Can you believe opening day of the MLB season is this Thursday? It seems like yesterday I was listening to fireworks go off in L.A. after the Dodgers won the World Series. It was a messy 2020 season for the MLB, but things seem to be getting back to normal for them. The baseball season is insanely long, and these odds are bound to change. But as they are right now, I think there are some serious big cash opportunities. Let’s get into it with some futures bets I like.
Los Angeles Dodgers OVER 103.5 Wins
Go ahead, call me a boring and mainstream bettor for taking the over on Dodgers win totals in my futures bets. I get it, it’s an obvious choice and not one that will rock the boat much. But I am extremely confident in this bet. In 2020, LA went 43-17, winning 71.7% of games. In a 162 game season, winning 71.7% of games would be about 116 wins. That fact alone should give you confidence in the Dodgers going over 103.5. But don’t forget, they added the REIGNING NL CY YOUNG AWARD WINNER to a pitching staff that already includes Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw. Dustin May and Julio Urias are both rising stars, so this pitching staff is scarier than my first Multivariable Calculus midterm was.
The Dodgers also retained all of their key offensive/defensive pieces. The three-headed monster of Betts, Bellinger, and Seager make up arguably the best batting trio in baseball. Betts and Bellinger are also gold-glove winners. This team won the World Series in 2020 regardless of Bellinger’s struggles. His BA, OBP, SLG, and OPS were all below his career averages, despite being only 24 years old. If he returns to his 2019 form, I can’t even imagine what this offense will do. The 103.5 O/U mark assumes the Dodgers are worse than they were in 2020, when they are actually much better. Bet the over, and relax all season.
Juan Soto To Win NL MVP (+700)
Juan Soto is the most badass player in professional baseball. I LOVE this guy. He is only 22 years old in his fourth year in the majors but he has the swagger of someone with multiple MVPs. The Soto Shuffle? The most alpha move in all of sports. He wins the mental battle against opposing pitchers every time he steps up to bat. After an incredibly strong 2020 campaign, Soto looks poised to make a serious MVP run this season.
Last year he bat a whopping .351 with an OBP of .490. He reached base on almost 50% of his at-bats! Not to mention the 13 home runs he blasted in only 47 games. Projected across a full 162 game season, that would amount to about 44 homers. Soto is so good that ESPN literally invented a new statistic to emphasize his greatness. This Nationals teams needs to get back on track after a disappointing 2020 season, and Soto is the centerpiece of the franchise. The NL MVP race is up in the air, but at +700 odds, Soto is the player I am most confident betting on.
Chicago White Sox To Win The American League (+370)
I’m tired of the Yankees always being good. I’m just tired of it. It’s like when the Warriors dynasty came into the playoffs as the favorite every year and could only be beaten by Durant’s achilles or a fiercely determined Lebron James. It’s not fun to watch. You know what is fun to watch? The White Sox. I absolutely love this team and I think they have a great chance of representing the AL in the World Series. This offensive roster is stacked. You’ve got reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu, wildly athletic Luis Robert, and insanely efficient Tim Anderson.
In 2020 this team had the 6th highest BA, 3rd most HRs, and 5th most runs scored. They were a major threat entering the playoffs but were foiled by their poor pitching. They seem to have remedied this problem, at least for the most part. Lucas Giolito is their ace, and a sleeper Cy Young candidate. In his playoff start, he gave up only two hits and one run in seven innings.
The Sox brought in Lance Lynn as a fellow starter. Yes, the guy who looks like he’s about to fire up the grill with a Bud Light in his hand at your 4th of July family party. In 2020, Lynn posted the 2nd best WHIP of his career and his best ERA since 2015. They also brought in Liam Hendriks as a closer, who has an average ERA of 1.79 since 2019. This pitching staff is strong, and combined with the elite offense, I’m loving them as an AL champion pick at +370.
HR League Leader: Nolan Arenado (+5500)/Corey Seager (+8000)
I totally agree with what Terry said in his article about targeting value in futures bets. And I feel like some of the home run leader odds are just reckless right now. Arenado has led the NL in home runs three times in his career, and yet he has the 34th best odds to lead the league in 2021. That just doesn’t make sense to me. He had a bad year in 2020, but so did a ton of other stars in arguably the strangest MLB season of all time. From 2015-2019, he averaged 40 homers a season. This is incredible value to me.
I thought it was a joke when I saw Seager at +8000 among the futures bets for HR leader. I genuinely thought some clown at FanDuel was like “this’ll be a real hoot,” and hacked the system to give him these odds. One of my best friends is a diehard Dodger fan. So I never stop hearing about how underrated and slept on Corey Seager is. Honestly, he’s right. In 2020, 6.5% of his plate appearances were home runs. He hit 15 homers in 52 games, which would equate to about 47 in a 162 game season. In the playoffs, he hit 8 homers in 18 games. In Spring training this year, he has 7 in 20 games. +8000 is unreal value for Seager, and I’m all in.