As we make our way through Spring Training up until Opening Day 2019, now is a good time to evaluate the different MLB betting futures markets that are up on the board.
888Sport has posted a slew of season-long baseball prop focusing on who’ll win the major categories. We’ve picked three form the long list and paired them with both a safe bet and a longshot.
Let’s take a closer look at the props and the picks:
Which Pitcher Will Finish With The Most Wins in 2019?
Safe Bet: Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
Odds: +1100 at 888Sport
It’s hard not to love Verlander considering how well he pitched in his first full season in Houston. He picked up 16 wins and set new career-highs for strikeouts and WHIP, and some – including wife Kate Upton – feel he should have won the Cy Young Award.
Diving into his stats, though, you’ll notice that he had nine losses when he gave up only three runs or less. Run support was an issue as he only got 4.4 runs from a team that averaged 4.9. With greater run support, Verlander could push for 18-20 wins on this World Series-contending team.
Longshot: Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Odds: +5000 at 888Sport
Injuries are always a concern with Strasburg but if he can approach or surpass 30 starts, he should have a chance to contend for the lead in this category.
Yes, the Nats did lose Bryce Harper but they should still be a very good team without him. This team is still expected to win around 90 games. He was 10-7 last year but posted back-to-back 15-win campaigns before that. Remember that the Nats have had a terrible bullpen in the past but it should be better – especially if they sign closer Craig Kimbrel.
Who’ll Hit The Most Home Runs in 2019?
Safe Bet: Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics
Odds: +1200 at 888Sport
While he’s not the household name of Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton, this guy is not only the defending home run champ, he’s also one heck of a consistent hitter. I’m surprised he’s on the board at +1200 and not less.
Davis has batted exactly .247 in four straight seasons while clubbing at least 42 home runs in three straight. He hit 48 last season, 43 in 2017 and 42 in 2016.
Taking a look at the season-long FanGraphs projections, their analytics models show that he’ll finish with 39 home runs – second only to Stanton. Davis will have great protection in the lineup from Matt Olson, who is a fast-riser who hit 29 home runs last season. As long as Davis is healthy, he’ll be in the mix.
Longer Shot: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
Odds: +1800 at 888Sport
Harper stole headlines when he signed his 13-year, $300-million contract with the Phillies at the beginning of March. Of course, it’s a lot of pressure to produce at the beginning of a new deal but Harper might be worth a bet here.
Harper hit 34 home runs last season with 17 coming at home and 17 coming on the road. However, if you look at the balls he hit last year at Nationals Park and overlay them with Citizens Bank Ballpark, you’d see that there are about nine or 10 balls that were doubles in Washington that would be dingers in Philly. That could put him in the running.
Who’ll Have The Most RBIs in 2019?
Safe Bet: Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees
Odds: +1400 at 888Sport
Stanton had a really slow start to last year but eventually clubbed 38 home runs and knocked in 100 RBI’s. He averaged 12.5 RBI’s per month in April and May but then really got going, averaging 17.8 in the next four. If he maintains that pace across a full season, it should put him in the 110 range.
Having a healthy Aaron Judge in front of him (only played 112 games last season) as well as Brett Gardner should give him plenty of opportunity to knock in runs. I’m not expecting the 132 RBI’s that he posted in 2017 in his final season with the Miami Marlins but I do think he’ll finish atop the Majors in this category.
Longshot: Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies
Odds: +2000 at 888sport
Hoskins took the league by storm in 2017 when he knocked 17 home runs out of the park in just 50 games. He was on a torrid pace, smashing all sorts of rookie records. He “cooled off” in 2018, hitting 34 home runs and knocking in 96 runs in 153 contests.
Why I like Hoskins in this spot is because the Phillies have improved their roster quite a bit. Yes, we know about Harper but there’s also Andrew McCutchen and possibly Jean Segura at the top of the lineup.
Batting cleanup for a team that should be among the league-leaders in runs scored is a good place to be looking for an RBI leader.