The spendthrifts Prior to Opening Day on Thursday, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the overwhelming favorite to win the 2022 World Series.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had a payroll of $277.1 million, which is $24 million more than any other MLB team and more than double the league average ($134.5 million). For Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Clayton Kershaw, and the rest of the team, it’s a championship-or-bust season.
Based on the odds at Caesars Sportsbook (via ESPN’s David Purdum), these are some of the other top contenders:
Los Angeles Dodgers (5-1)
Toronto Blue Jays (9-1)
Houston Astros (10-1)
Chicago White Sox (11-1)
Atlanta Braves (11-1)
New York Yankees (12-1)
New York Mets (14-1)
Tampa Bay Rays (15-1)
Milwaukee Brewers (15-1)
San Diego Padres (16-1)
To begin the season, all of the remaining clubs had odds of 20-1 or higher.
When the lockout ended in March, the Dodgers already had one of the most complete rosters in baseball, but that didn’t stop them from adding more star power.
They re-signed Freeman, who helped the Braves win the World Series last season, to a six-year, $162 million deal in free agency, and then engineered a blockbuster trade with the White Sox to acquire eight-time All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel.
It’d be tough to pick anyone else as the favorite after the Dodgers won 106 games last season and added one of MLB’s top players in the last decade to their lineup.
However, the fact that the reigning champion Braves have odds more than double those of L.A. is a bit shocking.
Atlanta won the World Series despite the absence of Ronald Acuna Jr., who tore his ACL in July and is slated to return in early May and was able to replace Freeman at first base with Matt Olson.
The Braves also re-signed Eddie Rosario, who had numerous big hits during last year’s playoff run and have Marcell Ozuna back from suspension.
With Mike Soroka (Achilles) possibly returning in the middle of the season to augment the starting rotation, a title defense isn’t out of the question.
While Los Angeles and Atlanta appear to be the National League’s top teams, the American League has a much more open atmosphere heading into the new season.
The extra playoff spot—there are now six spots in each league for the three division champions and three wild cards—should favor the teams in the AL East, where the Blue Jays, Yankees, Rays, and Boston Red Sox are expected to compete in a tight four-team fight.
Chicago and Houston are also contenders for the pennant, but the Minnesota Twins, who have 50-1 World Series odds, are a sleeper to keep an eye on.
The Twins had a difficult start last season, but they finished above.500 (29-27) by August and added several crucial players during the summer.
Carlos Correa was among those who arrived, along with Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela, Sonny Gray, and Dylan Bundy. On Thursday, they acquired starter Chris Paddack in a trade with the San Diego Padres.
If Byron Buxton, Minnesota’s brilliant but often-injured catcher, can have
a healthy season at the top of the order, the team could be a contender.
The Milwaukee Brewers take on the Chicago Cubs at 2:20 p.m. ET on Thursday to kick off the MLB season.