I went to Las Vegas last week for the first time in about three years and while everyone was betting college basketball, I took the opportunity to build out my MLB futures portfolio a bit.
My first stop was the Westgate SuperBook because I noticed they had dropped Fernando Tatis Jr.’s MVP price to 100-1 because of his wrist fracture. By the time I landed in Vegas last Wednesday that number had ballooned to 300-1. Even knowing the Padres shortstop might be out two to three months and this bet is likely dead on arrival, I couldn’t pass up Fernando Tatis Jr. to win the NL MVP at 300-1 odds, and $300 later I am now the owner of a Fernando Tatis Jr. MVP ticket to win $90,000.
There were a couple of other good numbers at Westgate. Specifically, Shohei Ohtani to win the AL Cy Young at 30-1 for $500. I was on Ohtani to win the MVP last year at a similar number, and this year he has opened at 3-1 or 4-1 everywhere as the favorite or co-favorite with Angels teammate Mike Trout and the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. I don’t think there’s a ton of value at 3-1 or 4-1, but Ohtani has a shot to win the Cy Young if he can build on his pitching numbers from last season. The Brewers’ Corbin Burnes won the 2021 NL Cy Young pitching only 168 2/3 innings, so the precedent has been set that a starting pitcher can win a Cy Young without pitching 200-plus innings anymore.
My third at Westgate was also a bet I made last season and was happy to make again. Corey Seager most home runs 200-1. I tried to bet it for $1,000, but they would take only $500 at 200-1, which is totally reasonable. It's still to win $100,000.
Total spent at Westgate: $1,300
Next, I went to Will Hill at Cosmo, where I was staying. Will Hill had been hanging the best AL MVP number on Kyle Tucker for a while and I bet it for $750 at 40-1. Tucker is very underrated and is primed to break out and become an MVP-level player for the Astros. He just turned 25 and he’s coming off a year in which he had 30 home runs and 14 stolen bases while slashing .294/.359/.557. When it comes to betting Astros players in awards markets, I’m always hesitant because guys like Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman are never going to get consideration for an MVP award because of their ties to the Astros cheating scandal. Tucker, though, isn’t as tainted, and while he’s currently projected to bat sixth in the Astros lineup, I could see him moving up.
I already bet Ohtani to win the AL Cy Young at 30-1, but Will Hill had an even better number at 40-1, so I bet Ohtani to win the AL Cy Young again at Will Hill for another $500. You might have heard I’m a big Ohtani fan.
A couple of Rookie of the Year numbers stood out at Will Hill as well. I found two outfielders that I wanted to bet at long odds. Jarren Duran in the AL at 40-1 for $500 and Drew Waters in the NL at 100-1 for $300. I bet Duran 100-1 when the markets opened around the Super Bowl, thinking he might be the Red Sox’s opening-day center fielder, and if he does secure the starting center-field job in Boston, 40-1 is still a good number. To win Rookie of the Year, you need opportunity and production, and starting and batting in the top half of the Red Sox lineup would qualify. Waters has more of a logjam at playing time in Atlanta with Ronald Acuna coming back and Eddie Rosario re-signing last week, but in the event of an injury or any setback in Acuna’s rehab, with Cristian Pache traded to the A’s, Waters is likely the next man up for the Braves in the outfield.
The next two bets might be my two favorites of the whole trip: Freddie Freeman most RBIs 30-1 and Kris Bryant most RBIs 75-1. Both of these markets were priced before free-agent signings and were not repriced to reflect Freeman joining the Dodgers or Kris Bryant moving to Coors Field. I bet $1,000 on Freddie Freeman at 30-1 and $500 on Kris Bryant at 75-1.
Total spent at Will Hill at Cosmo: $3,550
I spent most of my trip gambling at Circa and had a great time betting there as they offered more than reasonable limits on spring training lines, and the book itself is an excellent place to sit for 10 hours at a time and watch March Madness. The only thing they don’t have is MLB player futures, so I went back to Will Hill at Cosmo on Sunday morning to top off my MLB futures portfolio.
Another Corey Seager most home runs bet, this time at 100-1 for $300. Not as good at 200-1, but still too high at 100-1 for the Rangers shortstop. Golden Nugget in Las Vegas was actually offering Seager at 200-1 and I missed adding that.
Cody Bellinger 100-1 NL MVP? I bet that for $300. The Dodgers slugger is a former MVP and he’s priced at about 1% chance. I tend to think Bellinger’s struggles the past season and half have been the result of shoulder injuries and swing changes, and if he can get healthy I think he can regain his MVP form. All the attention in Los Angeles will be on Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, but Bellinger is a former MVP as well and I don’t think he should be priced around 1%.
Following the pattern of re-betting guys I’ve already won money on, I added Jorge Soler most home runs at 100-1 for $400. Soler put the cherry on top of my 2021 season, winning the World Series MVP at 35-1 and 40-1 odds and I’m going to bet him to lead MLB in home runs in 2022. I don’t think Soler can be a serious MVP candidate in Miami, but he slots into the No. 2 hole in the Marlins lineup, which should give him 550-plus at-bats and a lot of opportunities to hit home runs. I like to find guys who will get guaranteed at-bats on bad teams for long-shot home runs bets and Soler fits.
I have already bet and written about Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez. I sold one of his autograph rookie cards last month for $2,800 and bet $2,000 on J-Rod to win AL Rookie of the Year at 16-1. I bet it again at 20-1 when Westgate opened its numbers and after I saw him hit a 117-mph home run in his second spring training game last Saturday I decided I needed to get another $1,000 ticket on Julio Rodriguez to win AL Rookie of the Year at 8-1 before I left town.
Total spent at Will Hill at Cosmo (second trip): $2,000
Total spent on futures: $6,850
Total spent on futures, if my girlfriend asks: $685