Wagering on the 2010 Major League Baseball World Series
Betting on sports is popular all over the world.
In America, it's no different.
Sports wagering happens all over America in many different forms. Perhaps you have bet on individual games before or been involved in an office pool. Either way, many Americans have bet on sports in one way or another.
I'm going to discuss the 2010 World Series from a betting perspective. In the interest of keeping this article from becoming too long, I will only be going over the four most favored teams according to the current odds. Remember, odds are always subject to change.
(In case you're not familiar with betting or odds, here is a brief description of the odds I will be showing you. There will be a number preceded by a plus (+) symbol. An example would be +500. This would mean that if you wagered $100 you would win $500 for a total return of $600. Your $500 profit plus the $100 you bet.)
1. New York Yankees +325
Of course, the 2009 World Series Champions are once again favored to win in 2010. The Yankees currently have the lowest odds out of any team in baseball.
It comes as no surprise that the Yanks are favored to win again. They are returning most of the core group of players from last season's winning team and have added to it.
The biggest loss for the Yankees in the offseason were Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon. Matsui, while getting up there in years, was still a very productive bat and he came through in the clutch for the Yanks last postseason. He even won World Series MVP honors.
In 2009, Matsui had a .274 average, 28 home runs, 90 RBI, .367 OBP, and a 131 OPS+. These stats were not as lofty as the Yankees were used to, perhaps, but they were still very good. The Yankees must have felt that at age 35, Matusi was going to head into a serious decline.
The other man lost was Johnny Damon, who seriously wanted to return, but played hard ball with the Yanks and was ultimately not re-signed. Damon's numbers in 2009 were right in line with his career averages except for his home runs, in which he matched a career high with 24.
Damon and Matsui were replaced with Curtis Granderson and Randy Winn.
Granderson is a dynamic player that is much younger at 28 years old than either Damon or Matusi were. Granderson, however, struggles mightily with left-handed pitching as evidenced by his hitting .275 against righties and only .183 against lefties in 2009.
Randy Winn, on the other hand, is a signing that left me scratching my head.
I can understand the Yankees wanting to let Damon and Matsui leave because of their age, but then why would they sign Winn, who is 35 years old?
It's possible the Yankees were just looking to go the cheap route, which Randy Winn certainly is. However, the Yankees have never been a team to go the cheap route before.
To their very strong pitching staff, the Yankees added Javier Vazquez from the Atlanta Braves. Vazquez, 33, pitched for the Yankees once before, in 2004. His numbers in 2004 could be considered only average, at best, posting an ERA of almost 5, but maybe this time around he will be better for New York.
Naturally, Vazquez will not be putting up the same numbers he did last season with the Braves seeing as he will now be pitching in the AL East. In New York though, Vazquez is also not expected to be the top pitcher on the staff. He will slot in as their No. 4 or 5 starters, which should help ease some of the pressure.
2. Philadelphia Phillies +550
Sure enough, the second most favorite to win the 2010 World Series is the team the Yankees faced in the 2009 World Series. The Fightin' Phillies made one major subtraction from their 2009 team and one major addition to it.
The major subtraction from 2009 was losing starting pitcher Cliff Lee, who was their best pitcher last season. In 12 regular season games for the Phillies, Lee won seven of them while posting a 3.39 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and a 125 ERA+.
In the postseason, he was even better. He pitched his way to four wins and no losses in the postseason while serving up a 1.56 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and completing two games.
Those are astounding stats and you would think there was no way the Phillies could repeat as NL Champs without him. Well, that is until you remember who the Phillies replaced Lee with.
Taking over Cliff Lee's spot in the Phillies rotation is former Toronto Blue Jays ace, Roy Halladay.
Halladay has been a model of consistency for the past eight seasons and one of the best pitchers in baseball during that span. During the past eight seasons, Halladay has pitched his way to 130 wins, a 3.13 ERA, 46 complete games, a 1.13 WHIP and a 144 ERA+.
If there was one pitcher qualified to take over for Cliff Lee, it would be Halladay. He also earned those stats pitching in the AL East. The only negative anyone could possibly find with Halladay is that he has never pitched in the postseason before. Somehow, I don't think that will be a problem for him.
The only other major addition the Phillies made was bringing in the ever-consistent Placido Polanco back to Philadelphia to play second base for them. Polanco is getting on in years, but at age 34 he can still hit well.
3. Boston Red Sox +650
The Yankees big rival, the Boston Red Sox. Surely none of you are surprised they are one of the four favorites to win the World Series.
Ever since Boston broke their curse in 2004, they have been one of the best teams in baseball. They are well-funded, well-ran and always seem to be right in the thick of things. Winning two World Series in the last six years is nothing to sneeze at either.
The Red Sox made one major pitching acquisition by signing free agent John Lackey, who was last on the Angels. Lackey served as the number one starting pitcher on the Angels, but I always felt his talent wasn't quite on par with a number one starter.
Luckily for him, in Boston he no longer needs to be the No. 1 guy and I think this will benefit him. Lackey will slide in as the No. 3 man in the rotation behind Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. The three spot should play much better to his talent and ability. I would not be surprised to see Lackey post 15-20 wins this season for the Red Sox.
The biggest negative with Lackey is his general lack of success pitching in the postseason. However, many of those poor postseason pitching performances were against his new team, the Red Sox. Without having to face them anymore, he should be much better in the postseason.
The other players the Red Sox have that they didn't have at the start of last season are Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre and a full season of Victor Martinez. Mike Cameron is a signing I did not understand and still don't. At 37 years old, his best years are way behind him and there are reports already that he is hurting.
Adrian Beltre was brought in to take over third base for the aging Mike Lowell, whom the Red Sox are expected to trade. Beltre is a slick-fielding third baseman who can hit well at times, but never seems to do it consistently. The only season where he hit well for the entire year was in his contract year of 2004. What a shocker, right?
Beltre still hits for pretty good power and he will drive in some runs but his batting average will be, well, just average. Seeing as the Red Sox only signed him for one season, though, which was a very smart move, Beltre should be motivated to perform well for another contract. Kudos to Theo Epstein!
The other addition is having Victor Martinez for a full season, which will only be beneficial for the Red Sox. They badly needed someone to take over catching duties for the aging Jason Varitek. Martinez is a great hitter for a catcher and I can see Boston keeping him for quite a while.
4. St Louis Cardinals +1200
The last of the four favored teams. The reason the Cardinals are here can be summed up in three names: Pujols, Carpenter, and Wainwright. These three players are the engine that makes the Cardinals go—Pujols being the best hitter in baseball and Carpenter and Wainwright being two of the best pitchers.
Besides those three players, the Cards made two free agent signings that are expected to help them go far this year. Matt Holliday and Felipe Lopez.
Holliday came over to the Cardinals in a mid-season trade last season and he just raked for them. In 63 games for the Cardinals, Holliday hit .353 with 13 home runs, a .419 OBP and a 168 OPS+. Incredible numbers and a performance which fueled them into the postseason.
The Cardinals rewarded Holliday with a very long and lucrative contract for his efforts. Those stats were well above Holliday's career norms, though, and he should not be expected to repeat them.
He has always been a very good hitter, but many people still think he benefited from playing half his games in Denver. If you go and look at his splits from his time with the Rockies, you see these people might have a point. Holliday will perform well but the expectations should be reigned in.
Felipe Lopez was a recent signing by the Cardinals and they got him for a song. With two different teams last season, Lopez had his best statistical year ever. His posted career highs in batting average and OBP. Posting career numbers at the age of 29 makes you question if they were just an anomaly.
Lopez has always been a pretty good hitter but there is a reason he has been on six different teams in his career. He has always been rumored to have a questionable personality and if he was a good clubhouse presence then why did the Cardinals let him go before?
He did play in 43 games for them back in 2008.
So this was a breakdown of the four most favored teams to win the World Series in 2010. The Yankees seem like they have a great chance to repeat again. Only time will tell.