The bases are a little bigger. A pitch clock has been added. Most defensive shifts have been banned. These are changes that will affect the upcoming MLB season, which starts in earnest on March 30, 2023.

As the “boys of summer” take the field for the 2023 MLB regular season, sports bettors will be loading their online sports betting accounts and dusting off their favorite handicapping tools. The question is, where will they be investing their wagering dollars?

Here is a betting preview for the upcoming season with a focus on futures odds wagers related to the 2023 World Series.

The Preseason Favorites

To get the proverbial ball rolling, here is a look at the World Series odds for the current top 12 ranked teams:

Houston Astros +400
New York Yankees +750
New York Mets +800
Los Angeles Dodgers +800
Atlanta Braves +850
San Diego Padres +1000
Toronto Blue Jays +1300
Philadelphia Phillies +1400
Seattle Mariners +1800
St Louis Cardinals +2200
Tampa Bay Rays +2500
Cleveland Guardians +3000

Looking for Betting Value

Yes, the Houston Astros are MLB’s defending World Series Champ. A bet on them to win the 2023 Series is a bet on the Astros to go back-to-back. Is it reasonable to wager on the Astros at +400 to do something this is actually difficult to do?

It’s been 21 years since the New York Yankees went back-to-back-to-back (1998, 1999, 2000). Those Yankees teams were loaded will Hall of Fame players. Can the same thing be said about Houston? After losing Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander to free agency, this is a team that might not be as good as they were last year. Early season injuries to Jose Altuve (SS) and Yordan Álvarez (DH) add to the list of concerns. There is no value here. So, where is the value?

When looking for futures odds betting value to win championships, the focus should fall on young teams that are getting better. There are two teams on the above list that meet these criteria. That would be the San Diego Padres (+1000) and the Toronto Blue Jays (+1300).

The Padres are loaded for bear. Last year was a bit disappointing but explainable as stars SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (80-day steroids suspension, injury) and Juan Soto (late SD arrival, offensive struggles) were unable to contribute much to the cause. Still, the Pads won 89 games and made the playoffs. Both of these players are 24 years old and nearing their primes. Tatis Jr. is scheduled to return on April 9 and a return to form by both of these players translates to 100 wins and a deep playoff run.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B) and Bo Bichette (SS) are arguably the two best players for the Blue Jays. At 24 & 25 years old respectively, both of these superstars are just hitting their best strides. Throw in the excellent veteran bat of George Springer (OF), and it’s clear this team will score runs. The pitching staff is also very good, making +1300 quite attractive with only the New York Yankees to beat in the AL East.

Note: The Chicago White Sox at +4000 have been teasing a breakthrough for several years with a slew of good young players.

Where Caution is Warranted

Three of those Top 12 teams listed above should be viewed with great caution. They are the New York Yankees, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Yankees also get play and in recent years, they have been disappointing fans and sports bettors at every turn. Aaron Judge (OF) is a big man who can carry a big load, but his supporting cast of Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, and Anthony Rizzo are aging. Look for the Yankees to struggle with even one injury of relevance.

The New York Mets are not short on talent with Pete Alonso (1B), Francisco Lindor (SS), Justin Verlander (SP), and Max Scherzer (SP) among the top 30 players in baseball. It doesn’t hurt that the team has a loaded farm system waiting in the wings. What they don’t have is luck, which explains why the team has only two (2) World Series appearances in the last 27 years, both losses. Value at +800?

Finally, the St. Louis Cardinals have a great mix of superstar veterans (Paul Goldschmidt (1B) and Nolan Arenado (3B)), and future potential superstars (Jordan Walker (OF) and Lars Nootbaar (OF)). What they don’t have is a strong pitching staff. Hitting with no pitching will not win a World Series.

Best Bet: San Diego Padres +1000