One of the biggest sports in the US, the baseball World Series has increased in popularity in the UK over the last few years with new fans discovering what makes the sport so special.

For those who need a little bit more information before deciding to tune in, here’s what you need to know about the World Series.

Firstly, let’s dispel the myth that the tournament was named after a newspaper. It wasn’t.

It was given its title in the late 19th century as the series was seen as determining the world champion of baseball.

The fact that the highest level of baseball was played in the United States and was not technically popular around the world didn’t really seem to matter.

It also helped marketing efforts to give the championship a grandiose feeling, suggesting it was the ultimate baseball contest worldwide.

While for a long time it remained exclusively in the purview of the Americans, nowadays you can stream the games and, of course, have a flutter on the outcome.

Baseball betting markets have become increasingly popular with bookmakers, and you can check out the odds on the likes of TPP online bookies at just the click of a button.

So, who is in the running to be crowned champions in 2024, and just exactly how do they get there?

World Series Baseball Format

The World Series typically takes place in late October, sometimes extending into early November.

The specific start date varies each year depending on the schedule of the regular season and the playoffs leading up to the series.

Since 1903 it has been contested between the champion teams of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL).

The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff.

That means the first team to win four games out of a maximum of seven is declared the World Champion.

If a team achieves this in fewer than seven games, the remaining games are not played.

The series follows a 2-3-2 game format regarding home-field advantage, broken down like this:

  • The first two games are played at the home of the team with the better regular-season record.
  • The next three games are played at the home of the other team.
  • If necessary, the final two games return to the stadium of the team with the better regular-season record.

Favourites To Win The 2024 World Series

In the 2023 MLB season, the World Series was a best-of-seven playoff played between the AL champions Texas Rangers and the NL champions Arizona Diamondbacks.

It didn’t take long, and within six days, the Texas Rangers had won within five games. It was their first World Series title.

Can they do it again in 2024? At the moment, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the favourites, though the season isn’t scheduled to begin until March 20th, 2024.

The LA Dodgers are first up with a two-game series against the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea.

The regular season will then return properly from March 28 to September 29.

Next up in the betting is the Atlanta Braves, who have only won the World Series four times. The last time was in 2021, so if they can find that form again, they could be in with a shout.

Then we have the Houston Astros. They last won the World Series in 2022, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies for their second World Series title.

Their first World Series win came in 2017 when they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers.

So with the league yet to begin, the favourites are those teams that have won the title most recently.

The American League VS The National League

Most sports don’t have two equally professional leagues for the same sport.

In football in the UK, there is the Premier League. There aren’t two variations of the Premier League, with teams from both competing against each other.

So baseball is slightly unique in that regard.

The two leagues make up Major League Baseball (MLB) in the US and Canada, and there are some fundamental differences between them.

The most significant has traditionally been the Designated Hitter (DH) rule. Adopted by the AL in 1973, the DH rule allows teams to use another player to bat in place of the pitcher, which generally increases scoring.

Until recently, the NL did not adopt this rule, requiring pitchers to bat, which added a layer of strategy regarding when to substitute players.

However, there has been a movement towards unifying the rule across both leagues to streamline the game.

Initially, teams from the AL and NL did not play against each other during the regular season.

However, interleague play was introduced in 1997, allowing AL and NL teams to face off during the regular season, which has since become a regular feature of the MLB schedule.

So while the AL and NL have their unique characteristics, MLB has taken steps to harmonise some aspects of the game across both leagues.

The distinctions between the leagues contribute to the strategy and culture of baseball, and while affiliations with either league are largely historical and geographical, they are both as equally competitive.