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10 months in making, going all in on Bucs

By Jason Weingarten  () 

I made some bets on the Buccaneers last March that are now very much alive. These were placed the night before Tom Brady announced where he was signing. I had no inside information. I just figured he’d want to play his last season or two somewhere with no state income tax, and Tampa Bay checked all the boxes. 

In the end, $1,100 in bets placed the night before Brady announced he was signing with Tampa Bay have turned into:

— Bucs to win the NFC: $500 to win $12,000

— Bucs to win the NFC: $100 to win $2,400

— Bucs vs. Chiefs exact Super Bowl matchup: $100 to win $10,000

— Bucs vs. Chiefs exact Super Bowl matchup: $100 to win $10,000

— Bucs vs. Bills exact Super Bowl matchup: $100 to win $45,000

 

This is a very weird spot because I am a Green Bay Packers fan. I want them to go to the Super Bowl, but I also want to win $34,000 or even $59,000. But if I don’t win the money on the Bucs, my favorite team goes to the Super Bowl.

I could also hedge. Right now the best price I see is Packers -170 at Circa. I could bet $17,000 to win $10,000 and guarantee I make money no matter what. And considering my total investment is $1,100, the Idea of locking in a 10-1 return is tempting. But I didn’t place these bets only to make a boring hedge on the final leg. I’m going for the money and a Bucs win. No hedges for me this weekend. 

Next week I will review the NFL futures portfolio as we wait until the night before the Super Bowl to see if Justin Herbert wins Offensive Rookie of the Year and cashes a big ticket at 15-1. Until then, there’s nothing to do but wait until Sunday and watch the games. 

Back to Baseball

I was planning to write about how the New York Mets’ odds would change if they signed George Springer, Trevor Bauer or both. But the firing Tuesday morning of new GM Jared Porter likely throws a wrench into any potential free-agent signings for at least a few days while they reformat the front office. 

This season will be different from what we’ve seen in recent years, especially in the National League. The Dodgers and Padres seem to be almost locks to make the playoffs, and that leaves everyone besides the Central and East winners fighting for wild-card spots. 

I like the Mets and think even with the recent drama they are still contenders for Springer and Bauer, and maybe even J.T. Realmuto. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them get two of those three. 

Free agency has been very slow this offseason, as teams are hesitant to spend with COVID-19 uncertainty and collective-bargaining agreement negotiations on the horizon after the season. Bauer is the prize pitching acquisition, but he has limited his options by holding out for the most money he can possibly get. It’s Bauer’s right to do that, but he’ll have to decide soon if he wants to join an organization like the Dodgers or the Mets on a shorter contract for potentially less money than he had hoped. Or he can hold out and get the highest AAV ever, beat enemy Gerrit Cole and pitch for the Angels, where he’ll play with Mike Trout and fight for a wild-card spot, and maybe even a division title. 

I can’t see Bauer going anyplace where he’s not immediately slotting into a World Series contender’s rotation, and I think the best fit is the Dodgers on a short-term deal. It’s a Kevin Durant-to-the-Warriors situation for Bauer, and a short-term deal would make both sides better. But if that doesn’t happen, I think the best alternative is for Bauer to join Jacob deGrom in a rotation that can compete with the Dodgers and Padres and contend for the World Series. With a healthy Noah Syndergaard set to return midseason, the Mets’ playoff rotation could potentially feature deGrom, Bauer, Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and Carlos Carrasco. 

When the Francisco Lindor trade happened, I managed to get $500 on the Mets to win the NL at + 850. This week the price has bounced around a bit, but you can still get + 645 at Circa in Las Vegas (or Colorado) or + 650 at DraftKings. I’m adding $500 on the Mets to win the NL at + 650. That’s my first futures bet for the 2021 MLB season. I think we will see that number drop dramatically if the Mets make another major free-agent signing, and Springer and Bauer have limited options if the goal is to join a World Series contender.

Recap:

First MLB 2021 future: New York Mets to win the NL pennant

$500 at + 850 to win (PPH) $4,250

$500 at + 650 to win (DraftKings) $3,250

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