With Grapefruit League action beginning last week, you have to have some sort of excitement for the 2014 MLB season. Even if the Phillies aren’t going to be a World Series, or likely even a playoff contender, seeing the boys of summer play in sunny Florida, has to give you some sort of excitement for summer baseball. And with that for many, comes a way to quench their gambling thirst.
I don’t highly recommend laying money down on Major League Baseball “futures” betting lines. But hey, if you are lucky enough to be sitting on a large bank roll, some of these lines are worth a look.
(For those that don’t know, futures betting is exactly what it sounds like, betting on something that will happen in the distant future. You can stake against a number of different things, including the winner of the World Series. With all the teams in the running before the season starts, usually you can get some good odds and returns on your money.
Be warned, you really have no idea who is who yet, and unless you have some good contacts in Florida or spend numerous hours on the computer, futures betting is really nothing more than a a shot in the dark. Injuries, down seasons and a number of other things can affect a team over the course of a 162 game major league season. So what looks good on paper right now, is not always the solution at the end of the season–or even by the middle of the summer.
That is why I never throw too much money at things like this, because it just doesn’t produce results on a consistent enough basis to help your bottom line. In futures betting, I like to bet small coin on long dogs and expect a small loss. Of course, I’m always hoping for that big pay day if that dog overachieves.
American League East Winner -Toronto Blue Jays(+900)
- These are great odds for a team that was bitten by the injury bug last season. Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie all missed significant time with injuries in 2013, but enter Spring Training with clean bills of health.
- The starting pitching is adequate (R.A. Dickey pitching like he did in 2012 might make it more than that) and the only question mark on the mound is a sure fire closer (Casey Janssen scares me). If the lineup can live up to expectations and stay injury free, this team has a shot at the top of the pack in the A.L East.
National League East Winner-Philadelphia Phillies(+750)
- Okay, let me hear it. Taking your favorite team is always a sure fire way to lose credibility. In this case, I really have no choice. Philly has a great 1-2-3 punch on the mound (Lee, Hamels, Burnett) that gives them an above average chance of winning three out of five nights. While a lot of insiders are down on the Phillies, I really like their chances.
- I have expectations of bounce-back seasons for a few veterans on this team, especially Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard who enter 2014 really having something to prove. Nothing beats a good player with a chip on their shoulder, who do gain at least some sort of motivation from national and local pundits questioning whether they have anything left. Added motivation usually equals a bounce-back season and more money in your pocket.
National League West Winner-Arizona Diamondbacks(+1200)
- I just can’t resist this bet, and it is one that you can make a good amount of money on.
- While their starting rotation might not have a true ace, they have a relatively deep rotation and I love their bullpen depth.
- Paul Goldschmidt is on his way to becoming one of the best hitters in the majors, and with that, he improves everyone around him.
- While this is a very long shot with some tough competition in this division, something is just screaming inside me to take this team. Like I said, these are long shots, small stakes for large returns.
World Series Winners
- Is this the year the Rangers finally get over the top? It certainly feels like it might be, after an impressive off-season, that featured the acquisition of Prince Fielder.
- They made some great moves in picking up Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo-Choo. Lineup wise, they have a good mix of speed guys like Adrus and Profar, mixed with some power in Fielder and Adrian Beltre.
- They have great starting(Yu Darvish is a stud and watch out if Tommy Hanson stays healthy) and a deep bullpen, that is returning to Neftali Feliz as their closer in 2014.
- The key for Texas is finding a way to get Prince Fielder to produce better in the playoffs than he did in his two seasons in Detroit.
- Joey Votto is one of the best hitters in the entire league and if Billy Hamilton can get on base, he will easily lead the league in stolen bases.
- Johnny Cueto is a stud at the top of the rotation and Mat Latos is an above-average two who gives them a very good chance to win any playoff series.
- All the tools to go all the way, it’s just a matter of new manager Matt Williams altering the culture ever so slightly, just to the point where they can get back to the playoffs and make a run.
- The Nats have a strong starting pitching staff that goes four deep (Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalaz, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister), and is complimented by a hard throwing bullpen.
- Their line-up features no superstars(yet) but a lot of star level players like Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper.
One thing I learned about betting on futures is that laying money on favorites is not the way to go. Anything can derail a team during a long season, and if you bet on the Nationals last season you learned that, as you bet on a favorite and essentially sent your big money play down the toilet. Instead, take a couple long shots for reduced stakes and tune back in at the end of the season to see if you hit the jackpot.
Tags: Philadelphia Phillies