Angels, Dodgers Emerge as World Series Favorites

Riding a streak of 10 wins in 16 games, the Los Angeles Dodgers have the edge in the NL West pennant race as the 2014 MLB regular season enters its final three weeks. But despite their outstanding play, the Dodgers have slipped from top spot in World Series betting odds to 11/2, and now trail the Los Angeles Angels, now 5/1 favorites to win their first World Series championship since 2002.

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The Dodgers trailed early on in the division, lagging behind the San Francisco Giants by 10 games in early June before going on a torrid 18-8 run to reclaim top spot from the Giants on the Fourth of July.

The Angels sat well back of the favorites in World Series betting at the start of the season, with odds of 22/1. And like the Dodgers, the Angels struggled early on to keep pace with the Oakland A’s, who entered the All-Star break with the best record in baseball and the best odds to win this year’s World Series.

Angels on Top Following A’s Collapse

But the A’s and Angels have been teams moving in opposite directions in the second half of the season. Oakland have played themselves out of top spot in the AL West and dangerously close to being out of the playoff picture following a run of just eight wins in 27 games going into the second week of September.

The A’s slide virtually locks up the AL West pennant for the Angels, while Oakland’s post-season hopes will depend upon them reaching and winning the American League’s one-game Wild Card playoff.

With the possibility of this year’s World Series being an all-LA affair, the recent home-and-home series between the Angels and Dodgers takes on extra significance.

Dodgers Dominate Season Series

The Angels have owned the Dodgers in recent years, 26-14 in their last forty meetings prior to the start of the 2014 MLB season. But it is the Dodgers who have held the edge this season, winning three of four, including both matchups in Anaheim.

The Dodgers were really showing their depth during the August series, looking dominant in three straight wins, outscoring the Angels 14-5, while Dodgers’ starters pitched seven innings in each of the three games, giving up a mere four earned runs combined on just 12 hits.

While the Angels may be able to cruise through the remainder of their September schedule, the Dodgers must face the Giants six times in the final 15 days of the season. The Giants enter the home stretch in control of the top spot in the NL Wild Card race and within striking distance of the Dodgers in the division.

While Los Angeles swept the Giants in their most recent series, San Francisco were winners in 18 of their previous 29 against the Dodgers and would love nothing more than to spoil their arch rivals’ pennant hopes.

Author: Bruce West

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