Bet the Dodgers to Win the World Series

*Originally posted on the Sports Action Blog

I’m not usually a 'futures' bettor. Especially not on baseball. Baseball is about the only team sport where the best team doesn’t always win. But things seem to be changing recently. Over the last four years, three of the four teams who led a league in wins have won the World Series. Despite the new trend, there are no guarantees. But If there were ever a sure thing in baseball, the Dodgers winning the World Series this year appears to be it. Take it from Magic Johnson who said this a couple of days ago.

Magic knows winning and success. He’s got a statue outside of Staples Center, an arena where 16 championship banners hang. He’s ‘the guy’ in the LA. But why is it the Dodgers’ year?

Here’s a quick timeline of this season’s events from a gambling perspective:

  1. The Dodgers began the season as 10-1 favorites to win the World Series.
  2. The season began and they balled on everyone.
  3. They started yesterday as 3-1 favorites.
  4. They traded for Yu Darvish.
  5. They’re now 2-1 favorites to win the World Series, best odds of any team.

Darvish’s acquisition gives the Dodgers the only thing they’ve missed over the last few years in the playoffs – a dominating 1-2 pitching punch. Clayton Kershaw is 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. He’s the best pitcher in baseball and he’s having one of his best seasons. Pairing him with Yu Darvish, a strikeout machine, reminds me of other dominating playoff 1-2 combinations in recent memory like Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling, and Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner. They had Zack Greinke who was dominating. But take it from someone who witnessed Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine in the postseason on a yearly basis – John Smoltz was the best of those three in the playoffs because he was a power pitcher. Check out the stats on Kershaw and Darvish below courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info. Remember Darvish played in one of the worst parks for pitchers in history.

Kershaw is on the Disabled List now, but he’ll be back. It’s not that serious. Barring injuries (knock on wood), it’s very difficult to see how this doesn’t work out for Los Angeles.

The Dodgers already have a major league best 74-31 record, currently five games better than the second best team, the Houston Astros. Like I said earlier, three of the last four teams leading a league in wins has won the World Series. The Dodgers would fall into that category. They just find ways to win. I’m not a fan of Skip Bayless, but his phrase ‘clutch gene’ would apply to most of the players on this team. To that point, the Dodgers have 30 comeback wins and there are two months left in the season.

Some teams have good players and they win games. Other teams have good players who also have the intangibles that lead to walk-off wins and dominating performances. This team is the latter. If you have an old car sitting around or something like it, sell it and bet the Dodgers to win it all. They are this years’ Cubs – they’re the best team and they just got better. People in LA are already feeling like it’s 1988.