by Mike Hayes - 03/31/2006
From the possibility of a Barry Bonds drug suspension to which major league manager will be the first to get canned, sports bettors are faced with a smorgasbord of baseball propositions that is sure to whet the appetite of even the heartiest gambler.
A large number of these props can be found at Pinnacle Sportsbook, where you can even wager on whether Bonds will be on the Giants roster next week.
If you think the San Francisco slugger will retire prior to April 7, you can get +215. If you think as all signs indicate that he will continue his chase of Babe Ruth and then Hank Aaron beyond that date, you have to lay a surprisingly low $249 to win $100.
Think Barry will be suspended at some point during the season? The odds say otherwise, as you would have to lay $304 to win $100 if you wager that he will not be suspended this season. A $100 wager that he will be suspended would get you $269 at Pinnacle Sportsbook.
The odds also say Bonds will not pass Aaron on the all-time home run list this year as a bettor would have to lay a hefty $656 to win $100. A bet that he will hit the 48 homers needed to pass baseball's home run king will get you a healthy $506 for a $100 wager.
Bonds bettors can also wager on how many round trippers the slugger will hit with a minimum of 80 games played required for action. The over under is currently at 34.5.
The slight favorite at this point, at 3.85-1, is that Bonds will hit between 21-30 home runs and the longest shot on the board at better than 13-1 is that he betters 61 dingers.
Assuming Bonds, who has 708 lifetime homers, does in fact suit up it appears inevitable that he passes Ruth and the Bambino's 714 home runs. That he does so on a no balls no strikes count will get you nearly 7-1, currently first choice among bettors, with the longest odds being nearly 11-1, on three separate props, that 715 occurs on a count of 1-2, 2-2 or 3-0.
Simon Noble, spokesman for Pinnacle Sportsbook, said that all props are increasing in popularity and the increase in offerings is in response to the demand. "Props are appealing in general because the lines tend to be not as solid as the game lines making them one of the easiest types of bets for a player to beat," he commented. "When you see the line on an NBA game, it is the result of at least a dozen separate oddsmakers whose collective opinion is merged to form the market. When you wager on a proposition, it's typically your opinion versus one oddsmaker. If you know more than that one oddsmaker, you are going to get the best of it."
As is the case with any wager made, it is important to shop around when betting props as well because odds can vary greatly. Noble said this is particularly true at Pinnacle Sportsbook where the odds are generally considerably more generous than other sites. "Overall the business as a whole has been growing as more and more players benefit from the incredible value they receive by playing at Pinnacle Sportsbook with odds that offer up to 60 percent better value than other sportsbooks. As the business grows, more proposition bets become 'dealable'. The interest is there, which means we will see action on everything we offer."
Some other interesting props to consider before the first pitch of 2006 are:
Which manager will get fired or resign first?
It's inevitable that someone will get fired or be forced to resign during the course of the season. The favorite in the American League is Buck Showalter in Texas at 5-1. For my money though I'll take the longest shot on the board, Joe Torre at 19-1. Hell, getting an employee of George Steinbrenner at 19-1! This is an owner who changed managers 20 times in 23 years and once fired Billy Martin with a 40-28 record. Torre has been the exception to the rule with George but with this payroll a three-game sweep at the hands of the Devil Rays could be the end of the line for Joe.
In the National League the favorite is Arizona's Bob Melvin at 5-1 with Tony Larussa being the longest shot at nearly 40-1.
Who will throw a pitch first, Kerry Wood or Mark Prior?
Bodog is offering this one with Wood the 1-3 favorite and Prior at 6-5. It's 4-1 if you bet neither throw a pitch all season. Both have been placed on the disabled list to start the season, but the prognosis is that Wood in fact should be ready first.
Who will lead MLB in home runs?
Here you can get decent odds on the usual suspects, 5-1 on Alex Rodriguez, 8-1 or so on David Ortiz and nearly 10-1 on Albert Pujos. For this bet however, I'd look at the 40-1 Pinnacle Sportsbook is offering on Ryan Howard or go over to Bodog, where you can get 22-1 on Jim Thome and 40-1 on Miguel Cabrera.
If you don't like any of the offerings you could get 6-1 and get the field at Bodog.
Who will lead MLB in triples?
Sounds like an odd wager but I just love Jose Reyes here. He led MLB with 17 last season and is third choice at nearly 4-1 behind Carl Crawford who was second with 15 and Chone Figgins.
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