Odds for 2012 World Series, Converted to Projections

Bodog has published their early odds for the winner of the 2012 World Series. I’ve included the odds for each of the 30 MLB teams below. I’ve also included the break-even (BE) point (i.e. the likelihood of winning above which a team must have in order for a bet to be profitable) and a generic “projected” probability (i.e. what the odds suggest is the likely chance of each team winning the World Series) calculated by scaling the total break-even percentage for all 30 teams to 100%.

Numbers after the jump. Note: I’ve assumed, as I believe is custom, that the bettor gets his original stake back in a winning bet. So if the odds are 4/1 — as they are for Philadelphia — the bettor receives $5 in return for a winning $1 bet, making the break-even point only 20%.

Team			Odds	BE	Proj%
Philadelphia Phillies	4/1	20.0%	14.2%
New York Yankees	13/2	13.3%	9.5%
Boston Red Sox		8/1	11.1%	7.9%
Texas Rangers		12/1	7.7%	5.5%
Detroit Tigers		14/1	6.7%	4.7%
St. Louis Cardinals	14/1	6.7%	4.7%
San Francisco Giants	16/1	5.9%	4.2%
Tampa Bay Rays		18/1	5.3%	3.7%
Atlanta Braves		18/1	5.3%	3.7%
Arizona Diamondbacks	20/1	4.8%	3.4%
Milwaukee Brewers	22/1	4.3%	3.1%
Chicago Cubs		25/1	3.8%	2.7%
Cincinnati Reds		25/1	3.8%	2.7%
Colorado Rockies	25/1	3.8%	2.7%
Los Angeles Angels	25/1	3.8%	2.7%
Los Angeles Dodgers	30/1	3.2%	2.3%
Florida Marlins		30/1	3.2%	2.3%
Chicago White Sox	30/1	3.2%	2.3%
Washington Nationals	30/1	3.2%	2.3%
Oakland Athletics	35/1	2.8%	2.0%
Toronto Blue Jays	35/1	2.8%	2.0%
Minnesota Twins		35/1	2.8%	2.0%
New York Mets		35/1	2.8%	2.0%
Cleveland Indians	50/1	2.0%	1.4%
Seattle Mariners	60/1	1.6%	1.2%
Pittsburgh Pirates	60/1	1.6%	1.2%
San Diego Padres	75/1	1.3%	0.9%
Baltimore Orioles	75/1	1.3%	0.9%
Kansas City Royals	75/1	1.3%	0.9%
Houston Astros		100/1	1.0%	0.7%

First Impressions:
• The Dodgers’ odds look inflated. Given that the chance of winning the Series is about 12.5% once a team makes the postseason, a 2.3% chance of winning the Series suggests they have close to a 20% of making the playoffs. That’s pretty high for a team that underwhelmed in 2011 and appears ready to give Juan Rivera ca. $4 million.
• The Angels’s projected odds, meanwhile, appear to underrate the team, which hovered near the top of the AL West well into September.
• The Royals and Indians are probably also underrated by this measure. Both teams are decently situated — the former because of its breadth of young talent, the latter for its starting pitching — to make a run at the AL Central title. Likewise, their divisional cohorts, the Tigers, are probably overvalued.




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


62 Responses to “Odds for 2012 World Series, Converted to Projections”

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  1. RMR says:

    Perhaps I’m a homer, but the Reds and Cubs have the same odds?

    +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Anon says:

      I agree.

      Also, Rays seem high to me. What odds do the Rays have to even make the playoffs with how the Red Sox and Yankees are ranked on this list?

      White Sox look low as well.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Telo says:

      Their pitching was an absolute disaster this year. But if they are even average on the mound they should definitely be higher, yep.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • kylemcg says:

      I am under the impression that betting odds are not based on actual predictions, but the expected betting behavior. Bodog’s ideal situation is to get proportional amounts of money on each bet, so that they don’t lose anything on any outcome.

      For instance if people from north of Madison Avenue are super silly and throw lots of money down on the Cubs, they need to adjust the odds to fit that betting pattern so that their books don’t get imbalanced.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • kylemcg says:

        Wow, posted this without reading the lower comments. There are people down there who explain betting odds much better than I did.

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    • MikeS says:

      The only statistical analysis this is based on is betting patterns. They want to attract equal money on all teams to maximize gain and minimize loss. Teams with large fanbases (Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs) will always have odds lower than they should be because they are going to get action on them so they don’t have to offer long odds. Teams with smaller fanbases will be longer shots than they should be.

      This is about who the betting public will place money on, not who has the best roster.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Jeffrey says:

    I’ll put 20 bucks down on the Cards to repeat please

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Anon says:

      Do it before Pujols signs. (Or if he signs elsewhere, do it after when the odds are much longer.)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Telo says:

        Yea, assuming pooholes re-signs, I’d say that does look like the best bet in the group.

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      • Matt says:

        A healthy Giants team has a better chance than the Cards, especially if they can resign Beltran and/or bring in a bat

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jerry says:

        Matt, what makes you say that? The Cardinals had the best offense in the league easily, are getting their best pitcher back, and have vastly improved a bullpen that cost them many games in the first half of the season. Certainly to my eye they look like the second best NL team.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • adr3 says:

        Yep….rarely does a world series winner add a 20-game winner. If Pujols comes back, this will be a solid team. The Cards also had long term injuries to Freese and Craig, and a few minor injuries to Holliday throughout last year, so the offense should actually be better in 2012. Add in a full year of Jason Motte, Lance Lynn, Eduardo Sanchez, and Marc Rzepcinski and it’s shaping up pretty well. So….get a decent manager and a pujols and they’re on to something.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. dan says:

    I think the “former” and “latter” in the last sentence are transposed. The Royals aren’t known for their pitching prowress.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Telo says:

    The only thing I really see wrong there is the Phillies being so high. 4-1 is silly.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. thegeniusking says:

    Bodog is just as bad at predictions as ESPN and all the other “experts” are. I got 25/1 and 20/1 odds on the Brewers and Cardinals respectively last March, and they’ll be sending me my $250 any day now. The fact that the Phils are favorites makes me laugh and laugh. Can I get odds on them not even making the postseason. 4 aces plus a pitiful lineup does not a champion make. Didn’t these dum dums learn anything from shit play they put up in the NLDS? That team is gonna be awful very soon.

    -21 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Chris says:

      I agree 4:1 is crazy, but I don’t see how it’s laughable or controversial for the team with the best record one year to be the favorite the next year.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Barkey Walker says:

        Because (per fan graphs) good relief pitching gives lower expected run rates that even Phillies aces.

        Aces make for a great regular season team, but don’t help as much in the postseason.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Dave says:

      The Phillies did score more runs per game than any team in the NL once Utley came back. Fact is, over a 162 game season they’re likely to be up there again, at least for another year. And we all know the playoffs are a glorified crap shoot. Their demise is going to come, yes, but Vegas tends to have a pretty good idea what a good bet is, and what isn’t. Making the Phillies a 15/1 or 20/1 shot because they’re “supposed to be bad soon” is how a casino loses a crap load of money.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kyle says:

      4 aces plus a pitiful lineup? Do you watch baseball? The San Francisco Giants, 2010 World Series Champions???

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. SC2GG says:

    In the same report, Bodog also posted odds of a particular player signing with a particular team.

    Who will sign Albert Pujols to his next contract?
    Chicago Cubs 7/4
    St. Louis Cardinals 2/1
    Los Angeles Angels 9/2
    Washington Nationals 7/1
    New York Yankees 12/1
    Boston Red Sox 12/1
    Los Angeles Dodgers 12/1
    San Francisco Giants 12/1
    Texas Rangers 15/1
    Toronto Blue Jays 30/1

    Too bad the Jays can’t put 25mil on Pujols signing with them, then give him 50mil/yr.

    +30 Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Hurtlocker says:

    As we have figured out over the last two years, odds of winning and getting into the playoffs are way different than actually winning the World Series.

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  8. Cliff says:

    Bodog is a square book and is not going to give you the most accurate odds. Pinnacle is the standard and where the big money goes- not sure if they have odds up yet. All books try to balance their bets, so a square book with low limits is going to get a lot of money from homers, which will skew the odds towards popular teams or whatever.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Teddy says:

    Seems like the best bets would be Texas, Tampa, and Atlanta. It would SHOCK me if Texas didn’t return to the playoffs in their weak division, and when teams make the playoffs, they win it all 12.5% of the time. Tampa looks to have a year of maturation from Desmond Jennings, and Matt Moore added to a superb rotation. The braves still look like they are a deep talented roster, who are underrated because of their collapse, though I admit I have a very limited knowledge of the NL because of my disdain for pitchers hitting.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Hurtlocker says:

      You actually like the DH????

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • SC2GG says:

        I don’t like the DH, but having and watching pitchers hit is far worse. It’s sort of like watching the Mariners.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Teddy says:

        Baseball players are professionals, they are the best. MLB pitchers are not professional hitters for a reason. I want to watch the best the game has to offer.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Barkey Walker says:

      As a Twins fan, I can assure you the 12.5% thing is BS.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt says:

      Agree re. Atlanta. I see this as a team ready to make the playoffs and, should that happen, make other teams scared with that shut-down bullpen. They have about two million trading chips in their system so if they need a bat at the deadline they can easily afford it.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Chair says:

    The Dodgers won 82 games in 2011, a 20% chance at the playoffs in 2012 doesn’t seem very far off to me at all. I’m more surprised by the Cubs chances.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Xeifrank says:

      Yeah, the analysis of the Dodgers not being worth the 2.3% was pitiful to say the least.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jerry says:

        Especially when they’re behind the Cubs, who have 3 teams comfortably ahead of them in their division (perhaps 4 if you believe the Pirates will keep improving). Dodgers actually look like a decent bet if you ask me.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Nate says:

    The Astros’ odds and projections both look low. That team must have <0.1% chance of winning. I'd beg their odds of winning 81+ games at 0.7%.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Ed Miller says:

    A sharp is someone who bets intelligently. A square is the opposite. A square book is one that discourages sharp action at the cost of getting less action overall. Sites that will book sharp action (like pinnacle) have sharper lines, lower vig, and so forth. Pinnacle, for instance, might let you bet against the phillies, a bet square books wouldn’t offer.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Ivdown says:

    I would argue the Dodgers have a much better chance than the Marlins, Nats, and White Sox, yet they are all the same odds. Rivera can be an average hitter in LF, something in which the Dodgers lacked for 2/3 of the season last year. If they can sign one other above average to great hitter, with their pitching they are definitely able to compete if they get even a competent lineup.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • John says:

      Juan Rivera of the 95 wRC+ over the last 5 seasons? Right…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Andre says:

        Um, isn’t 100 wRC+ the definition of average? 95 seems pretty darn close for a snarky comment like that

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ari Collins says:

        Depends on what kind of “average” you’re talking about. If you mean average for a hitter, sure, he’s almost average, though below and likely to get worse in his early 30s. But if you mean average hitter for a left-fielder, then heck no.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Brad Johnson says:

    I’d put some long shot money on the Blue Jays before the 2nd wild card is announced (if it happens). Honestly, they could compete if they make a big addition.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Gambler says:

    It’s very common that statistically minded people don’t quite understand spreads and odds in sporting. It’s because it doesn’t make sense in that light.

    The spread is by no means what point difference a bookie thinks the game will be near. It’s a number at which point he feels both sides will be bet evenly. Since every bookie ever pays out 10/11 or in that range, if both sides are bet perfectly evenly, he is guaranteed money. Hence, you’ll see a spread slide in one direction if it is getting heavy action on one side.

    Odds like these play in a similar manner. You’ll see big market teams get “unfairly” poor odds because bookies know there are more fans, therefore more homer, bandwagon fans, therefore more bets on those teams no matter how crappy the odds are.

    My favorite example is horse racing. Handicappers set some initial odds, but after a certain amount of betting, it is entirely pot-based. The track takes 15-25% of the winning bet, and the odds are entirely based off of how much of the total win/place/show/trifecta/whatever betting pool is on that horse/set of horses. If the handicappers do an awful job, you will see noticeably slower horses become the favorite, and when people who know little see that horse is the favorite, they bet on it, thus perpetuating its favorite status.

    Long story short: don’t gamble. Lots of people much smarter and more dedicated than you have tried, and they lost money, teeth, or both. The only exception being if an older you brings you a sports almanac that despite being only kind of big, contains every sports’ game and race results for 50 years. Then you should gamble.

    +11 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • kylemcg says:

      Good explanation.

      So these pot-based gambling odds are an instance of crowd-sourcing? Carson would appreciate that.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Jordan says:

    If these odds are actually being offered by anywhere that takes bets, the world’s richest people should line up to bet every penny against the Astros. Seriously, their odds of winning the world series have the be less than the odds of the sun exploding prior to the world series.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Barkey Walker says:

      This is from a betting site, but they don’t do shorts (and the odds don’t add up to 1, so you can’t simulate a short).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. baycomuter says:

    The Marlins could go on a spending spree, making them an overlay at 30-1. The Brewers also look like a decent bet at 22-1, they might be able to replace Fielder’s production elsewhere.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Dan G says:

    I’m a Red Sox fan and I don’t think that they are the third most likely team to win the WS next year. I see them closer to SF at 16-1. It is good to know that I am there are bigger homers out there than I.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. Ben says:

    20% seems like very reasonable odds for the Dodgers to make the playoffs next season. Your basis that that number is inflated on the Juan Rivera signing is pretty ludicrous.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ari Collins says:

      His point in bringing up Juan Rivera is that the other four teams in the division are going to be spending money and upgrading, while the Dodgers mostly tread water with signings like Juan Rivera.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. JG says:

    Tigers overvalued? They’re pretty close to correct with those odds. The Tigers are losing nothing of importance (actually losing a couple players who contributed significant negative WAR), have only one major contributor over 30, and were clearly the class of the division by far (even moreso next year with a full year of Doug Fister instead of a half season of scrubs/Phil Coke in the rotation). The Royals and Indians are going to need a massive turnaround and a huge Tigers collapse to seriously contend next year, and the stats this season don’t suggest that at all (come on, the WAR of Verlander and Miggy combined is less than their final lead in the division this year!)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt says:

      I’d be scared to assume a repeat from Verlander and a full season of Fister at the pace he was going while in Detroit. This is just very, very unlikely. You have to expect some regression towards the mean here for these players. Furthermore, guys like Avila and Peralta and VMart and MCabrera could all regress a tick and it would not be a shock. Combine that with a nice season by CHW or maybe even CLE (maybe they beat their pythagorean win total by 4 or 5 games) and someone else could take this division with 85 – 87 wins.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • JG says:

        On the flip side, the other half of the 4 Tigers’ SP that will be in common from this year to the next had significantly better peripherals than ERA. Scherzer in particular is due some serious positive regression. It’s very hard to find a team with major contributors who were all extremely lucky and the Tigers are no exception.

        Additionally, Verlander with regression is still a top tier ace; don’t forget that he is second only to Halladay in WAR since 2009. I think his baseline is elite even if his ERA was a bit low this year – SIERA, tERA, FIP, etc. all agree with this.

        Avila and Peralta will probably regress a bit due to BABIP or unusually good fielding respectively, but there’s nothing to suggest they won’t be solid-to-AS caliber players next year. Avila is also due some regression in his surprisingly low HR/FB (is there a hittracker-like stat showing warning track flyouts?).

        Cabrera: Again, his baseline is elite; he has the 4.5th best WAR over the past three seasons. This was his best season, but he’s also in his early physical prime.

        Fister/VMart: Still projected to be good players without abnormally good luck. Not exactly flash in the pan types.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Bill says:

    I don’t know if the Nationals will win the series, but I think we’ll win the wild card. Strasburg, J. Zimmerman, Wang, R. Zimmerman, Morse, Werth…the list goes on and on. Watch out, everyone. Can’t argue that we’re on the rise. We’ve added ten more wins onto our yearly total two years straight now. Ten more next year would get us to 90 — that’s good enough for the W.C. Go Nats!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. Matt says:

    . . . you just called bingo, Bill – this team has great odds at 30:1. They seem willing to spend the dough, and the addition of another proven vet may be coming. Maybe Prince Fielder? Would not shock me at all.

    They have the makings of a very nice 1-2 at the top of their rotation, and the back of the bullpen is terrific. There is also room for growth from Espinosa, Desmond, Werth, plus a bounce-back to health by Ryan Zimmerman. These guys, along with Atlanta, are my 2 sleepers for next year. Problem is they are in the same division as Philly, but I still like one of WASH or ATL to make the playoffs.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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