MLB Futures: Best Bets for Division Winners (2022)

After contentious offseason negotiations, baseball fans can breathe a sigh of relief that there will be a season, and all 162 games will be played. Though MLB’s long season makes many bettors hesitant to place futures bets and have their money tied up for a long stretch, such wagers can pay huge dividends when accurately assessed.

Teams were not allowed to negotiate with players during the long lockout, which created an offseason frenzy when plans for the season were finally settled. Several players changed teams in a short period, so bettors should be sure to be up to date with all the roster changes before placing their futures wagers.

In this article, we offer our best futures bets for all six MLB division winners (Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook).

Check out MLB Division Winner odds across all sportsbooks >>

American League East: Toronto Blue Jays (+170)

Others: New York Yankees (+200), Tampa Bay Rays (+320), Boston Red Sox (+550), Baltimore Orioles (+15000)

There is some good money to be made with a futures bet on the AL East, as it is just one of two divisions with all teams at plus-money odds. We would be much more willing to fire on Tampa Bay’s +320 odds than New York’s +200 odds, as the Yankees arguably did not make themselves much better with their offseason moves. The Rays kept much of the core of a 100-win team together, and many expect a breakout year from rising star Wander Franco, which makes their +320 odds intriguing. However, it is hard not to get excited about what Toronto did in the offseason.

The Blue Jays added Matt Chapman to what was already an explosive lineup and one that helped produce a +183 run differential (third-best in the AL last year). While last year’s Cy Young winner, Robbie Ray, is in Arizona, Toronto added Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi to form a deep rotation. 

In addition to who is on the roster, the Blue Jays also have a built-in advantage with the rules constructed the way they are, in that unvaccinated players cannot play in their ballpark. Thus, that presents significant issues for teams like the Yankees, who have several unvaccinated players that would potentially be out of their lineup in road games in Toronto. 

Lastly, the Blue Jays have shown a willingness to spend money, which always comes in handy at the trade deadline. Thus, Toronto’s already stacked roster might look even more impressive in the second half of the year.

American League Central: Chicago White Sox (-195)

Others: Minnesota Twins (+500), Detroit Tigers (+750), Cleveland Guardians (+1000), Kansas City Royals (+1500)

The Detroit Tigers have generated a lot of buzz with the additions of Javier Baez, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Michael Pineda. That buzz has translated into bettors taking a flier on their futures odds, as Detroit has drawn the highest ticket percentage and handle percentage at BetMGM. However, the White Sox won the AL Central by 13 games last year despite having many of their biggest bats on extended IL stints. Therefore, none of Detroit’s moves or those of any other divisional opponents move the needle enough to unseat the White Sox.

Chicago has an incredible blend of young talent and proven stars and has arguably the best bullpen in the league. If their bats can stay healthier, there is no reason the White Sox cannot win this division by more than 13 games this year.

American League West: Houston Astros (-175)

Others: Los Angeles Angels (+400), Seattle Mariners (+450), Texas Rangers (+1900), Oakland Athletics (+3000)

Despite a +205 run differential, the Astros were pushed by the Mariners late in the season. And now that Carlos Correa is in Minnesota, Houston seems more vulnerable than they were entering any of the last five seasons. However, optimists will say Justin Verlander returns as the ace of a strong rotation. In addition, the team is one year further removed from the adverse treatment they will face at visiting ballparks due to the cheating scandal.

One of these years, the Angels will get the most out of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, and it will not be long before Seattle wins the AL West either. But, unfortunately, neither of those things will unseat Houston atop the AL West.

National League East: New York Mets (+150)

Others: Atlanta Braves (+140), Philadelphia Phillies (+380), Miami Marlins (+1600), Washington Nationals (+5500)

While all five teams went into last season with a realistic chance to win the NL East, the division seems like a two-team race between the Mets and Braves this year. Atlanta surprisingly overcame Ronald Acuna Jr.’s season-ending injury last year to win the World Series. However, Freddie Freeman’s departure to Los Angeles will be too much to overcome, and we like the Mets to win the division for the first time since 2015.

Mets owner Steve Cohen is not shy about spending money if it will put a solid product on the field. He already made Max Scherzer the highest-paid player in baseball, and the combination of him and Jacob DeGrom at the top of the rotation is the most feared No. 1 and No. 2 starters in recent memory. Of course, New York will need a big bounceback year from Francisco Lindor to make up for an underwhelming lineup last year, but there is no doubt that the Mets have the pitching to be a contender.

National League Central: St. Louis Cardinals (+215)

Others: Milwaukee Brewers (-165), Chicago Cubs (+1100), Cincinnati Reds (+1700), Pittsburgh Pirates (+7500)

The Brewers got career years from Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta en route to their second division title since 2012. However, we do not see the stars aligning as well for Milwaukee this season and are backing St. Louis to win the Central in a bit of an “upset.” 

St. Louis has one of the best defenses in the league and a stable of power arms out of the bullpen. Adding Steven Matz for rotation depth may be considered one of the best under-the-radar moves of the offseason. If Jack Flaherty can come back from injury and give the team more than the 24 combined starts he made the last two seasons, St. Louis is capable of unseating Milwaukee.

National League West: Los Angeles Dodgers (-235)

Others: San Diego Padres (+350), San Francisco Giants (+550), Colorado Rockies (+12000), Arizona Diamondbacks (+12000)

It took a surprising 107 wins by the Giants to narrowly edge the Dodgers by one game in the NL West last year. However, we do not expect that sort of lightning to strike twice, as Los Angeles is the clear class of this division and might be head and shoulders better than every other team in baseball. 

We all expected the Padres, not the Giants, to push the Dodgers for the NL West crown last year. And while San Diego is once again a talented team on paper, they may bury themselves in an early hole, with Fernando Tatis Jr. likely to miss up to three months as he recovers from a fractured wrist. On the other hand, the Dodgers won 106 games last year, added Freddie Freeman, and still have a lethal starting rotation. -235 odds are steep odds to pay, but Los Angeles should win this division going away.

Check out MLB Division Winner odds across all sportsbooks >>

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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