2019 MLB Home Run King Betting Odds with Expert Predictions
Baseball is tantalizingly close. As I write this, pitchers and catchers have already reported, so soon we will be watching preseason baseball, and the real games will be here before we know what has hit us. And I, for one, can't wait. To pass the time until the games get rolling, we might as well look at the most fun statistical category out there - the home run. Here's a look at BetOnline's odds for the home run title this year:
Giancarlo Stanton (+700): Stanton has led the league in 2014 and 2017. He had a solid year last year and should be even better this year now that he has had more time to adjust to life in the American League. I don't like his chances to lead his team in home runs, though, so I can't justify betting him as the favorite.
Aaron Judge (+1000): Judge missed a month and a half last year after being hit on the wrist and was rusty when he came back. He was on track to win it all before he was hurt, though, and returned to strong form by the time the playoffs rolled around. I like his game so much - because how can you not? - and I expect him to rebound very well if he can stay healthy. He's fairly attractive at this price.
Mike Trout (+1600): Trout had 39 dingers last year in just 140 games, so he was on track to have his best power season of his career. I am not convinced that he could lead the league if this was a big power year because I don't think he has 50 home run power. But if it is a more modest year for home runs, he is a factor. This price is close to fair, but no better than that. I'll look elsewhere.
J.D. Martinez (+1800): Martinez had 45 homers over two teams in 2017 and 43 last year. He'll be more familiar with his surroundings in his second year in Boston and could come close to the same kind of productivity. I don't think that that will be quite enough, though, and I don't see a ton of upside for him. The price is fair but not tempting for me.
Joey Gallo (+1800): Gallo has been very consistent in his two years as a full-time major leaguer. He had 41 homers two years ago and 40 last year. The track record isn't long enough for me to trust a ton of upside. I'll look elsewhere for more value.
Khris Davis (+2000): This is the place to look for surprising value. Davis led the league in home runs with 48 last year, and it was the third straight season the slugger had gone over 40 bombs. He's a real contender, and I like the price. I also like Davis for another big reason - he is the owner of probably my favorite statistical achievement in all of sports. Ever. Davis has hit exactly .247 each of the last four seasons. He has had at least 392 at-bats all four years, and 555 or more in three of the four. The complications involved in being that consistent over that kind of sample size is mind boggling. Not because of that but because of his power, I would bet Davis without hesitation if I could only bet on one guy.
Bryce Harper (+2500) and Manny Machado (+5000): These two are impossible to judge, obviously, which makes this whole exercise almost pointless. Neither one has a team yet, which means that we have no idea whether they will land in home run heaven or hell. Harper is obviously more likely to be contender here - as the prices suggest - but he's not such a contender that we could justify betting this price and hoping he lands well somewhere. Heck, at this point we can't even be sure that these two will be anywhere when the playoffs start.
Nolan Arenado (+2500): Arenado is durable, and he plays in a friendly stadium in Colorado. He has averaged 39.5 home runs per season over the last four years, so he is consistent. But he hasn't shown real upside. I expect a strong home run year this year - perhaps because I am a hopeful optimist - so I don't think Arenado can quite keep up.
Nelson Cruz (+3300): Cruz moves to Minnesota after years in Seattle. His home run total has dropped each of the last three seasons, and he's coming off of just 37 last year - not nearly enough to contend for the crown. With his age and the change of location, I can't justify backing him here.
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