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Kansas City Royals Were 33/1 Odds to Win World Series in Spring Training

October 20, 2014

Before the season started, the favorites to win the World Series were the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox. Only two of those teams made the playoffs, but none of them are still in the post-season. A team that Vegas wasn’t exactly high on is the Kansas City Royals. The Royals were 33/1 to win the World Series heading into the season. Don’t you wish you had bet on them to win it all?

The Royals dream season will continue this Tuesday night as they will play in the World Series for the first time since 1985. Kansas City is on a magical ride, going unbeaten in 8 post-season games this year. Royals manager Ned Yost now holds the Major League Baseball record for most consecutive wins to start a career in the post-season.

To get this far, the Royals have defeated a trio of teams that won a lot of games this year. However, none of those teams were among the favorites to win the World Series going into the season. Let’s take a look at the preseason odds on the teams the Royals have defeated so far:

  • Oakland (20/1)
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (16/1)
  • Baltimore (33/1)

Royals Proving Everyone Wrong With a Different Style of Play

The Kansas City Royals are winning in many different ways. They play a “small ball” style of baseball that many feel can’t win anymore. After the Royals playoff run, perhaps the doubters will change their minds. The Royals are the best defensive team in baseball, steal more bases than anyone, and have a lights out bullpen. Plus, they get some pretty decent starting pitching and timely hitting.

The Royals didn’t get a lot of respect from Vegas entering the season for obvious reasons. First off, we’re talking about the Royals here. This is a team that hadn’t been to the playoffs in 29 years, so why would bettors hop on the bandwagon until they started winning? But there are other reasons the Royals weren’t getting any respect.

Offensively, the Royals lack power. Kansas City has more power than they displayed this year, but even if everyone on the team played up to their potential, the Royals still wouldn’t be much of a power hitting team. Bettors jump all over power hitting teams more than they do small ball teams.

If you take a look at the favorites to win the World Series in Spring Training, you’ll notice most of the teams have power hitters and power starting pitchers. That’s usually the common theme among teams the gamblers look for. The Royals were a team that projected to win between 80-85 games, based on computer projections. They ended up with 89 wins, plus 8 in thus far in the playoffs.

Another reason the Royals were just 33/1 odds to win it all back in the spring is because they had question marks in the rotation. James Shields garners a lot of respect. But there was some uncertainty with the rest of the rotation, and even the bullpen. The Royals performed better than expected in the rotation with Yordano Ventura having a great rookie season, Jason Vargas outperforming his projections, and Danny Duffy moving into the rotation and pitching at a high level. The bullpen exceeded any reasonable expectations with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland being darn near unstoppable.