The Royals, the Jays, and the odds

Some of you, and maybe most of you in the Heart of America, might be surprised to learn the Royals are underdogs against the Blue Jays, tonight in Kansas City.

If you’re a Heart of American, you might already be muttering something about East Coast Bias or Media Bias or America’s Hat Bias or whatever. But betting odds don’t work that way. Usually — not always, but usually — the betting odds will fairly reflect the underlying probabilities involved. And in this case, the underlying probabilities care little about the Royals being a team of destiny, or about David Price’s long streak of postseason failures.

What do the probabilities care about? Price remains an outstanding pitcher, the Blue Jays finished the regular season with a +221 run differential, and Game 6 is in Kansas City.

If Game 6 were in Toronto, the Jays would be big favorites. Instead they’re just modest favorites.

So why are the Royals still favored to win the series? For the simple reason that it’s easier to win one game than lose two.

At this moment, the Royals are modest underdogs in Game 6, and might be slight underdogs in Game 7. Or maybe the bookies should just take Game 7 off the board, since nobody can have any idea what Johnny Cueto will do.

Either way, the Royals should be hosting the Mets in Game 1 of the World Series next Tuesday night. But we shouldn’t be surprised by anything that happens Friday night or, if necessary, Saturday.