Checking out best MLB totals, props

By Jason Weingarten  () 

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This week I’m going to look at the best futures and season-long props still available at DraftKings and look at a couple of things I’ve already bet.

NL MVP

Corey Seager 15-1 at DraftKings (2x units)

Seager hit his eighth spring training home run Monday night. He will likely be in direct competition with teammates Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger for the NL Most Valuable Player Award. Betts hit two home runs Tuesday night and Bellinger homered Monday and Tuesday night against the Angels. There’s really no wrong answer when it comes to which Dodger you like to win NL MVP, but I expect the Dodgers to be the best team in baseball. The MVP will likely go to a Dodger, and my pick is still Seager at 15-1. I might shop around when the season starts and see if I can get Bellinger and Betts at 10-1 or 12-1. 

AL MVP 

Shohei Ohtani 20-1 at DraftKings (1x unit)

I don’t like 20-1 as much as the numbers that were available earlier in spring training. Most of my bets on Ohtani are between 30-1 and 35-1. On Monday night, Ohtani was the starting pitcher and batted second in the Angels’ lineup, becoming the first starting pitcher since 1903 to bat second.

Ohtani proceeded to give up seven runs and three home runs in 2.1 innings before leaving with a blister. On the broadcast it was obvious after about 15 pitches that Ohtani had no control and couldn’t locate his fastball, and by the second inning the announcers picked up on the blister. The good news is that you can’t lose the MVP by giving up seven runs in an exhibition game. Ohtani was back in the lineup at DH on Tuesday, and the Angels said he will make his regular-season pitching debut in prime time on ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” against the White Sox. We will see the first jump or drop in MVP odds Monday after Ohtani’s first regular-season start. But it sounds like Ohtani has no restrictions on playing time as a hitter or pitcher just yet. 

NL Cy Young

Jacob deGrom + 425 at DraftKings (2x units)

DeGrom is the best pitcher in the NL, and the gap is huge between him and 2020 winner Trevor Bauer, Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler and anyone else you want to throw into the top five. The 2021 favorite is deGrom, and it’s his award to lose until further notice. I’m not trying to overthink this award. My money is on deGrom ranging from + 500 to + 400, and this is still a good bet at the + 425 number available at DraftKings. 

AL Cy Young

Still no bets here for me. I’ll think about jumping in once the season starts.

NL Rookie of the Year 

Trevor Rogers + 4000 at DraftKings (.5x unit)

Ke’Bryan Hayes is a short favorite at + 350 and deserves to be, as he’ll be the Pirates’ everyday third baseman, get 500+  at-bats and put up great numbers. He’s a future star, and I bet him at 10-1 when the Westgate opened its odds, but I’m not rushing to lock up all my money in the ROY market at + 350 here. 

Marlins pitcher Sixto Sanchez is the second favorite at + 500, but he’s opening the season in the minors. He won’t get the innings needed to seriously compete for Rookie of the Year, and + 500 is a bad number. The only pitcher who should be under 10-1 is Ian Anderson of the Braves. If you do need a long-shot pitcher, DraftKings has Marlins third starter Trevor Rogers listed at + 4000 odds. He’s actually starting the year in the rotation, and I’d take a small shot on him at + 4000.  

Some other long shots to consider: Jonathan India looks like he’ll start at second base for the Reds, and he’s 40-1. Jazz Chisholm is the everyday second baseman for the Marlins, and he’s 30-1. Of all the players above 10-1, those are the ones I’d most consider.

AL Rookie of the Year

Jarred Kelenic + 1000 and Andrew Vaughn + 1100 (1x unit each)

Randy Arozarena is the short favorite at + 350. Kelenic and Wander Franco are tied at + 1000. Vaughn, who made the White Sox’s opening-day roster, is down to + 1100. Westgate opened Vaughn at 100-1, and I bet him at 100-1 and 60-1, so it’s nice to see him much shorter to start the season. Kelenic is not on the Mariners’ opening-day roster, but he’ll be up the day after the Mariners gain an extra year of control over him, and when he’s up he’ll play every day. 

I think there are a lot more contenders in the AL than the NL. If I didn’t already have money on Kelenic and Vaughn at better numbers, I’d bet them here at 10-1 and 11-1.

AL Manager of the Year 

Mike Matheny + 4000 at DraftKings (1x unit bet)

DraftKings is offering a market I haven’t seen at many other books, Manager of the Year. In the AL I like Matheny + 4000. I think that is way too high for the Royals’ manager. The Royals are + 900 to make the playoffs, and if they do, Matheny would likely win the award. I’d rather have Matheny at + 4000 than Royals + 900 to make the playoffs. 

NL Manager of the Year 

Don Mattingly + 3000 at DraftKings (1x unit bet)

Similar argument to AL Manager of the Year: I’d make a bet on Mattingly at + 3000. I’m not expecting much out of the Marlins, but they did sneak into the playoffs in 2020 and they have a competent starting rotation. If they make the playoffs again, Mattingly would likely win the award. The Marlins are + 1000 to make the playoffs, and Mattingly is + 3000 for Manager of the Year. 

Win Totals

After not playing any win totals all spring, I ended up betting a couple. 

Seattle Mariners Under 72.5 -112 (2x units)

Baltimore Orioles Under 64.5 -112 (1x unit)

Colorado Rockies Under 63.5 -112 (2x units)

Texas Rangers Under 67.5 -112 (1x unit)

When someone tells you he is a loser, believe him. The Mariners are actively keeping their best prospects off their MLB roster to start the season. They are telling everyone they have no incentive to win this season and won’t push their best players or put their best product on the field. Instead of complaining, I’m just going to bet the Under with the Mariners. I don’t see how you don’t make this bet. Winning 73 games is way too high for a team that is admitting to not trying to win before the season starts. 

The Orioles didn’t do anything to get better this offseason and will have no incentive to push their best prospects to their MLB team early. They aren’t going to compete against the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox. Matt Harvey is their second starter. This team will have a hard time winning 65 games.

The Rockies traded their best player and paid for the honor to do so. They are an incredibly poorly run organization and have no chance or incentive to compete in a division that’s loaded at the top with the Dodgers and Padres. Easy Under. I don’t think they’ll come close to 64 wins. 

The Rangers’ opening-day rotation consists of Kyle Gibson, Kohei Arihara, Jordan Lyles, Mike Foltynewicz and Dane Dunning. Sometimes I like to play a game. I look at a team’s 25-man roster and see how many of those players would make the Dodgers’ roster. The Rangers have one player who might crack the everyday lineup, Joey Gallo. I’m not sure any of the Rangers’ starting pitchers would make the Dodgers’ bullpen, and 67.5 wins is too much for likely the fourth- or fifth-best team in the AL West.

Dodgers Over 102.5 -130 (1x unit bet)

The 2020 Dodgers were on a 116-win pace, and they added the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner and bring back a healthy core of Betts, Seager and Bellinger. The Dodgers likely will win 110+  games. There is not a lot of margin for error with 102.5 wins, but I’m happy to take the Over here. All my win totals are on the extreme edges of the win-loss spectrum.

Home Runs Head to Head (1x unit bet)

Yordan Alvarez -112 vs. Nelson Cruz

I’m invested in Alvarez several ways, mostly via the most home runs market and PSA 10-graded autographed baseball cards. Nelson Cruz is old, and he’s going to fall off sooner or later. Alvarez is elite and not old. I don’t know how this line was made, but I have Alvarez projected for more home runs than Cruz, and I’m happy to lay -112 with Alvarez.

Home Run Leader (1x unit bet each)

Yordan Alvarez + 2000

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. + 4400

Corey Seager + 10000

Alvarez is one of my favorite players. He’s healthy and could easily lead the league in home runs in 2021. Guerrero is in shape and has changed his swing, and he now sports an extreme fly-ball launch angle that puts him in the same category as Gallo while still having 44-1 odds compared with Gallo’s + 1300. Seager is batting second for the Dodgers, so not sure how he’s 100-1 while Bellinger is + 1500. I’m happy to take 100-1 here on a long shot.

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