August and September. They’ve been solid at home and play 24 of their final 39 contests at Tropicana Field, while more than half of the remaining 15 road games come against the Toronto Blue Jays – a team Tampa Bay is 7-2 against this year.