Betting the World SeriesApril 5, 2018
Yup, it’s that time again. Last night the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a few miscues by the Detroit Tigers and took the American League Championship series and are headed to the World Series. Go Boston. Unless of course you are a St. Louis Cardinals fan, then you want to see the Sox get washed. Go Cards.
The real question is where to put the bucks this year. Should you back Boston or St. Louis? Both teams won 97 games this year. Both teams scored the most runs during the regular season in their own league. Boston scored 70 more runs during the season than St. Louis. St. Louis gave up 60 fewer runs than Boston. This is a series of two very competent and very talented teams. The AP just said the Red Sox would be slight favorites. Not really.
In fact, now that the dust has settled a bit the Red Sox are -1.50 (you have to bet $15 to win $10) and the Cardinals are +1.35 (you bet $10 to win $13.50). That makes the Cards a small dog bet, but probably a bigger overlay. For those of you who know your casino terms, an overlay is when you get to make a wager with better odds than the math or probability predict the odds should be.
Are the Red Sox really 1.5x better than the Cards? Of course not, but the odds-makers have to set the line at a number that splits the overall wagers fairly evenly. What the +1.35 number on the Cards tells us is that there are a lot more Sox fans than Cards fans and a lot more money would be bet on the Sox if the odds truly reflected the likely outcome of the series.
For what it’s worth, the Red Sox started the season 28-1 to win the world series, the Cards were 20-1. Make up your own mind who to bet on the 2013 World Series, but don’t be surprised if the Fall Classic goes 7 very exciting games. Personally, I love dogs, especially when I think they are an overlay.