MLB Predictions for Player Betting Props
by Trevor Whenham - 3/30/2011
With the baseball season about to start, this is a good time to take a last look at all of the season-long props that are available. BetUS has a wide range of player props available. A lot don’t make sense, but here are five that stand out as particularly interesting along with some MLB predictions for each:
Will best average in the league exceed .355? - I’m comfortably on the ‘yes’ here -- especially because it’s paying a very generous +145. The reasoning isn’t too tough in my mind -- there has been a player over this level in each of the last four years, with two in 2008. More significantly, it has been a different player each time -- Magglio Ordonez, Chipper Jones, Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer and Josh Hamilton -- so it’s not like we have to rely on one player in particular to come through. Seems like a comfortable gamble to me.
Most home runs in league (‘over/under’ 47.5) - You can’t go too far back into history with this one or you run right into the whole steroid thing. Seven years is about as far as I’ll comfortably go. In that time the evidence is fairly convincing - the home run leader has exceeded this number six times, and hit 47 the seventh time. The ‘over’ pays better than even money -- +135 -- so it’s attractive given the recent past. I’m surprised that the ‘over’ has made sense in both of these last two situations given the public tendency to go ‘over’ in most cases. It’s nice to be able to be optimistic for once.
Most RBI in league (‘over/under’ 137.5) - Again, the ‘over ‘is the underdog here, though at -110 it’s not nearly as generous as the last two offerings. Still, this is another chance to be an optimist and go ‘over’. The bad news is that there was no player to hit more than 126 RBI last year. That’s a problem. Now the good news -- in every other year since 1996 there has been at least one guy to go ‘over’ 137.5, and in many years there were more than one. That seems pretty clear cut if you are drawn to this bet.
Ichiro Suzuki total hits (‘over/under’ 205.5) - Basically what you are being asked to decide here is if 37 is too old for a guy who hits like Suzuki. Both the ‘over’ and the ‘under’ are at -115, so there is no initial indicator of the right way to go. Over the 10 years that Ichiro has been in the league he has played at least 146 games -- and at least 157 games in all but one year. Last year he was one of just two guys to play all 162 games. In each year he has had at least 206 hits, and he has had more than that for each of the last five years. Ichiro is certainly getting older, but any evidence that it is catching up with him in a significant way has not yet manifested it on itself. Betting that this will be the year that that changes is a bit like betting that the roulette wheel will come up black because it is due after 10 straight reds -- dangerous and not nearly as good an idea as it seems.
Jose Bautista total home runs (‘over/under’ 27.5) - Looking back at Bautista’s career a couple of things jump out. First, he managed to play major league games for four different teams in the same season in 2004 -- Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Kansas City. It’s hard to believe that is even possible. Second, his power production last year really did come from nowhere. Last year he had 54 home runs. In the parts of six seasons that he had played in the league before last year he had a total of 59 homers, with no more than 16 in one year. The question, then, is just how much of a fluke last year was. I think it was a bit of a fluke -- you can hardly argue that it wasn’t given the increase in production in one year -- but I am still very bullish about Bautista. He has taken on a key leadership role with the Jays this year with the departure of Vernon Wells, and I think he will flourish in that position. He’s 30, so he’s in his prime in terms of power. He has a solid team round him that I expect to play with swagger and effectiveness this year. He’s coming off a strong spring, and he has been named the permanent right fielder -- a position which he clearly liked last year. More than 50 home runs is not likely again, but 30 seems fully within reach. I’ll take the ‘over’ without hesitation -- even though all this optimism is making me sick.
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