Our Predictions for the 2021 World Series

min read
BetMGM Jun 16, 2021, 2:20 PM
 The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate winning the 2020 MLB World Series. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
(Photo by M.Haffey/Getty Images)

The 2020 Major League Baseball season was one to remember. The coronavirus pandemic shortened the regular season to 60 games and an expanded 16-team postseason and sent chaos throughout the league, but in the end, the Los Angeles Dodgers were crowned World Series champions. Will the Dodgers repeat in 2021, or will another team win it all?

When it comes to online sports betting, the end of one season is just the beginning of the next one. Before the champagne had even dried on the Dodgers uniforms, oddsmakers were already posting MLB betting futures markets for the 2021 World Series. The Dodgers are favorites to repeat, but the New York Yankees are close behind, and it’s anyone’s game to win in a new season where everyone starts back at 0–0 with everything to play for.

So who will win the 2021 World Series? Let’s run through what to watch for on the hot stove this winter and then take a look at every team in both the American League (AL) and National League (NL) with a look toward the next Fall Classic.

Free Agency and the MLB Hot Stove

Before we get to the 2021 regular-season games next spring — and it remains to be seen exactly when those games will happen and what the season will look like as the pandemic rages on — many key players will find new homes as the playoff picture slowly takes shape.

We’ll see what the pandemic does to the hot stove. Many teams took big losses with the lack of fans in the stands all season, but free agency is always about the future, and there are some big names on the market. We’ve already seen free agency play out in basketball and football, and teams were not afraid to spend to improve their roster, even with all the uncertainty during the pandemic.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto may be the crown jewel of free agency since it’s never easy to find such a good bat behind the plate. Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman head an excellent class of pitchers, while George Springer and Marcell Ozuna will be flashy additions to some team’s outfield. D.J. LaMaheiu could be some team’s Ben Zobrist too with his positional flexibility and versatility.

Philadelphia Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto hits the ball. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

If your favorite team is looking for a shortstop, this could be the offseason to grab a new starter. Marcus Semien and Didi Gregorius are marquee free agent names at short, while Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor is widely expected to be on the trade market. Ha-Seong Kim also looks likely to come over for the Korea Baseball Organization, and he’ll be a hot shortstop name on the market after Americans spent their late nights watching the KBO during the pandemic.

There are plenty of other names up in the air as well. Remember the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs? Theo Epstein is gone now, and no one will be surprised if most of the core of that championship team finds a new home this winter. That could include names like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jon Lester, and Jake Arrieta, along with newer additions like Cole Hamels and Jose Quintana.

And, of course, some players will retire, while others may choose to opt-out of the season as the pandemic continues to make life difficult.

There’s only so much we know right now. But given what we know, let’s take a look at each team in every division, listed in order of World Series odds, and see how things look as the calendar turns to December.

American League East

New York Yankees +600

The Bronx Bombers will always be a betting favorite because of their status as America’s Team. The Yankees are the second favorite, just barely behind the Dodgers, so you’re buying them at their peak MLB odds at +600. The Yankees lineup is loaded as always with big bats like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gleyber Torres leading the way. Any one of the three could lead the league in home runs or emerge as an MVP candidate. The big question will be the pitching staff. Gerritt Cole was awesome as expected with a 0.959 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched), but the rest of the rotation has a lot of holes. At least it does until the Yankees open up their wallets in free agency. The Yankees will no doubt be major favorites again when the season opens. They are a near lock to make the playoffs and have made the American League Championship Series in five of the past 11 seasons but haven’t made the World Series since winning it in 2009.

Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees leaves the field. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
(Photo by Gerrit Cole/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Rays +1200

The Rays came two wins away from their first-ever World Series in October, and they have a young and talented team that will certainly have a chance to get back. Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell lead a deep and talented pitching rotation, and manager Kevin Cash typically pulls all the right strings with his unique moves. The Rays 2020 lineup was built around Brandon Lowe’s 14 home runs in the regular season, but Lowe went silent in the playoffs as rookie Randy Arozarena exploded for a record 10 playoff home runs. Arozarena was arrested in Mexico in late November but was released without charges. If he takes another step forward, he could be an MVP candidate and push the Rays to the next level.

Toronto Blue Jays +4000

The Blue Jays are a fun young team on the rise and surprised many by sneaking into the 2020 playoffs, but they have a long way to go before truly contending for a World Series championship. If you grew up watching baseball in the 90s, you’ll enjoy watching the Blue Jays with names like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio leading the way. Their odds to make the playoffs again are likely more appealing than their chances of winning it all, but it will be a tough task either way in this division.

Boston Red Sox +5000

The Red Sox are officially in rebuilding mode and finished dead last in the AL East in 2020, behind even the moribund Orioles. It was a tough season for Boston fans, who saw their superstar Mookie Betts traded away to the Dodgers and go on to lead them to a World Series championship. The Red Sox rotation is a disaster right now, and the team is a long way from contention. Free agency should help if Boston opens its pocketbooks, but it’s too steep a task.

Baltimore Orioles +8000

The Orioles are forever rebuilding but did get double-digit home run seasons from Renato Nunez and Anthony Santander. Their lineup should get a boost when Adley Rutschman and Trey Mancini join the team sometime in 2021, but the O’s are a long way from contention.

American League Central

Chicago White Sox +1000

The White Sox were the breakout team of 2020 and have the second-best MLB odds of winning the American League pennant. The Sox got a massive season out of MVP Jose Abreu, who put up 19 homers and 60 RBI in the shortened regular season. Tim Anderson nearly won the batting title, and Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada are on the way up. The rotation is also pretty strong, with Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel leading the way, and Chicago will get a boost from the return of Michael Kopech. The Sox look like a team on the rise, and Nick Madrigal and Luis Robert could be the next young players to break out. Chicago is no longer a sleeper. They’re the real deal now and will be a popular pick to break through. Can new manager Tony La Russa take them to the next level?

Jimmy Cordero of the Chicago White Sox throws a pitch. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Minnesota Twins +1600

The Twins won a hotly contested AL Central in 2020, beating out the White Sox and Indians by just one game each. The Bomba Squad was back again, with Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Eddie Rosario each recording at least 13 home runs for Minnesota before the bats went silent again in the playoffs. And therein lies the problem for the Twins. Minnesota has now lost 17 consecutive playoff games, with their last postseason win way back in 2004. Can you really count on them to go from a 17-game losing streak to winning nearly that many games in a single postseason?

Cleveland Indians +2500

It looks like Francisco Lindor will be traded, so the Indians will rely heavily on star pitchers Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, and Zach Plesac and a welcome return to a pitchers’ ballpark at Progressive Field in Cleveland. At the Jake, WHIP pushes things in the pitchers’ favor, and manager Terry Francona will lead Cleveland onward once again. If Jose Ramirez has another MVP contender season at the hot corner and helps end Cleveland’s World Series drought, the 2021 Indians season will live on in infamy.

Detroit Tigers +8000

The Tigers had the third-worst record in baseball in 2020, but this is a young team moving in the right direction. First baseman Jeimer Candelario was a breakout star in 2020, and the pitching rotation is really starting to take shape with Matthew Boyd, Spencer Turnbull, Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, and Michael Fulmer. Detroit could be a sneaky playoff long shot, but it’s a season or three too early to hope for a World Series.

Kansas City Royals +10000

The Royals look nothing like the team that appeared in back-to-back World Series in 2014 and 2015, back to rebuilding once again. Fun fact: The last three times the Royals made the playoffs, they played in the World Series, winning twice in 2015 and 1985.

American League West

Oakland Athletics +1600

The Athletics won the AL West comfortably in 2020, and this is probably the worst division in baseball right now, but the A’s look like a team in transition. Marcus Semien is a free agent and probably won’t be back, and Oakland’s strong pitching squad will likely turn over quite a bit too. Billy Beane’s stuff doesn’t work in the playoffs, and with the fourth-best odds in the AL, Oakland looks like a team to fade.

Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano celebrates a solo home run. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Houston Astros +2200

The Astros had a disastrous 2020 with a scandal that rocked the franchise and a poor regular season that saw the team finish the year under .500. But the expanded playoffs meant that Houston snuck in at 29–31, and then they shocked the Twins and A’s in the playoffs and came within a game of the World Series again. It remains to be seen if George Springer and Michael Brantley will be back, but with Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman around and the disastrous 2020 behind them, and in a very weak division, the Astros look like a nice sleeper at this number if you can stomach it.

Los Angeles Angels +5000

This was supposed to be the year for the Angels, but when isn’t that the case? The arrival of manager Joe Madden didn’t solve things as the Angels went under .500 and missed the playoffs again. The Angels still have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout, while Anthony Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, Andrelton Simmons, and Justin Upton complete what should be a fearsome lineup, even with Albert Pujols now a shell of what he once was. The Angels need a lot of help in the bullpen and back end of the rotation, but LA has a lot of money and could be a couple of big names from making these +5000 MLB betting lines look awfully tasty.

Seattle Mariners +8000

The Mariners are deep in rebuilding mode and a long way from contention right now. Center fielder Kyle Lewis was a finalist for AL rookie of the Year, and Jarred Kelenic should burst onto the scene soon enough, but Seattle has a long way to go before they are relevant again.

Texas Rangers +10000

The Rangers had the worst 2020 record in the American League at 22–38, and it was a lost season as Texas opened its new stadium at Globe Life Field in Arlington. With names like Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor, and Joey Gallo at the heart of the lineup, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Texas put up some runs. But the pitching rotation is among the worst in baseball, so let’s just say Globe Life won’t see a return of the World Series anytime soon.

National League East

Atlanta Braves +1000

The Braves were the second-best team in the National League all season and open tied for the second-best World Series odds in the NL and tied for third-best in MLB. Atlanta was on the cusp of the World Series, up 3–1 on the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series before things fell apart. The Braves will likely lose Marcell Ozuna but have won the NL East three straight seasons, and they have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball with Max Fried and Ian Anderson leading the way, and Mike Soroka expected to return from an injured Achilles.

And, of course, they still have reigning MVP Freddie Freeman at the heart of the lineup. Even without Ozuna, the Braves are a strong pick to make another playoff run in 2021.

Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides towards the plate against Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves. Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

New York Mets +1800

The Mets went 26–34 in 2020, but hope springs eternal, especially with new owner Steve Cohen expected to make a major splash soon. The Mets are expected to be major players in the free agency market, which could mean a marquee starter to add to perennial Cy Young contender Jacob deGrom and, hopefully, Noah Syndergaard once he returns. New York could also add a couple of key bats and already have Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto as a strong 1–2 punch at the heart of the lineup. The Mets may be this year’s biggest offseason team to watch. If you bet on the Mets, you’re betting on what they’ll become once all the moves are made, not what they are right now.

Be careful, though. You’re gambling on unknown potential right now. The right trades or signings could push the Mets to half these odds, but they’re barely playoff contenders as things stand right now.

Philadelphia Phillies +3000

The Phillies had a disappointing 2020 season, surprisingly missing the playoffs and finishing under .500. Now they’re something of a team in transition, and the big winter news will be whether Philadelphia is able to retain J.T. Realmuto at catcher. The Phillies could also lose other key contributors like Didi Gregorius and Jake Arrieta. Can Bryce Harper return to MVP form and push the Phillies back into contention? They are a team with many question marks.

Washington Nationals +3500

The Nationals were the defending world champions in 2020, but they had a very disappointing season and dealt with a slew of injuries and pandemic opt-outs. That could make Washington a very intriguing bounce-back sleeper in 2021. Juan Soto and Trea Turner took big steps forward, and Max Scherzer is still as good as anyone at the top of the rotation. But the rest of the rotation is a question mark now, and the Nats badly need a return to form from Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, and they never really replaced Anthony Rendon in the middle of the lineup. The core of the World Series roster is still mostly intact, so this could be an intriguing sleeper at +3500 MLB betting lines.

Miami Marlins +8000

The Marlins entered the 2020 season with the longest odds of any team, then battled through a coronavirus outbreak early in the season, so it was shocking to see Miami emerge as a playoff team. Not many in online betting believe in the Marlins, though, making them long odds again. Miami is building an impressive pitching rotation with Sixto Sanchez, Sandy Alcantara, and Elieser Hernandez, but the lineup has a long way to go.

National League Central

Cincinnati Reds +2000

The NL Central was the most competitive division in baseball in 2020, with four of the five teams making the playoffs. The Reds got a monster Cy Young season out of Trevor Bauer, who struck out 100 batters and posted a 1.73 ERA with a 0.795 WHIP to lead the way for Cincinnati. But Bauer is a free agent now and the biggest pitching name on the market. What will Cincinnati look like if Bauer ends up elsewhere? Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo may not be ready to lead the top of a rotation, and the Reds lineup outperformed expectations in 2020. This team could take a real step back if Bauer leaves.

Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. with his team after a game. Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Chicago Cubs +2800

The Cubs are a strong candidate to take a major step back in 2020. Theo Epstein is gone now, and it looks like the core of the team could be gone before the first pitch is thrown in spring 2021. Kris Bryant is a very likely trade candidate, and longtime veteran first baseman Anthony Rizzo could leave, along with most of the pitching rotation. The Cubs look much more likely to move toward a rebuild at this point than to invest in improving the team. It’s still a very talented team, but this may not be the year to bet on Chicago grabbing another World Series win.

St. Louis Cardinals +3000

The Cardinals had a really difficult season, fighting through a midseason team Coronavirus outbreak, and were not even able to finish all 60 games. The lineup struggled to connect all season, and key hitters like Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter had disappointing seasons compared to the usual standards. But the Cards made the playoffs anyway, thanks largely to a terrific rotation led by Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson, and Kwang Hyun Kim. Wainwright is a free agent, but if he returns and St. Louis gets Jack Flaherty back, too, the Cardinals could have serious value at this price.

Milwaukee Brewers +3000

The Brewers were the fourth playoff team out of the NL Central, sneaking in as the 8-seed despite a sub-.500 season. The Brewers should get more from their bats this season. Christian Yelich did not live up to his MVP form, with a meager .205 batting average, but he should bounce back, and the Brewers will expect the return of Lorenzo Cain after he did not play in 2020. Add in Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, along with closer Josh Hader in the bullpen, and the Brewers have a lot of pieces in place to have a big year as a sleeper. Don’t be surprised if the Cardinals or Brewers defy MLB betting odds and make a run to the World Series.

Pittsburgh Pirates +15000

The Pirates are the “other” team in the NL Central. Pittsburgh fans can get excited about breakout third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, but the team is a long way from relevancy and playing in a loaded division. Pittsburgh has the longest World Series odds in baseball for good reason.

National League West

Los Angeles Dodgers +400

The Dodgers are the reigning world champions and open as betting favorites heading into the 2021 season, and they certainly should be. Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen lead the way among pitchers, but LA has a ton of young arms like Julio Urias, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and others to throw at opponents. The lineup returns most of the usual suspects, with Corey Seager, Mookie Betts, and Cody Bellinger leading the way. LA could have to replace Justin Turner at the hot corner if he leaves in free agency, but the Dodgers are always a threat to add a big name or two as well. If you are looking for the favorite, you just found them. The Dodgers have an excellent chance of repeating in 2021, and the road to a championship will almost certainly come through Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner smiles as he runs. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

San Diego Padres +1000

The Padres are one of the most exciting young teams in baseball. They were the big breakout team in the National League in 2020, making the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and winning a playoff series for the first time since making the World Series in 1998. San Diego is built around a star trio of bats in Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Wil Myers, and Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet gave the Padres a lot of bang at the top of the pitching rotation. San Diego will also add Mackenzie Gore to the rotation sometime soon, so the Padres will continue to be trendy sleepers. Unfortunately, you’re paying for the hype at +1000, and with the Dodgers still at the top of the division, this may not be the best bang for your buck.

San Francisco Giants +8000

The Giants missed out on the playoffs in 2020 by a tiebreaker, but this is no longer the team that used to contend for the World Series year after year. San Francisco needs a bounce-back year from Johnny Cueto, and they also need a healthy year out of Brandon Belt. Can Brandon Crawford help get the Giants back on track? These are pretty long odds for San Francisco, but with the Dodgers and Padres in the division, it’ll be a tough climb.

Colorado Rockies +8000

The Rockies look like a team to stay away from for now until you know more after the winter. Nolen Arenado and Trevor Story are stars, but both of them are potentially just one year away from free agency. Since Colorado doesn’t have a ton of help around them, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Rockies trade one or both soon and move toward more of a rebuilding phase.

Arizona Diamondbacks +10000

The Diamondbacks saw a ton of turnover last summer. They should be a bit steadier next season, but that’s probably not the best news for a team deep in a rebuilding stage. Arizona will hope for more from Kole Calhoun, who surprisingly popped 16 home runs in 2020, and they need Madison Bumgarner to bounce back and support Zac Gallen at the top of the rotation.

Daulton Varsho 12 and Ketel Marte of the Diamondbacks bump fists. Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

2021 Playoff Predictions and Picks

It’s far too soon to tell what the 2021 playoff race will look like at this point. We don’t even know when the season will begin yet, how many games will be played, or how many teams will make the playoffs. All of that depends on how the pandemic shapes things moving forward.

The Dodgers and Yankees are deserving favorites, and the teams have met in the World Series many times over the years, but will they get there in 2021? Here’s one possible way the playoffs could play out, starting from the final four teams in the NL and AL and going forward:

Division Series

Chicago White Sox over Houston Astros

New York Yankees over Tampa Bay Rays

Los Angeles Dodgers over Milwaukee Brewers

St. Louis Cardinals over Washington Nationals

League Championship Series

Chicago White Sox over New York Yankees

St. Louis Cardinals over Los Angeles Dodgers

World Series

St. Louis Cardinals over Chicago White Sox in 6

The St. Louis Cardinals celebrating after a win. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Place Your 2021 MLB Bets at BetMGM

The 2020 season was a strange one, with the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the schedule, available players, and game format. It remains to be seen what the 2021 MLB season will look like, but there should be some return to normalcy and another chance to bet on a new world champion.

In the world of online sports betting, yesterday’s news is never as important as tomorrow’s winning picks. With so many MLB betting lines already posted for the new season, now is the time to make your early World Series pick and jump on those great long-shot odds for your favorite sleeper before everyone else catches on.

The Dodgers and Yankees are favorites again, and the favorite won in 2020. Will Los Angeles repeat in 2021? Will it be one of the young up-and-coming teams like the Padres or White Sox? Could the Rays get back and finish the job, or maybe the Nationals will bounce back and reclaim their throne? Maybe it will be some other team that didn’t even make the playoffs in 2020. The beauty of the MLB offseason is that anything is possible.

When you place your early bets on the 2021 World Series champion, you can trust BetMGM to have the best online sportsbook odds around. Whether you’re betting on a World Series champion, grabbing the latest division odds, or looking for another sport altogether, be sure to place your bets at BetMGM today.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.