- Joined ESPN in 2014
- Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008
The Los Angeles Dodgers are causing oddsmakers to post numbers that the betting market hasn’t seen since the New York Yankees’ dynasty of the late 1990s.
Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill on Thursday opened the Dodgers’ 2021 season-win total at 104.5. That’s tied with the 1999 Yankees for the highest win total at sportsbooks in the past 32 seasons, according to odds archive SportsOddsHistory.com.
In addition to the reigning World Series champion Dodgers, four other teams also opened with win totals of 90 or higher — the Yankees (97), Atlanta Braves (92), San Diego Padres (92) and Chicago White Sox (90.5).
The Pittsburgh Pirates are on the other end of the spectrum and opened with a win total of 58, tied with the 1993 expansion Florida Marlins for the lowest win total in the past 32 seasons. The Colorado Rockies have the next-lowest opening win total this season at 62.5.
Other notable totals at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill include the New York Mets (89), defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays (88.5), Houston Astros (88), St. Louis Cardinals (88), Philadelphia Phillies (81.5), Chicago Cubs (79.5) and Boston Red Sox (77).
As pitchers and catchers begin reporting for spring training, the Dodgers are the clear-cut, consensus favorites to win the World Series, with odds around +350 at most sportsbooks. At William Hill sportsbooks in Nevada, the Dodgers are even shorter, at +200. The 1999 Yankees also began the season at +200 to win the World Series.
“It’s very rare for a baseball team to be that low before the season,” Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill U.S., said in a company release.
Last year, the Dodgers posted a .717 winning percentage in the abbreviated 60-game regular season, which translates to 116 wins in a full 162-game slate. Only two teams — the 1906 Cubs and the 2001 Seattle Mariners — have won 116 games in a season.
After beating the Rays in last year’s World Series, the Dodgers re-signed star players Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and pitcher Walker Buehler and bolstered their pitching staff by acquiring National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer.
The Dodgers were the betting favorite in every game last season, including in the playoffs, a streak that’s likely to continue in 2021.
“This Dodgers team, on paper, looks like an All-Star team in a lot of ways,” Randy Blum, an oddsmaker for the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, told ESPN. “If you look at their pitching staff, you could take any of their top guys, whether it’s [Clayton] Kershaw, Bauer or Buehler, and throw them at home against the Pirates, and those numbers are going to be absurd.”
ESPN’s Vince Masi contributed to this report.
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