Will you wind up being happy if the New York Yankees win the World Series?
Maybe not, but perhaps they're a better play for something else.
It's worthwhile to examine what kind of value, if any, they offer.
2021 New York Yankees Futures Betting Odds
Currently this is the way things are posted up on the futures board for them:
To Win AL East -140
To Win American League Pennant +250
To Win World Series +600
The Bronx Bombers got off to a very rocky start, and we can't necessarily say that they are completely over it, but it's safe to say that they are more confident than they've been since the season started.
For one thing, the pitching, which was not thin on paper but was still somewhat of a concern, has held up to more than a respectable degree. In fact, this team has the best WHIP ratio (walks plus hits per innings pitched) in the major leagues. The Yankees are also third in Earned Run Average, second in FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and second in runs per game allowed.
Gerrit Cole, by today's standards, has been worth his hefty salary, with a 0.717 WHIP and 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Aroldis Chapman has been close to unhittable, striking out 2.4 batters per inning, which makes him very much a monster.
And there was some real encouragement from a guy who had been one of the question marks. Corey Kluber, the two-time Cy Young winner, signed a one-year deal but had to prove that his injury problems were a thing of the past. Recently he went eight scoreless innings against Detroit, fanning ten batters. That's his most in any single outing since 2018. And he became the first Yankee starter to pitch into the eighth inning.
Offensively, things have been, well, incomplete. Gary Sanchez is hitting around .180, and the more defensive-minded Kyle Higashioka may supplant him on a more permanent basis, as he's caught three of the team's four shutouts.
Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks, as well as newcomer Roughned Odor, are all below the .200 level.
The Yankees are hitting .223 as a team. Speed is not a factor; they have only five stolen bases and have yet to hit a triple.
Now here is some of the good news: recently Giancarlo Stanton registered three consecutive three-hit games, and manager Aaron Boone is very comfortable with him in the #2 spot in the order. How hard is Stanton - the former National League MVP - hitting the ball?
Well, his average exit velocity (i.e., how fast the ball goes after it hits his bat) and hard-hit percentage are the highest in either league.
Oh, and Aaron Judge is on pace to top 40 homers.
Logic dictates a reasonable expectation on the part of Yankee backers that the offense will take steps forward. One wouldn't want to bet on the likes of DJ LaMaheiu or Glayber Torres putting up lousy numbers.
And then there is the pending return of Luke Voit, 2020's home run leader, who had knee surgery but is on a rehab assignment and slated back this month.
The pitching should get a further boost too. Zack Britton can come back onto the roster on May 31, and starter Luis Severino, who had Tommy John surgery early last year, may be back in July.
So things are looking up. And even though the Boston Red Sox seem to have come to play this year, and the defending AL champion Tampa Bay Rays may have their number, the Yanks aren't in a bad spot right now hovering around the .500 mark, as no one is running away with the division.
But how will it look in the end?
Well, we took a look at the formula used by the folks at Baseball Reference, a commonly-used stat and metrics site.
We're going to get into their projections to a greater extent at a later date, but what they have laid out for the Yankees as far as their post-season chances are concerned (the corresponding odds in parentheses):
To Win AL East 44.8% (+123)
To Win AL Pennant 17.4% (+475)
To Win World Series 7.5% (+1233)
So as you can see, the -140, +250 and +600 are quite a bit different. They reflect percentages of 58.3%, 28.6% and 14.3%, respectively.
Now, let's be honest - you should not expect that odds you can bet in a sportsbook are going to reflect what the percentage chances actually are.
On the other hand, you may be looking at the critical factors a lot differently than the people at Baseball Reference.
From where I'm sitting, the closest thing to a value play here may involve the division price. After all, there are only four teams to beat out, and ultimately, when things get weeded out, perhaps only two.
So while we're not saying the Yankees are a bad bet, you have to recognize they are a "public" team, which can inherently take the value out of the wager, even if nothing else does.
You'll likely find better deals with other teams.