Tuesday’s announcement of MLB’s plans for an abbreviated 60-game regular season came as welcome news to baseball fans. However, lingering uncertainty over where they will play home games, combined with one of the toughest schedules in the majors, has contributed to the Toronto Blue Jays‘ distant position as a +8000 wager on the World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Regional matchups are expected to dominate the 60-game schedules, with teams playing 10 games against each divisional rival and four interleague games against each of the five teams in the opposite league’s corresponding geographical division. For the Blue Jays, that means 10 games each against the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and Boston Red Sox, and four games against each team from the NL East including the Atlanta Braves and the defending champion Washington Nationals.
While the Blue Jays enjoyed a respectable stretch run last season, going 29-31 over their final 60 games, the team struggled in divisional play, going 33-43 in dates with AL East rivals, and also recorded an MLB-worst 3-17 record against NL opponents.
Further complicating matters for the Blue Jays is where they will play home games. While the absence of fans in attendance is likely to diminish home-field advantage for teams across the majors, it is unclear whether Toronto will be able to play its home games at Rogers Centre due to public health regulations stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic that require visitors to Canada to enter a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
With six of the nine teams they will face coming off losing seasons in 2019, the Los Angeles Dodgers have solidified their position atop the World Series odds as +325 co-favourites with the Yankees, while the Houston Astros sit third at +750 at sports betting sites.
The Dodgers led the NL with 106 wins last year, and had plenty to lose if the 2020 season had been cancelled. During the offseason, Los Angeles pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal with Boston to acquire David Price and Mookie Betts, who enters a contract year as a +285 favourite on the NL MVP odds.
Winners of 103 games last season, the Yankees have reached the postseason four times in the last five years, but have work to do to overcome an 11-year World Series drought. The Astros have won over 100 games in each of the past three years, but are likely to remain dogged by the sign-stealing controversy that emerged over the winter.
Further down the odds to win the World Series, the Braves sit at +1500, just ahead of the Minnesota Twins and the Nationals at +1800, with the New York Mets set at +2000. Each of the Rays, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals hold down +2200 odds.