MLB Player Props for 2007: Doc's Looks at the Value
by Mike Hayes - 03/07/2007
If you thought making a big score on preseason player props was out of the question, look no further than last season when Ryan Howard led all of MLB in home runs and could have been secured at 40/1 this time last year.
Doc's recommended the eventual MVP at those odds, which were being offered by Pinnacle Sportsbook. And while a repeat of this feat might be a tough encore for 2007, there are at least a few MLB player props that are worth a look.
Because so many things can go wrong during the course of what is a long season, a key to betting futures and player props is of course getting significant value. You can get the favorites at 3/1 or 4/1 and have a real good chance of cashing a ticket in six months, but if I'm looking for those odds I'll go to the race track and learn the fate of my investment in less than two minutes.
Howard hit 22 home runs in just 312 at bats the previous season. While no one could have reasonably predicted he would hit 58 and win the MVP last season, the numbers suggested he was certainly capable of 40-plus which in the presumed post-steroid era would keep a player in the title hunt, making the 40/1 the ideal value play.
Off of his monster season Howard joins David Ortiz and Albert Pujols as the 4/1 favorites to capture the 2007 home run crown based on odds from Bodog. Of course, each of these guys has a legit chance and for the money should be in the chase all season.
A healthy Albert Pujols might offer the best value of the three. Pujols hit a career high 49 last year even though he had more than 50 fewer at bats than in any other season.
For my money however, I'm looking for odds of 10/1 or better and I'll go to Alex Rodriguez. Even though A-Rod has led the Junior Circuit in home runs in four of the last six seasons, Bodog has him listed at an attractive 11/1.
Last season A-Rod managed just 35 dingers, a number I would be shocked if he doesn't eclipse this season. The Yankee third baseman has had his problems in pinstripes but his regular season numbers continue to be among the best in the game. He has an out clause in his contract after this season that he has indicated he would be willing to explore. If he is serious about leaving the Bronx and hopes to command the kind of dollars he is currently earning he will need a huge MVP-type season so I would expect him to deliver.
If you are looking for the really big odds I would go to Miguel Cabrera at 50/1 or Nick Swisher at 100/1. It is easy to forget that Cabrera, who hit just 26 last season after back-to-back seasons of 33, is only 24 years-old. With normal development it is only logical to think that he is capable of hitting 40 or more in a season in the near future. I would, of course, be surprised if Swisher led the league this year, but at odds of 100/1 it is worth taking a shot on a guy who managed 35 in just his second season.
Bodog is listing the field at 15/1, which doesn't represent any value when it is extremely unlikely someone other than the 39 players listed individually will win the title.
Johan Santana is the 5/2 choice to lead MLB in wins followed by Chris Carpenter at 16/5.
I would suggest it is more likely that neither even lead their respective league in wins and would look instead to Roy Halladay at 7/1 or Carlos Zambrano at 11/1. Halladay is arguably the best starter in the game and if he remains healthy could be a steal at this number while Zambrano could easily improve over the 16 wins he posted in 2006 on a much-improved Cubs team.
A longshot worth a look might be Randy Johnson at 18/1. In spite of the criticism he received in the Bronx the Big Unit did manage to win 17 games last season and he returns to Arizona where he posted the only back-to-back 20 wins seasons of his career, including a career-best 24 wins in 2002.
The field here is not a bad option at 10/1 as it is not surprising that a pitcher emerge from next to nowhere, much like Carpenter did a few years ago, as a staff Ace.
The saves prop is the least attractive of those currently offered by Bodog, due mostly to the unpredictable nature of the stat. The favorites here are Francisco Rodriguez at 3/1 and Billy Wagner and Mariano Rivera at 7/2. My preference would be Trevor Hoffman at 11/2 or B.J. Ryan at 8/1.
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