Oddsmakers Favor Red Sox Over Cardinals in Six , David Ortiz for MVP in World Series

Either the Red Sox or Cardinals will stamp themselves as the team of the century — at least so far — by winning the 2013 World Series. The Sox, Cardinals, Yankees and Giants are the only clubs since 2000 with two World Series titles. Boston is a -140 series favorite at Bovada to end the National League’s World Series streak at three straight.

The NL had home-field advantage in those past three Fall Classics and the Junior Circuit has it this year courtesy of a 3-0 win over the National League at the All-Star Game at the Mets’ Citi Field. The Sox can thank the AL East rival Blue Jays, Orioles and Yankees partly for that. Toronto’s Jose Bautista knocked in the first AL run with a sacrifice fly, Baltimore’s JJ Hardy knocked in the second with a fielder’s choice and the Yanks’ Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless eighth inning to win game MVP honors.

The favored series result is Boston in six games at +350, followed by the Sox in seven at +400. Only one World Series since 2002 has gone the full seven games: the Cardinals over the Rangers in 2011. A Boston sweep is +1000 while a Cardinals sweep is the longest shot at +1200. The most recent World Series sweep was last season when underdog San Francisco beat Detroit. When Boston won the 2004 World Series by sweeping St. Louis, Manny Ramirez was the MVP by hitting .412 with four RBIs. In 2007 when the Sox swept Colorado, third baseman Mike Lowell was the MVP, hitting .400 with four RBIs.

Perhaps it’s fitting that a rare leftover from those clubs, David Ortiz, is this season’s MVP favorite at 15-2. Ortiz is hitting only .200 in these playoffs but has three home runs and seven RBIs, highlighted by that grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS against Detroit that changed the series. In the 2004 World Series, Ortiz hit .308 with a home run and four RBIs against the Cardinals. In 2007, Big Papi hit .333 with four RBIs against the Rockies.

Dustin Pedroia is the second MVP favorite at 8-1. He’s hitting .256 with six RBIs in these playoffs. Pedroia hit .278 with a home run and four RBIs against the Rockies six years ago. Red Sox Game 1 starter Jon Lester is 12-1 to win MVP. The last pitcher to win the award was Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels in 2008 against Tampa Bay. Lester has faced St. Louis once in his career. In a June 22, 2008 game at Fenway, Lester held the Cardinals to two runs over 7 1/3 innings. Only three current Cardinals have faced Lester. Matt Holliday is 2-for-6, Carlos Beltran is 1-for-1 with two walks and Yadier Molina is 0-for-3.

Beltran is the Cardinals’ series MVP favorite at 9-1 followed by Holliday at 10-1. Beltran has been one of the best postseason performers in baseball history but this will be his first World Series. Only two active players had played more games without playing in a Fall Classic: Miguel Tejada and Torii Hunter. Beltran is hitting .337 with 16 home runs in his playoff career. His slugging percentage of .724 is the best in baseball history.

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