The World Series marks the culmination of the lengthy MLB season. The pennant winners from the American and National leagues square off in a best-of-seven duel to determine a champion. Affectionately known as the Fall Classic, it’s filled with history and excitement.
The anticipation is always high, but interest will increase because it’s legal and safe to bet on the World Series in several states, including Illinois. Our complete guide to World Series betting will explain what bets you can place and how the odds work and direct you to the best places to bet on the Fall Classic.
The Illinois sports betting marketplace has been growing by leaps and bounds. Bettors have several options for where to take their business, though some are better than others. Here are our top three picks for betting on the World Series:
DraftKings online sportsbook has emerged as a go-to destination for betting on baseball games. The platform is slick and filled with features. You’ll find an outstanding live betting experience on the app and online:
There’s a lot to love about BetMGM online sportsbook, including odds and lines that are always competitive. It’s available for web and app users with all the betting types you could need for World Series wagering:
FanDuel online sportsbook is another operator that has quickly become a market leader in sports betting. It’s a user-friendly platform and has innovative offerings, such as single-game parlays. Here are some other highlights:
There are several ways to bet on the World Series. You can focus on each game’s outcome, live bet as the action plays out, and even make your predictions beforehand. Here are the top ways to get in the game:
While you can certainly focus on one of the main ways, there’s a lot to be said to spread out your betting risk and explore various World Series betting markets. You could make one bet type your priority while allocating the rest of your bankroll in other areas.
For every MLB game, including the World Series, sportsbooks will post the odds. The main listing for the games will look something like this:
|Chicago White Sox||+120||+1.5 (-110)||O 8.5 (-110)|
|Chicago Cubs||-130||-1.5 (-110)||U 8.5 (-110)|
Next to the two names is a series of numbers representing the odds and lines for the big three-bet types: moneyline, run line and totals. Here’s how they work.
Beyond the game outcome, you can also get even closer to the action with props and live betting. Props are like side bets on the game. Many of them revolve around individual player performances, such as:
Live betting lets you place bets in real-time as the game plays out. There will be updated lines for the main bet types, as well as opportunities to bet on smaller snippets of the game.
In short, you’ll have lots of opportunities to explore for each game of the World Series. The Fall Classic happens at a busy time for sportsbooks, but you can rest assured that you won’t lack options.
You can bet on the winner of the next World Series all year round. The futures market makes it possible. Odds for the next edition are released soon after the current one is in the books. There will be numbers for all 30 MLB teams, ranging from favorites to long-shots.
As bets come in, the World Series odds may fluctuate in response. Many bettors stay engaged throughout the season to find the best prices on certain squads. When you visit the board, you might see odds that look like this for a few favorites:
|Los Angeles Dodgers +400|
|New York Yankees +550|
|Atlanta Braves +900|
You can make some lucrative returns when you make the right call with futures. For example, if you place a $100 bet on the Braves at odds of +900 and they go on to win, you’re looking at $900 in profit coming your way.
Futures require a long-range perspective, so it’s important to only wager with funds you can afford to have tied up for a while as bets aren’t settled until a champ is crowned. In the unlikely event of a complete cancellation of an entire MLB season, futures bets will be voided with wager amounts returned to bettors.
As you look forward to a season ahead, it’s normal to attempt to project how things might play out. Oddsmakers at the sportsbooks do the same thing, and they release their findings to the public in the form of betting lines.
The oddsmakers have a wealth of data at their disposal when setting the numbers. They’re going through every factor you can think of to find the most likely outcome. Of course, the betting public won’t always agree, and that’s where line movement comes in.
If one team sees lots of action come in, the odds for that club may be reduced. For the squads that aren’t getting much attention, the odds can lengthen even further. For sportsbooks, the goal is to reduce liability on their end while evening out the action as best as possible.
Bettors can also take advantage of the movements by doing a little line shopping. By checking the prices at multiple books, you can zero in on the most attractive opportunities before actually placing your bets.
So, which teams appear to be in line for a run toward a World Series win in 2021? If we take a gander at the futures market, we find the following clubs at the top of the board.
The Dodgers won it all in 2020, the team’s first World Series crown since 1988. A lineup that’s laden with talent, an impressive rotation, depth on the bench and in the bullpen add up to a team that could potentially repeat. The betting market concurs as the Dodgers are at the top of the futures odds board.
The Yankees were expected to advance to the World Series last season, but the Tampa Bay Rays had something to say about that in the ALDS. A potent lineup will once again lead the way, while there’s plenty of talent to be found on the hill and in the bullpen. New York is hunting for its first title since 2009.
The Braves fell to the Dodgers in a thrilling seven-game NLCS last time around. The stinging defeat led the club into the offseason on a down note, but it can also serve as more fuel for the fire in 2021. As with the other two favorites, Atlanta brings plenty to the table with offense and pitching.
The Yankees are the favorites on the AL side, but the league as a whole is deep with several viable contenders. Here’s a trio that could make some serious noise in 2021.
The Rays stunned the Astros with a seven-game in the ALCS last year to complete an unexpected run to reach the World Series. This is a well-run club who knows how to maximize its roster while filling in gaps where needed. The Yankees may be the favorite, but the Rays will have lots to say about how the AL plays out.
Chicago was bounced in the wild card round by the Oakland Athletics last season, but the year as a whole was still a step in the right direction. Jose Abreu took down the AL MVP award and leads a talented offense, and the “Pale Hose” added Lance Lynn via trade to shore up its starting pitching depth.
The World Series champs of 2017 and runners-up in 2019 remain one of the most talented teams in MLB. A defeat in last year’s ALCS left the Astros with plenty to think about in the offseason. There may be some moving pieces in free agency, but Houston looks poised to be a top contender once again.
Once you get past the Dodgers and Braves, some other intriguing squads could be in line for a lengthy stay in the postseason. Here are three to keep in mind.
The Padres made it to the NLDS last season before being swept by the Dodgers. The club has made some substantial investments in free agents in recent years, and it’s beginning to bear fruit. Manny Machado and company lead the way on offense, but some help may be needed on the mound to take the next step.
It has been a tough few years for the Mets. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2016, but help is on the way in the form of new owner Steve Cohen, who has pledged to do whatever it takes to bring a winner to New York. We’ll patiently wait to see what moves are made, but the Mets are already a team to watch in 2021.
Since finally winning the World Series in 2016, the Chicago Cubs haven’t been able to make it back to the Fall Classic. That’s not due to a lack of talent. Chicago has a solid array of bats and arms, but additional changes may be needed to get back over the hump. For now, the team is at least in the mix on the NL side of the equation.
If you can find a dark horse that goes on to win the World Series, you could be in for quite the score in the futures market. Here’s a club from both leagues worthy of your consideration as you explore World Series futures opportunities.
The 2019 World Series champs had a tough time in the condensed 2020 campaign. The club finished last in the NL East and missed the postseason altogether. There’s still pop in the lineup and a bevy of arms led by Max Scherzer, so a quick bounce back is certainly within reason.
The Blue Jays snagged a wild card berth for the expanded playoffs in 2020, but the Rays made quick work of them. The taste of the postseason could be enough to inspire additional strides from this squad that features an intriguing mix of productive veterans and youngsters.
Beginning in 1903, the pennant winners of the American and National leagues have met in the World Series. It has been held annually ever since, except in 1904 and 1994. On an all-time basis, the AL holds a 66-50 advantage.
Through the years, there have been periods of dominance for both sides. For example, the AL won every year from 1947 through 1953, while the NL did the same from 1979-82. Since the turn of the century, things have been pretty even.
In 2021, the futures market has a pair of NL teams — Dodgers and Braves — as two of the top three favorites. The Yankees are the top favorite on the AL side.
All but one of the 30 current MLB teams have made it to the World Series at least once. The Seattle Mariners are the lone franchise in that category. For the rest of the clubs, some have made frequent appearances in the Fall Classic. Others? Not so much. Here’s the full list of World Series records by the team, along with their last appearance and how it went.
|New York Yankees||40||27-13||2009-W|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||21||7-14||2020-W|
|San Francisco Giants||20||8-12||2014-W|
|St. Louis Cardinals||19||11-8||2013-L|
|Boston Red Sox||13||9-4||2018-W|
|Chicago White Sox||5||3-2||2005-W|
|New York Mets||5||2-3||2015-L|
|Kansas City Royals||4||2-2||2015-W|
|Toronto Blue Jays||2||2-0||1993-W|
|Sand Diego Padres||2||0-2||1998-L|
|Tampa Bay Rays||2||0-2||2020-L|
|Los Angeles Anges||1||1-0||2002-W|
The stakes may be much higher for the players come World Series time, but you can lean on the same handicapping principles for betting on the games. You’ll want to research the matchups from top to bottom, study the odds, look for edges and much more. Beyond the basics, here are some other tips to keep in mind for World Series betting:
Anticipation for the World Series grows stronger as the season moves along, while the futures market keeps interest high nearly all year round. Finding the winner ahead of time is far from easy, but some solid clues have been left behind by previous Fall Classic winners.
For decades, the Cubs held the mantle of the team with the longest World Series drought. The monkey is now off of the back, but there’s not a ton of success to be found from previous World Series appearances on an overall basis.
The Cubs won the 2016 series in seven games over the Cleveland Indians. Ben Zobrist was named MVP for the club’s first title since 1908. The team has made it to the postseason in three of four seasons since that point, most recently losing to the Marlins in the 2020 wild card round.
The White Sox also had quite the drought on the title front that ran into the current century, but they managed to snap the streak before their crosstown rivals did. Like the Cubs, there hasn’t been a lot of World Series victories.
The 2005 edition of the White Sox swept the Astros, who were in the NL at the time, in four games to win the franchise’s first title since 1917. Jermaine Dye was awarded series MVP honors. The club’s most recent postseason came in 2020 with a loss in the wild card round. That was the first time the White Sox made the playoffs since 2008.
The two Chicago clubs take up residence in opposite leagues with the Cubs in the NL and the White Sox in the AL, so they could meet in the Fall Classic someday. Looking ahead to 2021, they are both among the top few favorites in their respective leagues, so we’ll see if a Windy City World Series finally materializes.
It has been 20 years since we had a repeat World Series winner. The New York Yankees won three in a row from 1998-2000. Before that, the Toronto Blue Jays won two in a row from 1992-93. All told, it has only happened 14 times in MLB history. In recent times, the San Francisco Giants have come the closest, winning three out of five series from 2010-14.
Heading into the 2020 season, the format was expected to remain the same as it had since 2012: three division winners and two wild cards from each league advanced to the postseason. The 2020 campaign wound up being condensed with the postseason format altered to include a total of 16 teams. There has been debate about expanding the annual field to 14 teams – seven from each league — but nothing has been finalized as of this writing.
Opening Day of the next MLB season is penciled in for April 1, 2021. The year will get underway with all 30 teams slated to play on day one. The Cubs are scheduled to open the year at home with a visit from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The White Sox kick things off by hitting the road to face the Los Angeles Angels.
This was a meeting of the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds that was won by the former. Unfortunately, this series is notable for much more than the final results. A scandal erupted in which the White Sox were accused of conspiring with gamblers to ‘fix’ the series by throwing games. After a lengthy investigation, eight members of the White Sox were permanently banned from MLB. In the aftermath, the events have often been referred to as the Black Sox Scandal.