You can bet the World Series pits, unlike what the New York Times would have you believe, a favorite against an underdog; the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. the Houston Astros, respectively. It may be more Superman vs. Doomsday or Freddy vs. Jason than it is David vs. Goliath; it may be, and actually is, the first time in almost half a century than two teams with 100-plus regular season wins meet in the October Classic, but the fact remains that the Dodgers’ plus is bigger than the Astros’. Los Angeles won 104 games to Houston’s 101, and as a result, the former has home field advantage.
Does that mean they’re a better team? Is the outcome a foregone conclusion? Not by any stretch of the imagination, but those are the little things that oddsmakers take into account when they make the odds.
For example, if you were to ask the Sports Illustrated staff, the consensus among them is that the Dodgers will take it in six, or at most, seven games. Emma Span proved she has a long attention span when she remembered SI predicted the Astros would win the 2017 World Series three years ago. How they’d win the 2017 Series in 2014 is anybody’s guess, though. In any case, she picked the Dodgers in six. Stephanie Apstein didn’t abstain from picking the Dodgers in six as well. And so on and so forth. As mentioned above, LA has home advantage, and this postseason, playing at home has been, compared to playing on the road, as day to night, and if these Astros have a hard time shining at night, it won’t be just because of the Los Angeles’s smog.
In spite of all of the above, however, some make a case, or at least attempt to, that the favorite is actually the underdog and vice versa. See, because the Dodgers have spent “$150 million more on players than the Astros and Cubs combined,” that makes it hard to support them, presumably because that means they’re the establishment, the evil corporation, the OCP to Houston’s Robocop, the Metallica to the Astros’ Napster, etc., etc. people love an underdog and instinctively root for it, but, since fans don’t play the game, that doesn’t automatically turn the dog into the fave.
One thing’s true, though, and it’s that the Dodgers have the best team that money can buy, and that’s just the kind of cold, hard factor that does influence the odds of a team to win as well as another team’s odds to lose. And that’s also the reason that the underdog pays better if it wins; because the odds are against them. They have to overcome the odds, which is, if they pull it off, what we call an upset. That word may not be completely accurate, though, because, again, people are suckers for an underdog story (e.g., DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story) – unfortunately, that’s why upsets more often than not occur in the movies as opposed to real life.