MLB Playoffs 2019: World Series Favorites Ranked, Latest Odds and Predictions

The MLB playoffs get underway on Thursday and bookmakers expect the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers to be the last two teams left standing at the end of the month.

Along with the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins, the Astros and the Dodgers were two of only four teams to win at least 100 games this season, as they finished with the best and second-best regular season records respectively.

Houston went 107-55, while Los Angeles won 106 games and oddsmakers believe the two teams could again cross paths in the World Series, as they did in 2017 when the Astros defeated the Dodgers 4-3.

According to BetOnline, Houston is a 2/1 favorite to win a second World Series in three years, while the Dodgers are a 3/1 shot to clinch a seventh title.

In Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke, Houston has arguably the most dominant bullpen in the majors. The Astros went 58-19 in games started by the trio this season, a winning percentage of .753.

To put the figure into context, over the course of a season that pace would have seen Houston finish with a record of 122-40.

According to FiveThirtyEight's playoffs odds formula, the Astros have a 27 percent chance of winning the World Series, while the Dodgers are slightly behind at 23 percent. Los Angeles is aiming to become the first team to reach three consecutive World Series since the Yankees achieved the feat between 1998 and 2001.

After consecutive World Series defeats, the Dodgers would dearly love to go one step further this season.

George Springer, Houston Astros
George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros celebrates on first base after a hit in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 29 in Anaheim, California. Kent Horner/Getty

If Los Angeles is looking for a third consecutive appearance in the World Series, the Yankees aim to reach the final act for the first time since 2009.

New York is 9/2 to win a 28th title and FiveThirtyEight gives them a 17 percent chance of lifting the trophy at the end of the month.

The Yankees have a number of questions surrounding their rotation, with third baseman Gio Urshela dealing with a mild ankle sprain while James Paxton is looking to recover from a nerve irritation in his thigh and slugger Edwin Encarnacion working his way back to fitness from an oblique injury.

All the same, New York's bullpen makes it a force to be reckoned with, while their line-up led the majors in terms of runs scored this season. The positive omens don't stop there for the Yankees, as they open their playoffs against the Minnesota Twins, a team they have eliminated on five occasions since 2003.

James Paxton,  New York Yankees
James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees reacts against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium on September 3 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Adam Hunger/Getty

Behind the Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals are 10/1, 11/1 and 12/1 outsiders respectively.

The Braves have avoided a rematch of last season's Division Series against the Dodgers and take on the Cardinals in the first round. St. Louis arrives in the postseason on the back of a first divisional title in four years, while the Nationals dispatched the Milwaukee Brewers in the wildcard round and are looking to win a first Division Series in their 15 year history.

Washington has scored the second-most run-in the National League this season, but its bullpen remains inferior to that of its rivals.

At the same time, a roster containing the likes of Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto can't be underestimated, nor can the Nationals' form as they have gone 74-38 since May 23.

The Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays round the picture and are a 14/1 and 25/1 outsiders, respectively.

MLB Playoffs 2019: World Series Favorites Ranked, Latest Odds and Predictions | Sports