Tips for MLB Betting Futures In 2020 & The Favorites For Each Strategy

Tips for MLB Betting Futures In 2020 & The Favorites For Each Strategy

2020 mlb futures picks

In case you haven’t noticed, the MLB offseason has been wild, thanks primarily to the Houston Astros and their cheating scandal. It’s a scandal dividing the nation (Houston vs everyone reasonable in the world).

Every few days, there’s more information, some added wrinkle of insight, or another “I suspected something was off” story from an opposing team’s player. Regardless of whether it’s good attention or bad, the MLB is suddenly back in everyone’s lives. For the gambling world, it’s a buffet of futures picks for both teams and individual awards. So, with Spring Training underway, the odds are out and it’s a good time to dive into the action.

We’ve never had a narrative that really carries more merit in regards to predicting postseason success than, “It’s more about who gets hot at the right time.” For years, we’ve heard, “pitching wins championships” and though that’s very accurate, it’s not always the one thing you can point to and agree on. We know pitching is crucial. Most teams go to a three-man rotation in the fall, so having an elite one to three in the rotation is extremely important.

It’s also critical to have a hot team offensively, to a degree. The dominance of a high-end rotation is relative to the amount of offense a team will have to generate to get wins, so that’s typically the way I approach futures bets with baseball.

With that being said, here are some tips for betting on MLB in 2020.

Be wary of a stacked division

This is one of those “Enter at your own risk” warnings. It’s important to pay attention to basic math with these playoff predictions. There are five teams in every division. Off the bat, that’s a 20% chance at making the playoffs.

Now, consider only two remaining teams from the three divisions in each league will get the final two playoff spots, and just one of those teams will get one of the final four spots in each league. Realistically, a team will need to win 90 games or so to get into the playoffs.

So, when you’re considering the teams you want to choose to put a futures bet on, ask yourself, “Which one of these teams has the easiest route to the playoffs?” From this angle, there’s one team that really jumps off the page for me. It’s the Los Angeles Dodgers.

LA Dodgers -1000 (to win NL West) & +375 to win World Series

Okay, this one is simple. The Dodgers (projected 100.5 wins) have the highest disparity of projected winning games to their next closest division opponent (Diamondbacks at 82.5). No other team in baseball is really even close to this disparity.

At that projected total, they’re solid contenders, even if they sustain a few key injuries. As far as the entire board goes, the Dodgers are easily the best pick to win their division. The Dodgers have won the NL West seven years in a row and feature a top five offense and a top three rotation.

There’s a lot of scenarios that can play out over the course of a baseball season, and for the Dodgers, there’s a less than ten percent chance they don’t win the division. I love those odds, especially over 162 games. 

Find the best three-man rotations and bullpens

As we discussed earlier, pitching matters. It’s relative to your opponent and your offense, but at the core of the basis for playoff success, the ability to keep games low scoring will give even the most offensively challenged teams a real shot.

From this perspective, there are some teams who could do some damage if their pitching performs and their offense gets just hot enough at the right time. Since we can’t predict the latter of the two, we can only really look at the pitching side and go on the longest odds among the best pitching teams. 

Tampa Bay Rays +900 (to win AL Pennant) & +2000 (to win the World Series)

The trio of Morton, Glasnow, and Snell is as good as any other in the majors. The key will be whether or not they can all stay healthy. It’s the magic phrase in every article predicting season-long outcomes but it’s still so critical, you can’t help but mention it.

The Rays also have one of the top bullpens in the American League. If that rotation and bullpen are in peak form, we could be seeing a 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks-type run in the postseason.

Austin Meadows highlights the offense (.291 with 33 HRs) and the power from Hunter Renfroe (33 HRs in 2019) will give the Rays a lot of power potential in their outfield. It’s not a high-upside offense, but the pitching is so solid, it doesn’t need to be an offensively powerful team. 

Potency on offense

The last and perhaps least significant aspect of a World Series caliber team is the offense. Offense is great over the course of the season, but when it comes to the playoffs, offenses can run cold, stagnant, or just struggle when the opposing team has a nasty three-man rotation.

One glaring inconsistency in the odds for this season is the New York Mets. The Mets are in a division that’s stacked from top to bottom, but if the Mets can emerge and make the divisional round, they can be a force in the playoffs and will hold very favorable odds from their initial futures number.

When you can be one of the last eight teams, have a strong offense, and have one of the top five rotations and still be 22:1 to win the title, that’s pretty ideal. 

New York Mets +135 (to make postseason) & +2200 to win World Series

I like the Mets here, given their top-heavy rotation. The Mets have one of the top ten best offenses in baseball and a borderline, top five pitching rotation. The Mets have Rookie of the Year, Pete Alonso, and a number of other talented, young players.

Jeff McNeil was a pleasant surprise, hitting .318 with 23 homeruns and a .384 OBP. Michael Conforto offers more power upside, hitting 33 bombs in 2019. JD Davis was another surprise of 2019, hitting .307 with 22 bombs and a .369 OBP.

This team has pop. Whenever you have a team who can provide a home run at any point of the lineup, that’s huge in postseason baseball. At 22:1 to win the World Series, this is the most logical non-favorite I’ve seen in some time

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