2020 MLB Betting Preview: Home Run Leader Odds & Picks, Longshots with Value

Credit:

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: George Springer

Home Run Leader Longshots

I previewed the field and provided my early wagers for the 2020 MLB home run leader in late November.

At the time, based upon odds at the Westgate, I bet the following hitters:

  • Giancarlo Stanton (+2000)
  • Nelson Cruz (+8000)
  • Miguel Sano (+10000)
  • Franmil Reyes (+10000)

To my knowledge, the Westgate refunded all player prop bets — but Cruz (+6000), Reyes (+8000), and Sano (+8000) all remain actionable at the Westgate at their current prices – which are each higher than the remainder of the market. Khris Davis (+6000) is also an appealing price at the SuperBook; he was +4000 in November.

I managed to lock in another half-unit share on Giancarlo Stanton at +2000 – he was banged up during spring training but should be healthy after the late start, and I like his chances to stay healthy over the shortened eight-week schedule.

Updated Steamer projections have Stanton tied atop the league with Mike Trout and Pete Alonso with 16 home runs apiece, just ahead of Cody Bellinger, Joey Gallo, and Bryce Harper (15).

Stanton’s anticipated rate of one home run per 12.5 plate appearances easily paces the group – Gallo is the next closest at 14.1, and Steamer has Stanton doing all of his damage in just 46 games – projected to play seven fewer games, on average, compared to the other five players. I made his preseason odds +1250 for a 162-game season.

In addition to Stanton, I currently have action on three other players to win the 2020 home run crown:

  • Yordan Alvarez +2200
  • Rhys Hoskins +5000
  • George Springer +8000

Before a 162-game season, I set their fair odds at +4200, +10000, and +6200 respectively – so Springer is the best value bet in my estimation. But all three players move up my board in a shortened season.

Like Stanton, Springer struggles to play a full 162 games – after missing at least 20 games in four of his five full major league seasons – and his power metrics are potentially improving too.

Springer increased his barrel rate from 8.9% in 2018 to a career-high 14.3% last season, while also pulling the ball a career-high 37.8% of the time (33.9% in 2018). He was on pace for 51 home runs throughout 162 games, and will undoubtedly have more opportunities than most to pad his home run total in 2020, given the extra plate appearances he receives in the Astros’ leadoff spot. 

His Cuban teammate, Alvarez, was an electric slugger as a rookie, combining for 42 doubles and 50 homers between Triple-A and the major leagues; posting a 1.067 OPS over 87 games in his AL rookie of the year campaign:

Alvarez and Hoskins will both benefit from the universal DH rule, and the behemoth cleanup-hitters should be able to stay in the lineup for the vast majority of their 60-game seasons. 

Hoskins looked the part of a future MLB home run leader in 2017, after smashing 18 homers through his first 50 MLB games, but his barrel rate has dropped off substantially from that debut (13.5% in 2017 to 11.4% in 2018, and 9.7% in 2019) while his strikeout rate has steadily increased (from 21.7% in 2017 to 24.5% last season).

Hoskins has some of the best raw power in the majors and hits a ton of long flyballs – ranking in the top six for average flyball distance over each of the past two seasons – he just needs to improve his plate discipline and find more barrel consistency.

He has already proven that he can go on a binge over a short stretch of baseball and hit roughly 20 home runs throughout 60 games, you just need to catch lightning in a bottle and get some of those flyouts to turn into homers:

Home Run Leader Bets with Value

  • Giancarlo Stanton (+2000)
  • Yordan Alvarez (+2000)
  • Rhys Hoskins (+5000)
  • Nelson Cruz (+6000)
  • Khris Davis (+6000)
  • George Springer (+8000)
  • Miguel Sano (+8000)
  • Franmil Reyes (+8000)

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Updated Home Run Leader Odds

Odds as of July 7 at 3 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Team Odds (7/7)
Joey Gallo +1000
Mike Trout +1000
Pete Alonso +1100
Giancarlo Stanton +1100
Cody Bellinger +1800
Nolan Arenado +2000
Aaron Judge +2000
Ronald Acuna Jr. +2200
Bryce Harper +2200
Yordan Alvarez +2200
J.D. Martinez +2500
Eugenio Suarez +2500
Christian Yelich +2500
Alex Bregman +2800
Nelson Cruz +2800
Matt Olson +2800
Gleyber Torres +2800
Eloy Jimenez +3000
Khris Davis +3300
Miguel Sano +3300
Jorge Soler +3300
Franmil Reyes +3500
Juan Soto +3500
Trevor Story +3500
Yoenis Cespedes +3500
Vladimir Gurrero Jr +4500
Manny Machado +4500
Mike Moustakas +4500
Aristides Aquino +5000
Rhys Hoskins +5000
Kyle Schwarber +5000
Javier Baez +6600
Matt Chapman +6600
Josh Donaldson +6600
Edwin Encarnacion +6600
Freddie Freeman +6600
Paul Goldschmidt +6600
Max Muncy +6600
Gary Sanchez +6600
George Springer +6600
Carlos Correa +8000
Rafael Devers +8000
Francisco Lindor +8000
Jose Ramirez +8000
Josh Bell +8000
Mookie Betts +10000
Kris Bryant +10000
Max Kepler +10000
Shohei Ohtani +10000
Marcell Ozuna +10000
Anthony Rendon +10000
Anthony Rizzo +10000
Fernando Tatis Jr. +10000
Paul DeJong +10000
Eduardo Escobar +10000
Keston Hiura +10000
Yoan Moncada +10000
Eddie Rosario +10000
Matt Carpenter +10000
Joc Pederson +12500
Charlie Blackmon +12500
Michael Conforto +15000
Xander Bogaerts +15000
Didi Gregorius +15000
Andrew McCutchen +15000
Luis Robert +15000
Chris Davis +15000

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