MLB Betting: Top 5 Futures Value Plays
by Aaron Smith - 5/3/2013
We are a little more than a month into the new season, and there have been some big surprises and big disappointments all over the MLB standings. As a baseball bettor, it’s always a good idea to try to take advantage of surprises and disappointments. It’s a long year, and just because one team has a good or bad month certainly doesn’t mean that’s the way it will be all year. That’s where finding value in MLB futures can be a very profitable venture.
Where can you find value filled MLB futures plays after a month of the 2013 season? Let’s take a look and see where the value is on a case-by-case basis. Here is a list of five futures values plays. Odds listed are as of May 3, 2013.
Top Five MLB Futures Values
1. Cincinnati Reds to win the NL Pennant (+575 at BetOnline)
The Cincinnati Reds have about as much balance as any team in baseball. Cincinnati has started the season slowly, which gives us a chance to pick them up at a much lower price than we could have gotten before the season started. Johnny Cueto will be back soon, and with Cueto, Latos, and Bailey the Reds have a very good top three in the rotation. Aroldis Chapman is throwing the ball very well again this year as the closer.
The offense has been disappointing so far this year, but I expect them to get it going in the long run. Joey Votto is one of baseball’s best hitters, and he’ll have big numbers by the end of 2013. Todd Frazier is ready for a breakout season, and Jay Bruce isn’t going to sit on one home run all year long. From my view, the Reds have as good of a chance as anyone to win the National League Pennant.
2. Texas Rangers to win the AL West (-145 at 5Dimes)
Some thought the Texas Rangers might experience a significant drop off with Josh Hamilton leaving, but this is a really deep team. This isn’t the same Texas Rangers team from years ago where they simply have to outscore opponents. In fact, Texas ranks in the Top 5 of almost all the major pitching categories after the first month of the season. That is particularly impressive considering where the Rangers play their home games. Yu Darvish is one of baseball’s best pitchers, and he’ll compete for the AL Cy Young award. The Rangers have a deep rotation full of young pitchers who are throwing the ball well.
Offensively, this is still a lineup that can produce from top to the bottom. There are no easy outs here. Lance Berkman has given the offense a nice boost, and his .454 on-base percentage is among the best in the league. No one else in the AL West has the benefit of such a strong lineup and a top-notch pitching staff.
3. Baltimore Orioles to win the AL Pennant (+975 at Bookmaker)
Buck Showalter has done an amazing job with this Orioles team. Before last season, no one even gave them a chance at being competitive. This is now a team that believes they can and will win every time they get on the field. The offense that looked so weak before last season is now a major strength. Chris Davis is finally realizing his potential, and Manny Machado is a star in the making. Baltimore is currently fifth in the majors in runs scored. In addition, the Orioles have one of the best bullpens in baseball, and everyone knows how important that can be.
Boston and Detroit may have better records than the Orioles, but +975 is a big number for a team with as many strengths as Baltimore. Putting a small amount of money on Baltimore at this price seems like a nice value.
4. Atlanta Braves to win the World Series (+700 at WagerWeb)
Atlanta made some big moves in the offseason, and so far this season they are paying off nicely. The Braves haven’t had a healthy lineup yet this year, and they still have one of the best records in baseball. If they can get a healthy Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, and Freddie Freeman all going, this team can be extremely dangerous.
The scary part for Atlanta’s opposition is the Braves have one of the best records in baseball despite having a .239 team batting average. Atlanta’s rotation is excellent, and the bullpen is the most consistent in baseball. Jonny Venters should be back in the next couple weeks, which will only make the bullpen even more dominant.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers to win the NL West (+195 at 5Dimes)
This one isn’t a popular play because of how poorly the Dodgers have been playing of late, but in order to get the best price on futures you often need to place the wager when it is most unpopular. By the time the betting public has figured out there is value there, it is too late to get a good price!
Clayton Kershaw is the most consistent starting pitcher in baseball. The Dodgers lineup hasn’t been very good this year, but with Hanley Ramirez back in the lineup that should improve quite a bit. I’m convinced that the San Francisco Giants are the Dodgers only real viable opponent in the NL West, and the Giants don’t have enough offensive firepower to run away with this division.
Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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