HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 21: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros celebrates after hitting a solo home run against Tommy Kahnle #48 of the New York Yankees during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 21, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The football season is over, and it is soon time for baseball to take the reigns. The final play of the Super Bowl signals the unofficial beginning of the MLB campaign each year, and with spring training two weeks away, we don’t have to wait much longer to sink our teeth into some action.

There may not have been any activity on the field yet, but there has been plenty going on in the baseball betting stakes. Offseason moves have resulted in contenders becoming favorites, while leaving supporters of some teams concerned about what is to come.

Optimism is rife in the Bronx, largely due to the signing of star pitcher Gerrit Cole who signed a nine-year, $324m contract with the New York Yankees after leaving the Houston Astros.

When the outright market for the World Series 2020 winner opened, the Astros were listed at +400 with the Yankees at +600. Those prices have now switched around, with the New York outfit boasting a world-class lineup and a formidable bullpen.

The Astros have not made any friends in the offseason following the sign-stealing investigation, but MLB betting sites have still been taking plenty of bets on Houston winning a second World Series in four years.

You can get Houston at -225 to win the American League West, and a best price of +300 to secure a second consecutive American League Championship, for which the Yankees (+200), who they beat 4-2 in the 2019 ALCS, are expected to be their biggest rival.

Also in the mix for World Series glory is the Los Angeles Dodgers who, like the Astros, are priced at +600 with most American and Canadian sportsbooks. It has been 32 years since they won the sport’s biggest prize, and despite no significant additions this offseason, they have a great shot at ending that drought.

No franchise has managed to win successive World Series titles since the Yankees’ three-peat from 1998 through 2000, and the departure of third baseman Anthony Rendon from the Washington Nationals has made that task a lot harder this year.

The Nats are priced at +1400, which is an increase on their initial odds of +1000. National League East rivals, the Atlanta Braves, are favoured to take the division and are also shorter odds (+1200) to win the World Series.

One of the biggest drifters has been the Boston Red Sox, who, having been priced at +900 to start with, are now as big as +2200 with some sportsbooks. Outfielder Mookie Betts could be the subject of a major trade, which is one big reason for the lack of belief in the 2018 champions from the sports betting public.

Another franchise that could trade one of its stars is the Chicago Cubs. It has not quite turned out to be the dynasty that many believed it would become at Wrigley Field, and it remains to be seen whether the club that has parted ways with manager Joe Maddon decides to move on from their second overall draft pick in 2013, Kris Bryant.

The Cubs would still have the very capable Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo, who both played a huge part in the 2016 World Series success, but +2500 for another title is perhaps about right given the lack of incomings.

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