An entirely too early look at the Pirates’ 2018 WS odds

Gauging the odds for the 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates to win the World Series.

The Pittsburgh Pirates took a huge mis-step in 2017 and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year. What kind of odds are they looking at to win the World Series in 2018?

The Pittsburgh Pirates may be an enticing play for sports bettors to win the World Series in 2018.

That might sound like a strange statement on the surface, but after the Minnesota Twins turnaround the year before, is it so unfathomable? We’re going to lay out the case here, and if we entice you enough, you can click check out this list of the sports betting top 10 sites out there to lay some down on the Bucs.

First, a look at the current 2017 odds courtesy of ESPN.com.

As you can see here, the odds are very fluid. The Arizona Diamondbacks opened at 100-1 to start the season, and now sit at 10-1 after a very accomplished 2017 season.

Say it with me: this is why they play the games.

Even the Cleveland Indians greatly improved their chances to the point where they are the overwhelming favorite at 13-5.

The Minnesota Twins proved this year that a turnaround is quite possible, but it took an impressive list of improvements in core players to get there.

There is no reason to think that the Pittsburgh Pirates can’t get to odds similar to the New York Yankees – 25-1 at the start of the year – to win it all if they see the following improvements:

First, Andrew McCutchen needs a consistent season of McCutchen-like performance. This does not mean he has to perform at a peak level wire-to-wire, but it does not preclude him from needing to come out of the gates better than he has in recent memory.

Second, Starling Marte needs to be Starling Marte. The Pirates’ star outfielder will be nearly a full season removed from his Performance Enhancing Drug suspension when the 2018 starts. He more than any other Pirates position player longs for a fresh start. That fresh start could catapult him into a rebound season approaching his 2016 All-Star levels. If he can do that, the Pirates will find a top-to-middle of the order bat they were desperately lacking last year.

Last, the Team’s starting pitching will need to not only hold up, but improve. It is entirely to the rotation’s credit that they held together all year with consistency, but now a new gear will need to be found. There is no reason to think that Jameson Taillon could find another level to his play with his testicular cancer behind him. Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl showed that they are credible big league arms, while Gerrit Cole could have turned in a fine season if he could have kept the ball in the park.

The wild card here will be Ivan Nova. No one expects the veteran to approach his late-2016 numbers, but he will need to show that he is more than what he was in 2017.

Again, those that like to place some bets before the season even starts might be interested in placing some cash down on the Pirates when the 2018 odds came out.

Jason Rollison

Jason Rollison has been analyzing baseball and the Pirates in one way or another for 4+ years. Jason's previous stops include rumbunter.com, Pittsburgh Sporting News, Call To The Pen and several print publications. He also covers the State College Spikes for the Centre County Gazette (State College, PA) When it comes to analyzing baseball, he likes to take a middle-of-the-road approach, with one foot on the analytics side of the fence and the other on the old-school side. Having said that, he is a sucker for pitchf/x. Jason has appeared as a phone-in and in-studio guests in numerous outlets, including Trib Live Radio and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio)