2012 MLB Regular-Season Hitting Props with Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 3/29/2012
In case you missed it, and judging by ratings and overall lack of interest you did, the 2012 Major League Baseball regular season has begun, with the two of the expected worst teams in the American League, Seattle and Oakland, splitting two games in Japan. Now they come back and play a few more exhibition games before resuming their series in Oakland next Friday. Does it make any sense to play real games and then go back to Spring Training? No, but that’s an argument for another day.
With that said, a few weeks ago here at Doc’s, I wrote a story on some regular-season pitching props for this season. Here I will look at some hitting props, with odds from Sportsbook.com.
I touched on the player with the most homers this season in an earlier story, but the ‘over/under’ for the homers leader in 2012 is 42.5, with the over a -130 favorite. And the over seems like easy money. Yes, homers are down a bit with MLB cracking down on steroids, etc. – we won’t likely see another 60-homer Mark McGwire vs. Sammy Sosa-type season anytime soon.
In winning his second straight homer title a year ago, Toronto’s Jose Bautista hit 43. The major-league leader hasn’t hit fewer than 43 since Jose Canseco launched 42 in 1988. And since then, it often hasn’t even been close to that 42.5 number; the only other times were when Juan Gonzalez hit 43 in 1992 and Matt Williams hit 43 in the strike-shortened 1994 season. So indeed jump on the over there.
The RBI total for this season is at 130.5, with both options at -115. This one is a bit tougher. From 1996 when Andres Galarraga knocked in 150 to 2009 when Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard led the league with 141 RBI apiece, no player was under that 130.5 number. But the leader the past two seasons has landed right on 126: the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp last season (in winning the NL MVP and nearly the Triple Crown) and Miguel Cabrera in 2010.
I actually like the over here because both Fielder and Albert Pujols are in the American League now, which always has better and deeper lineups thanks to the DH. So I think one of those two guys knocks in at least 131. By the way, on Bovada Pujols’ over/under RBI total this season is 118.5 and 115.5. Needless to say, I like the over on those.
The runs total is 123.5 (both at -115). Last year the leader was Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson with 136. The runs leader has exceeded 123.5 every season since 1995 other than in 2010 when Pujols led the way with 115. Don’t be surprised if he wins the run title this year, either, as he has five times in his Hall of Fame career. The highest runs total since 1990 was Jeff Bagwell’s 152 in 2000. People probably are under the impression that leadoff hitters generally lead the league in runs but that rarely happens nowadays. Have to go over here.
The hits mark is 213 (both -115). That’s the exact mark last year’s leaders, the Red Sox’s Adrian Gonzalez and Rangers’ Michael Young, both landed on a season ago. The hits leader title used to belong to the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki, who has won it seven times, including five consecutive seasons. He set the all-time record with 262 in 2004. But Ichiro isn’t the player he used to be, failing to reach the 200-hit plateau a season ago for the first time in his MLB career. He did have four hits in the Mariners’ opener against the A’s but was 0-for-5 in the second game. No MLB leader has gone under the 213 mark since Alfonso Soriano in 2002. So I guess it’s the over here as well.
And finally, the steals mark is set at 61.5 (both at -115). Back in the days of Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman, this mark might have been met by the all-star break. But baseball is a power league now – and steals are practically forbidden if you follow the Moneyball theory. The leader last year was the Braves’ Michael Bourn with 61 (he was traded midseason from Houston). No player has gone under that 61.5 number since Luis Castillo had 48 in 2002. I actually like the under here because if a minor hammy issue hits someone like Bourn, the three-time NL steals champ, then he’s not getting to 61. By the way, his total on Bovada for the season is 52.5. In my opinion Bourn is the only player in the league with a chance to go over the 61.5.
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