As we’re approaching the All-Star break, it’s time to examine some teams that could sneak up on the field and make an extended playoff run. Let’s take a look at a couple of dark horses who we think have the potential to get into the playoffs and maybe could even advance to the World Series. With that in mind, let’s jump right into action so you can plan your bets against their World Series odds.
Odds to Win the 2021 MLB World Series: Dark horses Edition
Cincinnati Reds +5000
The Reds are a very intriguing group. They are currently in second place in the National League Central, six games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers. The Reds have assembled a very powerful lineup that is capable of putting up a lot of runs on any given night. Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker have been a huge source of their offensive output. The Reds offense is inside the top 10 rankings of many of Major League Baseball’s offensive categories.
As for the pitching staff, their starters have been superb. Sonny Gray leads the pitching staff. Potential ace Luis Castillo has had a rough first half, yet the Reds staff has still done well. Their bullpen has had injury and consistency issues, but once they get everyone healthy, they should have a solid group.
The Reds have some prospects in their farm system that could come up and help in the second half, or they could be used to acquire a top-tier starting pitcher to anchor the staff. We’ll see what the Reds do at the trade deadline.
Washington Nationals +6600
Many had written the Nationals off this year. In a division with the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, and Florida Marlins, there was no way that the Nationals could make the playoffs. Well, they’re looking to prove everyone wrong. As of this writing, the Nats are sitting in second place in the NL East, just four games behind the division-leading New York Mets. The Nationals will have to keep their pace up, as the Braves will be looking to make a run, but if they can continue to play well, they have a shot at making the playoffs.
Washington’s offense has exceeded expectations this season. People expected big things out of Trea Turner and Juan Soto, but some others have stepped it up. Before getting injured last week, leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber had been putting up huge numbers. Starlin Castro has also had a good season for Washington.
The starting pitching has been up and down. Stephen Strasburg has missed a good portion of the season due to injury, but Max Scherzer has thrown well. Patrick Corbin has been a disappointment this year. Even though the starting staff has had its issues, the bullpen has picked up the slack. The Nationals bullpen has had a solid season. Off-season acquisition Brad Hand has anchored the bullpen. He has been very good in his role as the closer. As for the rest of the bullpen, they have done an adequate job of holding leads and limiting runs.
Many thought that the Nationals would be sellers at the trade deadline, but instead, it looks like they’re going to be buyers. We’ll see if they make a move for another starting pitcher or if they’ll stand pat with what they have.