Is spring training done yet? Ugh.
MLB preseason drags on way too long, but with Opening Day just two weeks away, we’ve got some time to drum up some drama about the season. Lots of clubs added players in free agency, and some major stars switched jerseys, altering the World Series odds.
Let’s dive deeper into those odds and pick a few dark-horse World Series bets that I love ahead of the first game of the regular season.
2023 World Series Dark-Horse Bets
If you want more MLB content on top of our dark-horse bets, check out some other pages, including odds to win the MVP and Cy Young. We get deep in the weeds with other stuff, too, like MLB projected win totals or early predictions for the 2024 free agency class.
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Seattle Mariners (+1600)
We saw how Seattle’s playoff formula worked last year, and I’m willing to wager the M’s can do it again in 2023. A rotation of Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert is as good a playoff trio as it gets, and the group sets a high floor for repeatable winnable outings in the regular season.
The Rangers might surprise people this year, but the Mariners have a clear path to October baseball behind the Astros in the AL West. I certainly believe Seattle can make the wild-card round again in 2023, and, from there, anything can happen. The M’s chaotic win over the Blue Jays was one of the epic postseason comebacks in MLB history. Thanks to the additions of Kolten Wong and Teoscar Hernandez, the Mariners have an improved batting order to parlay with their stellar rotation and bullpen.
Get it while it’s hot. +1600 is crisp value for a dark-horse World Series team like the Mariners.
Philadelphia Phillies (+1700)
Um, hello? The Phillies made it to the World Series a season ago, yet they’re quite low on the oddsboard at +1700. This is a juicy window for bettors to toss some cash into.
Philly made significant improvements this offseason – it had arguably the best winter of any NL club. Star shortstop Trea Turner joined the squad, as did Taijuan Walker. The Phillies boosted their bullpen too, trading for elite closer Gregory Soto and signing the once-unstoppable Craig Kimbrel to a low-risk one-year deal. This is a juggernaut of a team. But what’s working against them?
Well, the NL East is quite competitive, especially with Mets owner Steve Cohen spending funny money to gobble up every top player with a pulse. It’s hard to compete against that strategy. However, quite like Iron Man taunting Loki in The Avengers, the Mets may have an army, but the Phillies have a Bryce Harper. The 30-year-old played out of his mind last postseason and immediately underwent Tommy John surgery at season’s end. Once he returns after the all-star break, the NL should be terrified.
Minnesota Twins (+4500)
Don’t laugh! I’m serious … well, sort of. Understand this is a true value play, but if – it’s a big if – all the pieces finally click for the Twins, this team could be very dominant.
As an evergreen preface to AL Central discussion, Minnesota greatly benefits by playing in the junior circuit’s worst division. The Royals don’t stand a chance and the Tigers are a tire fire, meaning it’s basically the Guardians, White Sox and Twins jockeying for the division lead. I’ll take Minnesota out of that group.
The key to success – let me shock the world with this one – is the Twins’ stars staying healthy. Mind-boggling, right? But seriously, Byron Buxton, for example, is one of the most dynamic players in all of baseball – he just can’t stay healthy for more than 100 games a season. I’d paint Carlos Correa with a similar brush, too, as his offseason physical fiasco saw multiple clubs rescind their contract offers after sketchy medical records.
After the club added Pablo Lopez, the Twins rotation is quietly fantastic. The back end of the bullpen is deadly, too. A few lucky breaks – and maybe a return to form by Joey Gallo – could mean the Twins zip into October with style.