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Bet On It! Part 4

Posted by SD Buhr , 04 July 2020 · 610 views

When I posted Part 3 of this "Bet On It!" series back on March 8, it's unlikely any of us could have foreseen that four months later we still wouldn't have seen Major League Baseball's Opening Day.

Within just a couple of weeks from the time that article was posted, pretty much all MLB bets had been taken off the board at the sportsbooks.

Now, as we try to celebrate our nation's birthday, the two books that I'm a member of have begun to post some MLB baseball action, though neither William Hill nor Elite Sportsbook have a full range of options available yet.

(This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com)

There are enough, however, that it's worth taking a fresh look at how the bookies are feeling about which teams are most likely to emerge with trophy hardware this season and, in particular, how they're feeling about the Minnesota Twins.

To review, William Hill had the Twins at 12-1 odds to win the American League pennant and 22-1 to win the World Series before the club signed Josh Donaldson. After adding the slugger, betters at both William Hill and Elite have pushed those odds southward, to the point where, in early March, William Hill had the Twins at 7-1 to win the AL and 14-1 to win the Series. Elite was a little less enthusiastic about the Twins' chances, setting their odds at 8-1 (AL) and 20-1 (WS) in March.

While William Hill has maintained their 7-1 line for the Twins to win the AL, their odds on winning the Series bounced back up to the 16-1 level they were at in mid-February.

Elite, meanwhile, is liking the Twins more than they did in March, rather than less. They now offer just 6-1 odds on a Twins pennant and 15-1 odds on a WS trophy.

Only William Hill has re-opened betting on team wins, setting the over/under at 35 wins for the Twins. Given the uncertainty of just how many of the scheduled 60 games will actually get played, I think I'll leave that number alone.

Interestingly, though, William Hill puts the line at 33.5 wins for Cleveland and maybe even more interestingly, 32.5 wins for the White Sox. That seems high for Chicago, but I suppose it reflects an optimism based on them getting to play a significant percentage of their games against Detroit and Kansas City (not to mention the Pirates). Still, I'm going to have to consider putting some money on the under there.

Here's something I'm still trying to figure out, though. The futures bets I placed during the offseason at Elite are still active, while those I booked at William Hill no longer show up in my account.

On Elite, I booked the Twins to win the AL Central back when I could still get even 1-1 odds and took a flyer on the Angels to win it all at 35-1 odds. But I also booked the Twins to win the AL at 11-1 and to win the Series at 22-1 on William Hill and those bets are nowhere to be found.

I've started combing through communications from William Hill concerning how they were going to treat MLB bets and all I've seen is that they would void bets on cancelled events (and I can appreciate them cancelling bets on team wins), but other futures bets would remain alive as long as a winner is eventually determined. So, yeah, I'd love to still have those 11-1/22-1 bets in play.

Neither of my sportsbooks appear to be offering bets on MLB Division winners at this point and the only prop bet I found featuring individual players was at Elite, where we can put some money on who we think will be the MLB home run king.

Mike Trout and Pete Alonso are listed at 8-1, while Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger are at 10-1. We can also get 10- on "the field" and that seems to be a choice worth considering, to me.

Miguel Sano, at 20-1, is the sole Twins slugger among the 25 players listed. Think I'll pass on that, thanks.
Revisiting a few of the other contenders, it doesn't look like either William Hill or Elite have significantly changed their views on the MLB big dogs.

The Dodgers have overtaken the Yankees (barely) as the odds-on favorite to be the World Series Champion. The Dodgers are at +325 and the Yankees at +350 on William Hill. Both teams sit at 7-2 on Elite.

The Astros have tumbled a bit, though, on both sites. The two books have always viewed Houston's chances very differently. In March, Wm Hill had them at 9-1, while Elite was more optimistic at 5-1. Now, William Hill has them posted at 12-1 and Elite at 6-1. I have to admit, if it didn't mean having to potentially find myself rooting for the Astros, that 12-1 offering would be tough to pass up.

There's a lot of talk about how the 60-game season could open the door for mediocre teams to get hot, qualify for the postseason and then potentially knock off one or two better teams to make a run toward the World Series.

So, maybe we should look for decent value bets along those lines. I like my bet on the Angels at 35-1 to win it all (if Trout decides to play, anyway), but are there other options, too?

As much as I'd love to see it happen, it's hard for me to imagine anyone in the AL East finishing above the Yankees. The Red Sox are still sitting at a relatively inviting 17-1 to win the AL pennant, but they'd not only have to get hot enough to finish ahead of New York, but also top a pretty strong Tampa Bay team.

I could see the Angels or Athletics topping the Astros in the AL West, but I already have money on Los Angeles. Elite is offering 12-1 on Oakland winning the pennant, though, so that's at least worth considering.

Forget the AL Central. The White Sox are at 12-1 on both sites, but I just don't see them topping both Cleveland and Minnesota and then ALSO staying hot enough to nail down a pennant. They're at least a year from putting that kind of run together.

In the National League, the Braves and Nationals will be tough, of course, but 10-1 on the Mets to win the NL pennant is worth thinking about, anyway. If you're feeling adventurous, William Hill is giving you 15-1 on the Phillies, but that probably has something to do with having to fight through a gauntlet in that division (and their cross-league competition in the AL East), just to get to the postseason.

Like the Yankees in the AL East, the Dodgers in the NL West make it almost pointless to consider one of their Divisional rivals, but if you could hit on the Padres (20-1) or D'Backs (25-1) winning the NL pennant, the payoff would be healthy.

That leaves the NL Central and there's perhaps at least one interesting option there. I don't see an obvious dominant team (the two books can't even agree on whether the Cubs or Cardinals are more likely to win the NL), so it wouldn't be beyond reason to imagine the Reds or Brewers riding a hot streak or two.

Both teams are listed at 15-1 on Elite and either might be an option at that number. But over at William Hill, things get more interesting. They only give you 10-1 on the Reds, but they offer 20-1 on Milwaukee. That's tempting.

That's enough for today, I guess. I don't know whether we'll actually see MLB play games this summer and, honestly, I'm still not 100% convinced they should be playing.

But that won't keep me from keeping an eye on the betting lines.