Early Look at Possible World Series Matchups – Assessing the Odds
The 2021 MLB Playoffs are about to kick into high gear. The Yankees and Cardinals have been eliminated, we’re down to eight teams battling it out for the rights to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Most touts are ready to pencil the Dodgers in to advance from the National League; picking an AL representative seems much more open for debate.
Let’s dive into that discussion and address the World Series possible matchup odds in 2021.
Odds for World Series Possible Matchups in 2021
- Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (+450)
- Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (+625)
- Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (+700)
- Tampa Bay Rays vs. San Francisco Giants (+800)
- Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (+1000)
- Houston Astros vs. San Francisco Giants (+1000)
- Tampa Bay Rays vs. Milwaukee Brewers (+1000)
- Chicago White Sox vs. San Francisco Giants (+1200)
- Chicago White Sox vs. Milwaukee Brewers (+1400)
- Houston Astros vs. Milwaukee Brewers (+1400)
- Tampa Bay Rays vs. Atlanta Braves (+1800)
- Boston Red Sox vs. San Francisco Giants (+2000)
- Boston Red Sox vs. Milwaukee Brewers (+2200)
- Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves (+2200)
- Chicago White Sox vs. Atlanta Braves (+2500)
- Boston Red Sox vs. Atlanta Braves (+3300)
The 2021 World Series odds confirm most analysts’ predictions as the Dodgers are well out in front at +250 to win it all. The Braves bring up the rear at +1200, the other six teams are sandwiched between +500 and +900.
Know that those prices, along with the ones you see in the graphic above, will be rapidly fluctuating as the divisional series progress.
For now, here’s a look at some of the matchups I could see panning out.
Rays vs. Dodgers (+450)
Despite being the most likely World Series matchup on paper, history tells us that a rematch in the Fall Classic in back-to-back years is extremely unlikely. It hasn’t happened since the Yankees and Dodgers clashed in 1977 and 1978.
In fact, we haven’t even seen an American League team win the pennant in consecutive years since the Royals in 2014 and 2015.
With that being said, the Dodgers are simply the most complete team in the NL from top to bottom and have a wealth of postseason experience to fall back on.
Aiding Tampa Bay is the fact that they’ll have home-field advantage throughout their journey to the World Series. The Rays went 52-29 at Tropicana Field during the regular season.
On the contrary, LA has to go on the road and get past a divisional rival that won a league-high 107 games. And that’s just for an opportunity to play for the National League pennant.
Astros vs. Giants (+1000)
After getting off to a quick start Thursday against the White Sox at home, Houston could be on a fast track to advance to their third World Series in the last five years.
At least one of those came with some unfair assistance, but let’s not get into the ’Stros unforgivable cheating scandal that still looms large over their head.
Let’s instead focus on the 2021 iteration led by fresher faces like Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez.
I’d rather shine a light on Kyle Tucker after the 24-year-old outfielder hit 30 homers and slashed .294/.359/.557.
Tucker finished third in OPS behind just Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Shohei Ohtani, plus he’s playing his best ball of the season right now.
Yuli Gurriel won the American League batting title and Carlos Correa tops the chart of the best MLB free agents looking for new deals in 2022. Houston scored more runs than any other team in baseball and struck out the second-fewest number of times.
If Dusty Baker gets adequate production from his staff, teams are going to have a tough time knocking the Astros off.
As for the Giants chances of making it to the WS, their 107-55 record speaks for itself. Not only did San Francisco win the season series against the Dodgers (10-9), they won each of the three series against LA that were played after the All-Star break.
Red Sox vs. Brewers (+2200)
Let’s throw at least one under-the-radar World Series possible matchup into the dialogue. Call the Red Sox vs. Brewers my sleeper pick.
Boston’s got an uphill climb, there’s no denying that. However, the confidence gained from battering Gerrit Cole in a must-win situation can’t be overlooked.
The Red Sox averaged more runs per game than the Dodgers in 2021 and had the third-highest batting average in the league.
In terms of the Brewers prospects, any time you got a “1-2-3” like Burnes-Woodruff-Peralta, you can’t be counted out.
We saw a trio of starting pitchers spearhead Nationals 2019 World Series run, one can argue that Milwaukee’s triumvirate is as good or better.
My 2021 World Series Prediction
- Astros vs. Dodgers (+625)
Of all the possible World Series matchups in 2021, the Astros vs. the Dodgers is the one that makes the most sense.
I love what Craig Counsell brings to the table in Milwaukee and expect the Brewers to beat the Braves. Expecting the Brew Crew to get past the winner of the LA/SF series, now that’s a much tougher ask.
In the AL picture, Kevin Cash’s unique approach in Tampa Bay is tried and tested. At the same time, Houston’s got a lot more firepower in its tank.
The Astros have a good source of reliable arms and are hungry to prove the naysayers wrong.
After profoundly bamboozling the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series, I can only imagine the headlines if Dave Roberts gets another shot at the Astros for all the marbles.
I know I can think of a couple, but I’m not sure they’d be appreciated by the fans in Space City.