2015 Major League Baseball Preview

February 6, 2015 •

Our Hot Future Predictions on the Upcoming MLB 2015 Season

2014 World SeriesIs winter over yet? Despite the Groundhog’s prediction of 6 more weeks of the cold stuff, it’s hard not to get that warm fuzzy feeling when the start of a new major league baseball season nears.

The MLB winter meetings got everyone revved up for what looks like to be an interesting 2015 season. Many teams made dramatic alterations to their rosters, and the bookmakers did their dance with numbers trying to keep up on odds for futures betting, on who will win the next World Series.

Believe it or not, now is the best time to get in on future wagers (or outrights, as they’re known in the UK) as bettors try to exploit an edge on odds they think the books may not have moved enough on. So many things can happen during the season that affects a team, like key injuries, big trades or coaching changes that either lift up or tear down a club’s chances at the championship.

Updated regularly throughout the season, future odds can provide some interesting opportunities for bettors. Slow starts for teams favored to win their division or title can decrease odds becoming more favorable to take if your feeling is that a certain team can turn around their season.With all this mind, we’re going to try to separate the contenders from the pretenders and look for the best value in current bookmakers’ odds for the new MLB season

Despite winning their third Word Series in five years, the Vegas odds set on the Giants is at 20/1. A higher ranked Dodgers who’ve spent over $250 million this offseason are the way-too obvious choice at 13/2. They also made the most intriguing moves during the winter meetings, as new president Andrew Friedman took out his chisel and started reshaping the core of this underwhelming team.

Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill’s top bookmaker said in an interview that:

“the Dodgers may have improved their chances by subtracting some of the elements that caused a dysfunctional locker room last season.” He stood behind his numbers. As to why they didn’t move them to overall favourite at 5/1 this year, he said, “I mean, you look at that roster last season and you say, ‘How did this team not win it all?’ They still have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball with the best pitcher (Clayton Kershaw), and pitching is what wins.”

In wake of a disappointing post-season, they let Hanley Ramirez sign with Boston. They also sent second baseman Dee Gordon packing, off to the Marlins in return for a top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney. Then immediately afterwards they turned around and used Heaney in a trade with the Angels to get second baseman Howie Kendrick, who has proven his steadfastness with the bat. They acquired shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies; and traded outfielder Matt Kemp to the Padres.

All these moves makes them a great bet for winning the NL pennant (odds 3/1) but the true value now is catching them at 13/2 for the World Series before the season starts, because we predict that Clayton Kershaw will finally come through in the postseason. Our longshot or dark horse team would be the Chicago White Sox at 20/1. GM Rick Hahn has been busy this winter and spent a lot of money ‘fixing’ the White Sox’s problems. What has he done? Well it was a frenetic offseason: He signed Melky Cabrera to three years at $42 million to improve their offense and buffer a weak outfield.

He added an excellent closer in David Robertson, lefties Zach Duke and Dan Jennings, now arguably making them one the best bullpens in the AL. Adam LaRoche will be teamed with AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu, and should give manager Robin Ventura a fresher version of the departed duo of Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko. To round it off, they added Jeff Samardzija in a trade from Oakland giving Chicago four solid starters including Jose Quintana, Chris Sale, and John Danks.

It’s these kinds of moves like Samardzija, and Robertson and a bit of some good ol’ fashioned luck that could push the White Sox into playoff contention, in the least, make them a out-of-left-field contender for one of the two wild-card spots. Hahn has done a very good job of rebuilding the team in quiet fashion, and with the AL East being the weakest it’s been in years, they should be a great postseason sleeper pick. Yes, the south siders are still far from perfect but they should make for an exciting run and have bettors closely watching their odds.

Our 2015 Picks:

Favourite: Los Angeles Dodgers 13/2    

Long-Shot: Chicago White Sox 20/1