The LA Dodgers ended their 32-year wait for World Series glory and are favourites to make it two Fall Classic successes on the bounce in 2021. However, there could be a challenge to their crown coming from their own NL West Division, while the Chicago White Sox look set to rival the New York Yankees in the American League.
How will the MLB 2021 Regular Season work?
The MLB Regular Season starts on Thursday, April 1 and after a shortened and sometimes disrupted season last year, there will be a more familiar look about it this time around, with the partial return of fans to stadiums, and clubs once again playing 162 games.
Some of the changes that were brought in last year will stay, so double-header games will only be seven innings, and there will be an automatic runner on second base in extra innings.
However, some things will revert to the norm, so pitchers will bat again in the National League, while the postseason shrinks back to 10 teams in the usual format of six division winners and four wild card teams, making this season feel a lot more like baseball as we know it.
World Series favourites: National League
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the 4.570* favourites to win the World Series, and it is not difficult to see why they are so highly rated. After knocking on the door for a few years they won their first Fall Classic since 1988 last season, winning the most games in MLB and having the highest run differential in the process.
It might seem risky to try to take on a team who could easily win over 100 games, but their toughest opposition could well come from within the NL West, in the guise of the San Diego Padres, who look to be coming of age and are worthy of consideration at 8.740*.
It will not be easy for them, but they gave the men from LA something to think about last year - at one stage the Padres had got to within 1.5 games down the stretch - and could now be ready to make a stronger challenge.
Their payroll has gone from 24th highest to ninth inside two years, and it is clear from the major acquisitions of quality pitchers Yu Darvish and Blake Snell that this club means business.
Fernando Tatis Jr was one of the biggest stars of the game last year, and the Padres shortstop is expected to impress once again after finishing second in home runs in the NL last time.
Of course, the worry is that the Dodgers will get the job done in the West, in which case the Padres will have to negotiate the Wild-Card game, but this is arguably the most exciting San Diego team ever and they could be ready to push the World Series champions all the way in the NL West and deep into the postseason.
World Series favourites: American League
Over in the American League, the team with the best chance of going all the way is the New York Yankees at 4.570* but an alternative at a more attractive 11.050* is the Chicago White Sox.
After a few tough years, the rebuilding process on the South Side is almost complete and, while they will have to overcome a good Minnesota Twins team in the AL Central, they have an abundance of talent in their stacked line-up.
They hit 5.1 runs a game last season and were tied for the best AL run differential with +60. Jose Abreu led all of the MLB in Runs Batted In (RBIs) in 2020 with 60 - while ace Lucas Giolito is a strong contender for the Cy Young award at 6.000 and is one of the best starters in the game.
Get the best MLB odds on all of this season's games with Pinnacle.