Hot Stove Betting: Intriguing World Series Futures

Major League Baseball’s offseason is off to a slow start. The annual Winter Meetings were virtual and the Rule 5 Draft was held remotely, making things significantly less spicy than usual.

However, that doesn’t mean betting on baseball is dead.

With the New York Mets’ new ownership in place, they appear ready and willing to make some noise in free agency. They’re reportedly bringing in veteran catcher James McCann on a four-year deal with $40 million to solve their backstop issues.

If the Mets have open pockets, they could be an interesting team in 2021.

Similarly, the Toronto Blue Jays are involved in almost every free agent rumor. With a fun young core and having tasted the playoffs in 2020, they could be positioned to fight their way back into the postseason in a top-heavy American League East that includes the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees.

So which teams have the most intriguing World Series Champion odds in mid-December?

Chicago White Sox – +1500

The South Siders have already traded for Lance Lynn, one of the biggest names on the market. They won the American League Central last year and now look ahead at ’21 with the potential for Cleveland trading away Francisco Lindor and Minnesota losing a few pieces as well. With Tony LaRussa now the manager, Chicago is a fascinating play.

New York Mets – +1800

The Mets have some nice pieces and a new owner, Steve Cohen, who appears ready to spend money to fix their problems. The National League East still has a clear front-runner in Atlanta, but the Mets’ rotation will give them a chance in any postseason series.

Toronto Blue Jays – +4000

As we noted earlier, Toronto appears to be one of very few teams willing to spend money this winter. Their young core will score runs; their pitching was vastly improved last year and could get better with an addition or two. Keep an eye on the Jays as free agents begin picking their new homes.

Boston Red Sox – +5000

Last year was a trainwreck in Boston. Mookie Betts was dealt and became a hero for the Dodgers and the Red Sox couldn’t get out of their own way. But the payroll flexibility they used as the primary excuse for trading Betts could pay dividends if they bring on a few key pieces and some of their established veterans return to form. As long as Boston has big money to spend, they can’t be counted completely out.

Coronavirus Update For 7/19/20

Here is the latest information we have to date regarding sports and COVID-19

MLB

Blue Jays Barred From Playing Games In Toronto

It appears that the Toronto Blue Jays will not be allowed to play home games in Canada this year. Yesterday, the Canadian government denied the Blue Jays’ request to play home baseball games at the Rogers Centre in Toronto this season. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino later confirmed this information. The Canadian government doesn’t reportedly think it is safe for players to travel back and forth from the United States during the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Blue Jays are currently considering a few different locations where they could play home games. One of the sites in the mix is the team’s training facility in Dunedin, Florida. The franchise is also thinking about utilizing Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York which is home to Toronto’s triple-A affiliate baseball team. The Blue Jays are currently scheduled to begin their season on July 24th.

NBA

League Will Shorten Exhibition Games

The NBA announced it is tweaking the rules of the first exhibition games of the league restart to make them go by a little faster. For the initial matchups of the NBA restart, the league has decided to go with ten-minute quarters instead of the traditional 12-minute quarters. The NBA is hoping this will allow players to get ready to finish the season while also enabling them to conserve their energy for more important games that will come later.

ESPN is reporting that the clock change will only apply to the first exhibition game for every team. The second and third exhibition games at Disney will go back to the standard timing. Every team participating in the NBA restart is required to play in three exhibition games.

Race For NBA’s Individual Awards Is Already Over

On Friday, the NBA told teams that none of the seeding games will be taken into consideration when selecting this season’s individual award winners. The league also said that voting for honors like All-NBA, ROTY, etc. will be completed before the season restart on July 30th. This news means that the race for individual awards like MVP is now officially over. Giannis Antetokounmpo won the MVP award last season with the Milwaukee Bucks and is hoping to win it again this year.

NFL

Training Camps To Start As Scheduled

Despite spiking Coronavirus cases across the country, the NFL has decided to start preseason activities on time. Yesterday, all 32 NFL teams received an email from the league informing them that training camps will begin as scheduled. Rookies will report first, followed by QBs and injured players, and finally, veterans.

Rookies that play for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans are the first players that will report to camp this year. They are all scheduled to show up at camp tomorrow. Meanwhile, the NFL said that all other teams are allowed to have rookies report to camp as early as Tuesday the 21st. NFL veterans are scheduled to report on July 28th.

NHL

Oilers’ Defenseman Feeling “Healthy” After Positive COVID-19 Test Results

On Friday, the Oilers’ Caleb Jones revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and had to self-isolate for two weeks before joining the team at training camp. The defenseman reportedly tested positive for Coronavirus when he first showed up for training camp in Edmonton three weeks ago. He then had to quarantine for two weeks. Friday marked the first time Jones was able to participate in the team’s main practice.

“We’ll see if he takes part in [the] scrimmage tomorrow… I’m not sure he’s going to go that far yet, but it’s good to have him back. He had no symptoms, he tested positive without any symptoms at all, so he’s coming back feeling healthy and ready to go.”

Edmonton Oilers’ coach Dave Tippett on Jones’ return

Caleb Jones was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2015. The 23-year-old defenseman played in 43 games for Edmonton this year. He finished the regular season with four goals and five assists for nine total points.

Continue checking oddsusa.com for more updates on the Coronavirus Pandemic.