World Series odds: AL heavies well ahead of Cards, Nats

With first pitch of the National League Championship Series set for Friday night and the American League Championship Series to start a day later, bookmakers have updated their World Series odds — and the sharps are big on the AL teams.

Jose Altuve
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

According to Vegas Insider, the Houston Astros are now the favorites to win the baseball championship, at 6-5. Their ALCS opponent, the New York Yankees, are second at 3-1.

DraftKings has Houston at plus-120 (6-5) to win it all, while FanDuel lists the Astros at plus-110 (11-10). The Yankees are plus-250 (5-2) on DraftKings and plus-260 (13-5) on FanDuel.

Though the St. Louis Cardinals won the NL Central and have home-field advantage in the NLCS, the Washington Nationals are actually the betting favorite over the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series. Per Vegas Insider, the Nationals are at 4-1 while the Cardinals are at 6-1.

FanDuel and DraftKings have Washington at plus-450 (9-2) for a World Series title. The odds of St. Louis winning the Fall Classic are plus-500 (5-1) at FanDuel and plus-475 (19-4) at DraftKings.

The odds are very similar to where they stood when the playoffs started, relative to each team. When the Division Series began, Vegas Insider had the Astros favored to win it all at 7-5, while the Yankees were 3-1. The Nationals and Cards were again a far cry from the AL heavies, with Washington at 16-1 and St. Louis at 20-1.

The only wild-card team remaining, the Nationals give bettors plenty of reason for hope. They have arguably been in playoff-like situations the longest, they sport a dominant 1-2 punch on the mound in starters Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and they just knocked off the Dodgers, winning a do-or-die Game 5 of the NLDS in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

The Dodgers entered the playoffs as a bigger favorite than the Yankees, settling in behind the Astros at 5-2.

Houston isn’t hurting for pitching either, with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke giving the Astros the best starting three left in the playoffs. Cole in particular has been dominant, going 2-0 and giving up only one run in 15 2/3 innings over two starts in the ALDS, striking out 25 Tampa Bay batters and walking only three.

He went eight innings in the Astros’ 6-1 win over the Rays in the winner-take-all Game 5 on Thursday.

As for the ALCS and NLCS, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has Houston as a minus-185 favorite over New York, while a bettor can get the Yankees at a plus-155 price for the series. The Nationals are a minus-120 favorite over the Cardinals while St. Louis is an even-money bet to win the series.

FanDuel put Houston at minus-174 to reach the World Series, while DraftKings had the Astros at minus-175. The Yankees were plus-145 at DraftKings and plus-148 at FanDuel. For the NLCS, Washington was minus-125 at DraftKings and minus-134 at FanDuel, with St. Louis at plus-114 at FanDuel and plus-104 at DraftKings.

While the Astros and Yankees (vs. Minnesota) were heavy favorites in their Division Series, the Cardinals entered their series against Atlanta again as even-money underdogs (the Braves were minus-120) while the Nationals could be had at Westgate at +190. The Dodgers were minus-240 favorites.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)