The Boston Red Sox are favored to win the 2018 World Series, according to betting lines released by OddsShark on Thursday.
Boston is favored at 4-1 (+400), followed by the Houston Astros at 5-1 (+500) and a pair of National League representatives in the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers at 6-1 (+600):
The Red Sox own the best record in Major League Baseball at 97-44, 9.5 games better than the Astros and New York Yankees.
The Cleveland Indians have held steady with 9-1 (+900) odds, while the struggling Yankees are now 19-2 (+950).
Provided New York hangs on and reaches the postseason, it will likely have to face the surging Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game.
Oakland took two out of three games from the Yanks in a series this week, and the A's are now 15-1 (+1,500) to win it all.
The Yankees figure to receive a substantial push in the coming weeks if outfielder Aaron Judge can return from a fractured wrist that has kept him on the disabled list.
If Boston ends its season on a torrid, 19-2 run, it will tie the 2001 Seattle Mariners for the best record in a 162-game season at 116-46.
Even if the Red Sox cool down the stretch, they make sense as the clear favorite due to their dominant offensive attack.
The Red Sox lead Major League Baseball with 766 runs scored and a .268 batting average, and they are second with a .338 on-base percentage.
Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are legitimate MVP candidates, while outfielder Andrew Benintendi and shortstop Xander Bogaerts are enjoying huge seasons as well.
Pitching is Boston's biggest question mark, especially since ace Chris Sale is currently on the DL with a shoulder injury.
The Astros haven't been quite as potent offensively as the Red Sox, but with a starting rotation of Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Gerrit Cole, they can match up with anyone come October.
The reigning World Series champions will become even more difficult to beat if starters Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. come off the DL and perform well, too.
Chicago makes sense as a co-favorite in the NL since it has the best record in the National League at 82-57, but the Dodgers are a somewhat strange choice alongside it.
L.A. is second in the NL West at 76-64, and it would not make the playoffs if the season ended today, as it trails the Colorado Rockies by 1.5 games in the division and the St. Louis Cardinals by two games for the final wild card.
The Dodgers are also only a half-game up on the Arizona Diamondbacks.
While the pecking order isn't as clear in the NL as it is in the AL, the odds show that both leagues have an abundance of talented teams capable of winning the World Series if things break their way.