The Kansas City Royals will begin the defense of their 2015 World Series title Sunday night against the team they beat to win the championship, the New York Mets.

The Royals are listed at 14-1 odds to win the World Series again this season at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark, while the Mets are 12-1.

Two other games on the schedule for Sunday include the St. Louis Cardinals visiting the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays hosting the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Cardinals (18-1 to win the World Series) and Pirates (20-1) will both be trying to top the favored Chicago Cubs (5-1) this year, while the Blue Jays (10-1) are the leading American League team.

Kansas City will send Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA in 2015) to the mound after seeing his team defeat New York twice in his last two starts, including the World Series clincher in Game 5 that ended the franchise’s 30-year championship drought.

New York will counter with Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71), who has been cleared to start after passing blood clots through his bladder. Harvey was scratched from his spring training start Tuesday to deal with the issue and threw a career-high 216 innings last season.

The Royals are 12-4 in their last 16 against National League opponents, including the World Series, while the Mets are 5-13 in their past 18 versus the AL.

St. Louis took 10 of the 19 meetings with Pittsburgh last year, according to the Odds Shark MLB Database, en route to winning its third consecutive NL Central title. The Cardinals, though, lost six of the 10 games played at PNC Park, where the Pirates went 53-28 last season.

Both finished ahead of Chicago in the division a year ago but find themselves battling public perception and the oddsmakers heading into the season.

St. Louis will give Adam Wainwright (2-1, 1.61) his first start since April 25 of last year in the opener while Pittsburgh rides with lefty Francisco Liriano (12-7, 3.38).

Toronto will kick off the season against a young Tampa Bay team that is 40-1 to win the World Series on the baseball betting futures. The Blue Jays were eliminated by Kansas City in the AL Championship Series last season and hope to take the next step this year.

Marcus Stroman (4-0, 1.67) gets the call for Toronto here off a disappointing postseason in which he went 1-0 with a 4.19 ERA coming off a torn ACL he suffered during spring training. The Rays will go with ace Chris Archer (12-13, 3.23), who had a career-best 252 strikeouts last year.

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