By Adam Thompson | | 6 mins
Lock In These 4 MLB Futures Bets After Unique Opening Week
The opening week of the 2020 MLB season has been unlike any other. The coronavirus epidemic has seen to that. Before the first pitch of this delayed, shortened season, several players opted out of playing at all in 2020, including Dodgers starting pitcher David Price and Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Others were diagnosed with COVID-19 during training camp, including Nationals star Juan Soto.
Even more players tested positive after play began, including a host of Miami Marlins. Then there are the injuries, perhaps in part associated with the long delay and quick start to the season. It has made for an MLB odds upheaval of sorts — and we’re not even 10% through the season.
With all of that in mind, here are the four best MLB betting wagers to lock in following a wild opening week before it gets even weirder.
New York Yankees — Win AL Pennant (+175)
The Yankees were considered the class of the American League in MLB futures betting before the season. After one weekend, it’s hard to say that’s changed. In fact, their claim to the top spot in the junior circuit might be stronger after Astros star Justin Verlander was shut down. With Verlander out anywhere from a few weeks to the rest of the season, that crushes the AL West-favored Astros’ pitching depth.
Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole — himself a former Astros ace — looked great in his Yankees debut. The offense generated just nine runs in three games, but Giancarlo Stanton has been menacing.
Keep in mind, we haven’t seen New York at its best yet. The asymptomatic Aroldis Chapman will soon be cleared from his COVID-19 hiatus, and key starter Masahiro Tanaka (concussion) expects to debut over the weekend vs. the Red Sox.
This was a team that last year dealt with more injuries than any team in baseball history and still won 106 games. The Yankees are loaded for a big run and their top competition has been weakened. Get the Yankees at +175 to win the AL at Unibet.
Los Angeles Angels — Win AL West (+800)
The Angels have been fairly pedestrian in their opening games, but massive free-agency addition Anthony Rendon hasn’t played. Inserting him into the lineup (he’s scheduled to make his debut Tuesday) makes a world of difference for an offense that has managed just 11 runs through four games.
We can buy low on the Angels. Shohei Ohtani couldn’t get an out in his first start of the season, but he should straighten out. Julio Teheran, who the team added in the offseason, is still building to his first start after a positive COVID-19 test. Dylan Bundy looked great in his first start for the team, too.
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Verlander’s absence from the rotation will be hard to replace for the Astros, who are still favored in the division. The Rangers, who had an outside shot at being a contender, took a similar blow when top offseason acquisition Corey Kluber was shut down after his team debut.
The Oakland Athletics looked great over the weekend, but the Angels hung with them; each game was decided by three runs or in extra innings. The value is on L.A. to straighten out and compete, and hope the Astros can’t replace Verlander. Find the Angels to win the AL West for +800 at bet365.
Nolan Arenado — Over 6.5 HRs in August (-125)
It’s early, but Arenado took what the Rangers pitchers gave him in the first series of the season — which wasn’t much. He managed just two hits but walked three times.
But he’s just getting going, and August has been his month. Last year, Arenado crushed 12 home runs in the month. In seven of the last 12 months of action, he’s managed at least seven home runs.
The August schedule favors adding to that total. Colorado plays 30 games in 31 days instead of the usual 24-27. Of those 30, 18 are at Coors Field.
In Arenado’s past five seasons as a Rockies regular, he has hit 37-plus HRs in each and finished in the top eight in the NL MVP voting in each. He’ll get hot; August is set up perfectly for him to break out. Take the Over on the 6.5 home run total at BetMGM.
Mitch Keller, NL Rookie Of The Year (+700)
Of the top prospects on the board for this award, the majority were sent down to minor-league camp with a “TBD” on when they are called up, if at all.
Of the players who are already in the majors, Dodgers pitcher Dustin May had a solid debut in a spot start on Opening Day. He allowed only one run, but manager Dave Roberts pulled him after 4.1 innings and is notorious for his short leashes.
Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller is the one player in the top 10 who is, without a doubt, going to get a full slate of action. So far, so good: He held the Cardinals to one run on two hits in a winning, five-inning effort.
Keller was a big disappointment at the end of last year, registering a 7.13 ERA over 11 starts. But he returns and is still in the ROY discussion. He’s still considered the Pirates’ top prospect with a top-tier fastball and strikeout-inducing curve. Most important here is opportunity. He’s loading up on innings as award favorites Gavin Lux and Daulton Varsho train in the minors. Get Keller to win NL ROY at BetMGM.