2010 MLB Futures Betting - MLB Futures Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 4/1/2010
As hard as it is to believe, the baseball season starts this weekend. From now until October we'll have baseball to watch, and to bet on, virtually every day. Before the season even starts we can entertain ourselves, and get ready for the season in the process, by looking for good value in props and futures. Here are ten bets that look to have value in my eyes (all odds are from Bodog):
Seattle 2/1 to win AL West - I think that this is the year for the Mariners in the AL West. I should say up front, though, that I have been saying that for long enough that I'll still be in the hole when I cash this one. They have one of the best top-three pitcher rotations in the league with Hernandez, Lee, and Bedard. If they can stay healthy that is going to scare a whole lot of teams. They have done a good job of replacing offense, and have upgraded their defense to the point that it's the best in the league. Milton Bradley needs to behave, but if he does then this team is going to come out on top in a division that really has one other top contender - Texas.
New York Mets 13/2 to win the NL East - I don't love the Mets, but I like them at this price. The Phillies are the obvious class of the division, but they are badly overbet at 4/7, and that has pumped up the rest of the prices. The Mets chronically underachieve, but they have some bats, they have a decent rotation if it can stay healthy, and manager Jerry Manuel will be motivated as he is clearly playing for his job. They are far from a lock to win it, but they would win it enough over the long term to make this profitable.
Boston 7/4 to win the AL Wild Card - You can get the Red Sox at 7/4 to win the AL East, or at the same price to essentially finish second to the Yankees. I like this option better. I don't think that the Red Sox have the firepower to keep up with the Yankees if both teams are at their best, but there is a pretty good chance that they are at least in the mix for the wild card - and the favorite to win it.
Texas 11/1 to win AL Wild Card - I'm bullish on the AL West, and it's hard not to like what Texas has done. Their pitching is the best t has been in years. With guys like Cruz, Kinsler, Young, Guerrero and Hamilton - and maybe Mike Lowell - they are going to be able to mash it. They will pick up wins from a weak bottom end of their division, and from plenty of weakness in the bottom of the AL. I like Seattle better, but I could certainly see Texas in the mix with the Red Sox for the last playoff spot.
Tampa Bay ‘over’ 89.5 (even) - The Rays won 84 last year, and I like them to do better than that this time around. Their roster is essentially intact from last year, and that's a good thing. Their lineup combines speed and power as well as any team. What I really like, though, is the rotation. James Shield is the de facto ace, and he's just 28 and could have his best play ahead of him. David Price has almost limitless potential. Matt Garza is solid and often better than that. Niemann had a great year last year, and is good enough that he can at least replicate it. Wade Davis is young and learning fast. Each one of their pitchers has the ability to be better, and perhaps significantly better than they were last year. Expectations are high for this team in my eyes - in the 94-win range.
Highest win total by any team – ‘under’ 100.5 (-110) - This is a simple math play. In four of the last five years the best team has won 100 or less, so there is great value in this one. I feel reasonably comfortable in this one because the best teams all play in fairly strong divisions so they aren't gong to get a lot of easy wins.
San Francisco ‘over’ 82.5 (-120) - The Giants won 88 games last year, and I am willing to bet that they are no worse than five games off of that this year. Tim Lincecum might not have another Cy Young in him this year, but he'll be solid, and he's joined by Cain, Zito, and Sanchez in a pretty decent rotation. Pablo Sandoval leads the way in a lineup that is young and growing into themselves. There are probably a few more divisional wins to be had this year, so there is good value here.
Johan Santana 12/1 to win NL Cy Young - In the eyes of the bettors this is a two-horse race - Halladay at 5/2 and Lincecum at 7/2. Though I have nothing but respect for both guys, and have Halladay as my firm favorite, this price is far more attractive. He needs to rely on run support from his teammates, and that's a scary proposition with the Mets. If he gets that, though, and if he can regain his health, then he is certainly of the caliber needed to compete. At his best he's no worse than the third best pitcher in the NL, so this price is far too high thanks to the love for the other two. He also has the potential advantage of seeing the Phillies a bunch and perhaps facing Halladay once or more. Coming out on top in a head-to-head showdown would certainly help his case.
Zack Greinke ‘under’ 15 wins (-110) - Greinke won 16 last year. He was incredibly impressive, but the smart move in my eyes is to assume slightly less this year. His team is still lousy, we can't assume he'll get the red-hot start he got last year, and teams are going to be that much more prepared for his devastating stuff. Given where he plays and what he has to deal with he could win 13 or 14 and still be a major success.
Scott Kazmir ‘over’ 12.5 wins (-105) - Kazmir was lousy for the Rays last year, but had a nice 1.73 ERA in six starts after joining the Angels. This isn't going to be a great Angels team, but he's going to get plenty of opportunities to throw, and they are still good enough to support him as long as he is reasonably solid. He has won 13 before, and hasn't been able to start a full season since. The Angels had two guys win 16 last year, and a third, John Lackey, who got 11 wins in just 27 starts, so they have the capability to support him, and they need him to step up. I'd be happier if the number was just 12, but I still see value in this.
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