With sports betting becoming legal state-by-state, we’ve partnered with Total Sports Picks to share our favorite futures bets ahead of this week’s long-awaited start to the 2020 MLB season from their preferred partners PointsBet and Draft Kings.
The 2020 MLB season is going to be like nothing we have seen before. The regular season will consist of a 60-game “sprint” to decide who will take their place in the postseason. With this season taking a different shape, major adjustments are required in thinking when it comes to analyzing the betting markets. Conventional wisdom cannot be applied to the 2020 season. Therefore, thinking outside the box could be a major asset when trying to find value. Let’s take a look at some team futures that could offer value in 2020.
Washington Nationals to win the National League | +825 on PointsBet (+750 DK)
Repeating as World Series champions is an extremely tough thing to do, having not been achieved in the past two decades. However, this season is different from the usual season and that plays into the hands of the Nationals. Usually, a deep playoff run makes it hard for pitchers to perform to the same levels the following season. This is not a usual situation, with an extra four months rest for the Nationals’ pitching staff. The regular-season numbers for the Nationals’ pitching staff as a whole were not all that impressive. However, in Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin they have arguably the best 1-2-3 combination in the league.
Their lineup appears weaker than last year with the loss of Anthony Rendon. However, the addition of Eric Thames and Starlin Castro gives this roster players that can provide plenty to the lineup. The Nationals are being slept on this season due to conventional logic, but this season is anything other than conventional. That makes the Nationals an interesting bet, not just for the NL overall but also when it comes to the over on their win total, and their odds to make the playoffs.
Washington Nationals to make the playoffs | -121 DraftKings
Washington Nationals Over 33.5 Regular Season Wins | -110 PointsBet
Tampa Bay Rays to win the American League | +800 on DraftKings
The American League has two clear favorites in the New York Yankees (+175) and Houston Astros (+400), but they both have concerns entering 2020. The Yankees rotation already looks to be lacking depth, especially if Masahiro Tanaka does not recover from being hit by a line drive quickly. The Astros will be under an incredible amount of scrutiny and their hitters will have to cope with the potential of being hit by pitches on a regular basis.
That leaves the potential for the next tier of teams to take a run at the AL in 2020. Of that next tier the two best teams are the Minnesota Twins (+800) and Tampa Bay Rays (+1000). The Twins have not won a playoff game since 2004 and that is a concern when backing them to win two full series. Their pitching is perhaps the weakest of the top-end teams in the AL, and in the cooler weather of the playoffs come October pitching will be crucial.
That leads us to the Rays, who enter the 2020 season with a pitching staff that led MLB in FIP while ranking in the top three in strikeouts per nine innings, ERA and runs allowed per game. Their hitting lacks top-end talent, but they play matchups smartly and get the best out of their hitters. This team nearly got past last year’s AL Champion Houston Astros in the 2019 Division Series, demonstrating they have the ability to compete with the best.
Baltimore Orioles Under 20.5 Regular Season Wins | -110 on PointsBet
The Orioles were not very good in 2019. The most games they won in any 60-game span in 2019 was just 24 as they limped to winning just a third of their games overall. Incredibly, this team may have actually got worse in 2020 with the loss of Trey Mancini, Jonathan Villar, and Dylan Bundy. Their replacements do not offer a significant level of improvement and could make a team that finished in the bottom-third in runs per game even worse next season.
What makes this season even tougher for the Orioles is a schedule that sees them face not only the AL East but also the incredibly strong NL East as well. Projecting a team to win a third of their games or less is a risky call, but the Orioles are so bad they might just be capable of it.
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Arizona Diamondbacks Over 31.5 Regular Season Wins | +100 on DraftKings
The Diamondbacks roster does not stand out as one that will strike fear into opponents, but it did not last season either and they won 86 games. While their lineup has not really improved in 2020, they did add Madison Bumgarner to lead their rotation. Bumgarner will head up a rotation that includes Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver, and Merrill Kelly.
Zac Gallen, Nasty Changeup gives Ohtani happy feet. 🐧 pic.twitter.com/oAyuINT2XL
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 7, 2020
With a strong rotation and solid, if unspectacular, lineup plus 40 games against relatively mediocre opponents in the NL and AL West, this team has a real chance to not only win 32 or more games but also challenge for the playoffs.
Los Angeles Angels Under 32.5 Regular Season Wins | -110 on DraftKings (30.5 on PointsBet)
The Angels regular have a projected win total over the .500 mark and seemingly that is based almost entirely based on the reputation of their components. The Angels lineup has the potential to blow teams away, but with their rotation one of the weakest in the league, having given up the seventh-most runs per game in 2019, they need that lineup to fire every single day.
In a shortened season, pitching is the key, especially when 16 of your games will be against the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Angels need to win close to three-quarters of their games against the rest of the schedule to make up for the fact they could lose 10 of those 16 games, and with this rotation, it is hard to imagine their offense being able to do it as often as they need to.
DraftKings had the Over/Under set at 32.5 Wins, compared to 30.5 Wins on PointsBet. Be sure to take advantage on DraftKings.
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