2015 MLB betting guide

LAS VEGAS -- Welcome to ESPN Insider's 2015 MLB betting preview -- let's take a look at the best World Series value bets, divisional bets, MLB betting strategies and more. (Later this week, Joe Peta will be producing ESPN Chalk articles with an individual season win prediction for every MLB team.)

The San Francisco Giants are the defending champions, but the Nationals are, in fact, the 5-1 favorite to win the World Series at the Westgate SuperBook (as well as the top consensus choice in the sportsbooks around Las Vegas). The Los Angeles Dodgers are the second choice at 6-1. The St. Louis Cardinals are next at 10-1, giving the National League the top three teams in the future book, before we get to the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox at 12-1.

In the point-spread sports of football and basketball, this is about the time we'd be breaking out the Vegas Rankings for handicappers to compare teams to arrive at a point spread. It's tougher to do that in baseball as starting pitchers have such a huge impact on the line for a given game. But we can still rank the teams to show their relative strength, and it seems just as easy to do that by listing the teams in order of their World Series odds. The chart also includes each team's over/under win totals, which we've used as a tiebreaker for teams with the same odds.

Betting World Series futures

As a general rule,