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Dodgers Favored Ahead Of Season Opener

Regular season MLB action gets underway in Sydney, Australia, this weekend.

Regular season MLB action gets underway in Sydney, Australia, this weekend.

Before the frenzy that is March Madness begins in earnest tonight, BettingSports.com thought it time for a reminder about the small fact that the 2014 Major League Baseball season opens this coming weekend.

That’s right, on Saturday NL West rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will usher in the new campaign, sort of.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks landed in Sydney, Australia, yesterday ahead of this weekend’s 2014 Major League Baseball Opening Series.

The two clubs will contest a pair of games at the newly renovated Sydney Cricket Ground, home of the Australian national cricket team.

Game 1 on Saturday is scheduled for 4:00 a.m. ET (7:00 p.m. local) while Game 2 is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. ET (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. local).

The two sides will warm up for the opening series with games against Team Australia later this week.

After the opening series, the Dodgers will kick off the regular season proper next Sunday (Mar. 30) with a trip to the San Diego Padres, before a full schedule of baseball begins on Monday, March 31.

With just four days until the season is live, now’s the best time to pick your favorites and search for a dark horse the bookies might have missed. Let’s face it, now could be the only time. With just the First Four on slate tonight and Wednesday – unless you’re betting the NIT that is – you’ve still got time. You won’t have when the Round of 64 begins on Thursday.

To give you a helping hand, BettingSports.com brings you a rundown of the baseball futures currently on offer from leading sportsbook, Bovada.

The Dodgers will enter the season as favorites to win the World Series.

The Dodgers will enter the season as favorites to win the World Series.

Odds To Win 2014 World Series

The 110th edition of the World Series may be some seven months away but now’s the time to get thinking about who will be playing in the Fall Classic.

According to Bovada, the Dodgers are currently the favorites to lift the Commissioner’s Trophy with odds of 7/1.

Don Mattingly’s club has in fact been the favorite since the Boston Red Sox wrapped up last year’s Fall Classic. Unlike last year, they’ll be looking to make a solid start, beginning with this weekend’s games down under.

The St. Louis Cardinals have emerged as the second favorite over the past few weeks, sitting just behind the Dodgers at 15/2. Having gotten so close to the Promised Land a year ago, the Cardinals will have extra impetus to go all the way this campaign.

The Detroit Tigers (9/1) are the American League’s top prospect, according to Bovada. The club fell to the eventual champions in Jim Leyland’s final year as skipper. Can the club improve under first-year manager Brad Ausmus, or will the change at the top prove a hindrance for a team loaded with talent.

Bookmakers haven’t let a disappointing 2013 dampen their support for the Washington Nationals (11/1), who sit at No. 4 on the baseball futures list right now. The National’s biggest threat this season was to be the Atlanta Braves, but with the news emerging that the Bravos’ No. 1 Kris Medlen is to undergo Tommy John surgery this week, the road to the postseason may have just gotten a little easier for the D.C. club.

Following the Nationals on the futures list is the AL East triple-threat of the Boston Red Sox (12/1), Tampa Bay Rays (12/1), and New York Yankees (14/1).

Understandably, in recent years bookmakers have been unwilling to commit to any of these sides, and for good reason. The AL East was the toughest division to pick a year ago. It’s probably the toughest to pick again this season. Boston will be riding high on last year’s shocking World Series win; Joe Maddon always has the Rays ready to play; and from this vantage point, the Yankees have retooled excellently in the wake of Robinson Cano’s departure. If the Bronx Bombers can find consistent pitching, that 14/1 is looking pretty sweet.

The Braves (16/1), San Francisco Giants (16/1), and Texas Rangers (16/1) close out the top 10 as it stands at this moment.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Houston Astros (200/1), Miami Marlins (100/1), and Minnesota Twins (100/1) currently own the longest odds of success. All three had miserable campaigns a year ago, and none looks to be that much improved this year.

The Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, and New York Mets (all 75/1) each looks to be in for a long season too.

In terms of the middle of the pack, the Cleveland Indians (40/1) are looking like a good dark horse pick. In his first year in charge, Terry Francona got more than he could have hoped for a year ago. Improvement at the same level will see the Tribe into the postseason at the very least.

The Seattle Mariners (33/1) made a lot of noise during free agency, but the depth chart looks lacking still. The Kansas City Royals (33/1) and Pittsburgh Pirates (28/1) both impressed a season ago, and could be poised to improve, although a World Series pennant looks unlikely for either.

You can find the full list of World Series odds below.

20140318_World_Series_oddsThe Pennant Race

Here’s how the American League and National League futures currently look.

20140318_League_futuresDivisional Races

Here’s how the six divisions are expected to play out.

You’ll be able to find the latest odds and trends for this weekend’s opening series in Australia here, once they become available.

In addition to the baseball futures, Bovada has also listed a selection of team prop bets, including the over/under win totals for all 30 Major League Baseball clubs.

The sportsbook is also offering a large selection of player prop bets, including homerun leader, MVP and Cy Young winners and much more.

For the record, Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera are joint-favorites to lead the league in home runs, while Yu Darvish (7/1) and Clayton Kershaw (6/1) are favorites to win the Cy Young award in their respective leagues.

BettingSports.com will have more Major League Baseball coverage for you when the season commences.

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