MLB Betting Odds and Expert Predictions: Live Long Shots for Futures Wagering
When it comes to betting long shots in futures and full-season props, baseball is the most attractive sport out there. The reason is simple - crazy things happen in baseball. Just last year, Aaron Judge came from nowhere to win the American League home run title, and the Twins went from 59 wins to the playoffs. And the poster boy for bizarre turnarounds is R.A. Dickey, who was 8-13 the year before he increased his strikeout total by 96, won 20 games and took home a Cy Young. If Dickey can turn into a Cy Young winner in one year then there is hope for any guy on a major league roster to have a big year this year.
So, it seems like a good time, as the start of the season nears, to look for players and teams that could offer some intriguing value for those who love to gamble:
Philadelphia Phillies to win the National League (+2500): Everyone is only talking about three teams in the NL - the Cubs, Dodgers and Nationals. But maybe the Phillies could sneak right up the middle. They have been rebuilding for a long time and have been patient and have done a good job of it. It still feels like they have a way to go, but they sure don't seem to feel that way. They splashed out some real money to land Jake Arrieta to slot in behind young stud Aaron Nola in the rotation. Teams don't make moves like that when they intend to be mediocre. Maybe they think they are further ahead than it seems. All three of those favorites are at +350 or lower to win the league, so in comparison this is a massive price. And the wild-card battle seems fairly wide open, so the Phillies could easily sneak in.
Aaron Sanchez to win the AL Cy Young (+3300): The odds suggest that this is a two-man race between Chris Sale and Corey Kluber. They are bet down so much that other prices are higher than they should be - like this one. The Jays were a mess last year, so they aren't getting a lot of attention. And Sanchez' season was essentially lost with recurring issues with blisters. The year before, though, he led the AL in ERA, and he's still young enough that there is upside. He has an overhauled and improved roster behind him that should be good enough to give him more run support than Toronto hurlers got last year, too. The price could certainly be less attractive.
Taijuan Walker to win the NL Cy Young (+10000): Now we are really in long shot territory. The Diamondbacks have a chance to have a heck of a rotation and a decent team. Walker is turning 26 this summer, so he is entering his prime. He has pitched three mostly complete seasons - the first two with Seattle and last year in Arizona. While he hasn't set the world on fire, his underlying numbers are quite solid, and he strikes out a lot of guys while not giving up an ugly number of walks. There seems to be some yet untapped potential with this former first-rounder, and if he can start to reach that potential he could deliver a really nice payoff. I'll say this with confidence - Walker is going to be viewed as a much better pitcher by the end of his career than he is now.
Khris Davis to win the AL MVP (+6600): The MVP talk in the AL centers on guys like eternal candidate Mike Trout, defending champ Jose Altuve, Bronx mega-sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor. But Davis doesn't get nearly enough attention in this league. The last two years he has had 42 and 43 home runs, respectively, and he has averaged 106 RBIs. He's incredibly consistent, too - his batting average has been .247 each of the last three seasons. It's hard to distinguish yourself playing for a dog of a team in a forgotten market, but the A's should be a little improved this year. A fast start would help. He'll need some top contenders to stumble, too, but at this price he's worth a look.
Buster Posey to win the NL MVP (+10000): We know Posey can win the MVP for one simple reason - he has already done it. Since the 2012 win he's just kept doing what he does - hitting for average and power while calling a strong game behind the plate. Last year was a mess of a year in San Francisco when everything that could have gone wrong did. Posey still hit .320, though, and had his best OPS since his MVP year. Now the Giants are much improved - mostly by getting healthy but also by adding two franchise players stolen from lesser markets. If they can contend deep into the season in the NL West then Posey could find himself in the heart of the race. Bettors have clearly forgotten about him based on this price.
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