2020 World Series Odds: Bookmakers Make New York Yankees the Clear Favorites After Signing Gerrit Cole

The Gerrit Cole effect has already made its impact felt in New York, with the Yankees installed as the bookmakers' favorite to win the World Series in 2020.

The 29-year-old signed a record nine-year deal worth $324 million—the richest for a pitcher in terms of both total money and annual average salary and the fourth-largest in MLB history.

The Yankees clearly believe the right-hander is the man to end a World Series drought that's now reached its 10th year, a stance which has been echoed by the bookmakers.

According to BetOnline, the Yankees have been cut to 13/4 favorite to win the World Series next year.

The franchise opened at 8/1 on October 30—immediately after Game 7—and were subsequently shortened to 5/1 before Cole's arrival.

In terms of regular season wins, the bookmakers have set the line at 99.5 for New York next season.

Considering the Yankees have won 100 games in 2018 and 103 this year, the line appears somewhat conservative particularly after they added Cole to an already potent rotation.

Last season, the California native recorded a strikeout rate of 39.9 percent in the regular season—the highest ever by a starting pitcher—and ranked first in the MLB with 326 strikeouts. He also ranked first in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), as measured by FanGraphs, and third in terms of earned run average (ERA) among qualified pitchers.

As far as oddsmakers are concerned, a repeat of such sustained brilliance appears unlikely and the line for Cole's total strikeouts next season has been set at 290.

The former UCLA alumni finished second to former teammate Justin Verlander in the American League Cy Young Award last season and is 5/1 to secure the accolade in 2020.

Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros
Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros reacts after retiring the side in the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals in Game Five of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 27 in Washington, DC. Patrick Smith/Getty

Predictably, Cole's move to New York has had an impact on the Houston Astros' chances, who have lost his services after just under two seasons.

The Astros have drifted from 5/1 favorite to 9/1 outsiders, but in Verlander and Zack Greinke they retain two of the best opening pitchers in the game.

The Washington Nationals, who defeated the Astros 4-3 in the World Series this year, have also seen their odds lengthening, drifting out from 8/1 to 14/1.

The defending champions' chances of retaining their title could shrink even further after ESPN's Jeff Passan reported on Wednesday that star third-baseman Anthony Rendon had agreed a seven-year deal worth $245 million with the Los Angeles Angels.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, shows Rendon's contract is the joint-eighth richest in the history of the MLB, matching the one Stephen Strasburg penned when he resigned with the Nationals earlier this week.

Gerrit Cole, MLB, MLB contracts
Gerrit Cole ranks fourth in the list of the richest-ever contracts in MLB history, but second behind Bryce Harper when only free agents are considered. Statista

Odds on the Angels fell from 33/1 on October 30 to 25/1 on December 12 and could be even shorter by the time the bookmakers have updated them to reflect the signing of Rendon.

The 29-year-old earned his first All-Star nominations last season as he had the best season of his career, leading the majors with a career-best 126 RBIs last and recording career-highs in batting average, slugging percentage and home runs with .319, .598 and 34 respectively.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been installed as second-favorite to win the World Series, with odds shortening from 12/1 to 7/1, while the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves have both been backed into 12/1 from 25/1 and 16/1 respectively.