MLB Futures Odds, Best Bets: Top Picks For Win Totals, Division Outrights and More
Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Harper, Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
- MLB Opening Day is finally here, and there's plenty of intrigue across the league in the futures market.
- We have picks on win totals, divisional outrights and more ahead of the start of the season.
- Continue reading for our staff's best bets on everything you need to bet on the 2022 season.
The 2022 MLB season is finally upon us, but before the first pitch of the season is thrown, it’s time to find all the value we can in the futures market.
There are plenty of ways to bet on the season before the season, and our staff has a plethora of recommendations for you. From win totals to divisional futures, we have everything you need to get your money down on some solid value before the 162-grind begins.
Here are our best bets for win totals and divisional futures for the 2022 MLB season.
Best Bets For MLB Win Totals, Divisional Futures
White Sox Under 92.5 Wins
Odds via PointsBet
Jules Posner: The AL Central has gotten better and the White Sox have not. Although they are still a stacked offense, their starting pitching took a hit with the departure of Carlos Rodon and early season injury to Lance Lynn. The White Sox are still well positioned to win the AL Central again, but the division seems to have improved around them. Although the other teams may not have caught up to the White Sox, wins are going to be much harder to come by in the AL Central.
The White Sox are still a pretty complete and formidable team, but they are not going to run away with the division like they did a year ago. The American League is pretty stacked in general. Only the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros had more wins than the White Sox in 2021, but that should be a testament to how stacked the American League was last year and it is arguably better this year.
The White Sox Pythagorean W-L last season was 97-65, but they played the most games against sub-.500 teams in the MLB. There are a lot of signs that the competition has raised to their level and the White Sox will have a tougher road ahead in 2022.
Blue Jays to win AL East (+185)
Odds via Caesars
Mike Ianniello: Despite winning 91 games last season, the Blue Jays finished in fourth place in the robust American League East. That record would have been good enough for second place in four of the other five divisions. Based on Pythagorean (run differential), Toronto’s expected record last season should have been 99-63, which would have been good for second in the division and earned them the top wild-card spot.
The Blue Jays have an absolutely loaded lineup. The Blue Jays led the league with a .340 wOBA last season, and finished second with 112 wRC+. They lost infielder Marcus Semien but added third baseman Matt Chapman, who should have a bounce-back year. The Jays also expect a full season of George Springer (.907 OPS in 78 games last year), and another year with young stars Bo Bichette and MVP-runner up Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Reigning Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray signed with Seattle, but Toronto brought in Kevin Gausman to offset the loss. Gausman, Jose Berrios and Hyun-Jin Ryu are an elite 1-2-3. Alek Manoah is just 24-years-old and his electric stuff make him a potential future star. Their No. 5 pitcher is Yusei Kikuchi, who was just an AL All-Star last year with the Mariners. MLB.com ranked them as both the best lineup and rotation in the American League.
Off the field, the Blue Jays also have a huge advantage. After playing their home games in three different ballparks in 2021, the Jays will return to Rogers Centre full time this year. Due to the strict COVID-19 protocols, unvaccinated visiting players are not able to play in Canada.
In a division with four teams within nine games of each other last season, give me the team with the most talent in the American League, that will potentially face shorthanded lineups 81 times.
Rays Under 90.5 Wins
Odds via BetMGM
Nick Shlain: The Tampa Bay Rays have won at least 90 games in each of the last three full seasons. This year, I think the Rays fall back to the pack a little bit.
Tampa Bay has been leaking starting pitching for years and found ways to overcome the losses of Cy Young winner Blake Snell and World Series MVP Charlie Morton. Now, the Rays will have to deal with the loss of ace pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who will miss the entire season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Tampa Bay’s only significant offseason addition was right-handed starter Corey Kluber, who has thrown 116 2/3 innings total in the last three years. That means the Rays will depend a lot on the young rotation arms of Shane McClanahan, Drew Rassmusen, Luis Patino and Shane Baz, who recently had elbow surgery to remove loose bodies.
While all four of those pitchers are promising, I’m skeptical that they’re ready to carry this pitching staff without Glasnow, who posted 2.3 WAR a year ago despite throwing only 88 innings.
The Rays also lost relief ace Colin McHugh (1.9 WAR) in the bullpen, third baseman Joey Wendle (3.8) and slugger Nelson Cruz (0.5) without doing anything to replace their production.
Tampa Bay seems short on paper and this number feels a few wins too high as FanGraphs is projecting the Rays to go 86-76 this year. Maybe the Rays will make a trade to improve their team, but given the current roster depth any more injuries to key players could be devastating.
You’ll find Tampa’s win total at 89.5 at most books and I still like the under there, but BetMGM has it at 90.5, which is value too good to pass up.
Phillies to win NL East (+350)
Odds via BetMGM
Kenny Ducey: I’m in love with the Phillies this year. They added two incredible bats in Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos to an already great offense, and both should find plenty of success in their new home stadium. It’s truthfully hard to find a hole in this lineup, especially with the emergence of Bryson Stott, who will likely take over for the disappointing Alec Bohm at third base.
While the defense might suffer, it probably won’t matter with how many runs this offense produces. On top of that, Philadelphia can rely on Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola in the rotation, and Ranger Suarez also promises to repeat his breakout 2021 season with what we saw out of his sinker.
The Mets are dealing with injuries right now to Jacob deGrom and (maybe) Max Scherzer, and together with a brand-new offense it could take them a while to get the ball rolling. Considering Atlanta’s had some turnover as well, I think the Phillies could easily start hot and do enough in the second half to win this division while New York and Atlanta sneak into the wild-card spots.
You also have to consider that the Phillies could make a much-needed move for arms at the trade deadline if things start off well.
Athletics Over 67.5 Wins
Odds via FanDuel
Jules Posner: The Oakland Athletics’ fire sale was obviously a huge storyline this offseason. With the departure of Matt Olson, Matt Chapman and Sean Manaea, A’s fans are basking in that familiar feeling of rebuild burnout.
However, the Athletics have arguably a much better roster than they had from 2015-16 following the Josh Donaldson trade to the Toronto Blue Jays. Additionally, the return in both deals netted the A’s two Major League-ready pieces in Christian Pache (Olson deal) and Kevin Smith (Chapman deal). The other element is that the A’s have more MLB-ready or close-to-MLB-ready talent ready to attempt to replace the loss of production with the departures of Olson and Chapman.
While Chapman’s defense is elite, his offense is not for that position. Even in his best offensive seasons, Chapman was never a top-5 offensive contributor. Therefore, replacing his offense will not be as much of a challenge as replacing Olson’s offense.
The A’s are in a much better position to be competitive this season than they have been in other seasons where they’ve lost huge names. Additionally, the AL West overall still has a lot of question marks. The only proven winner of the group is the Astros and they lost another huge piece this offseason.
The AL West may end up being a division where everyone beats up on everyone all the time and the A’s should be able to squeak out 70 wins.
Guardians Over 75.5 Wins
Odds via FanDuel
Nick Martin: Most models are projecting the Guardians right around 78 wins, and I feel confident they can get to that mark.
I can see the arguments as to why this may look ugly. The Guardians still have a messy outfield situation and the bullpen isn’t quite as stacked as it has been in recent years. But I feel a lot of the usual strengths will work in their favor this season.
As we are used to seeing from Cleveland, the starting rotation holds plenty of upside and could surprise in the American League. We have seen this organization do well in optimizing results from pitchers over the last decade, and it would not surprise me to see it work out well yet again.
Shane Bieber will be a rock leading the staff, but he’s not the only horse in the stable. Cal Quantrill has plenty of upside, and I like where Aaron Civale is at if he can figure out some ways to insulate one of the better cutters in baseball.
Triston McKenzie rounds out the rotation and is a great candidate to have a massive breakthrough this season. If he can keep his command in check like we saw at the end of last year, he has the stuff to be very effective
The news regarding Jose Ramirez’s contract situation is concerning and a move at the deadline obviously hurts us here, but there are some proven big league bats in this lineup and they should be able to hold their own.
In a less-than-loaded AL Central, I think the Guardians can post a respectable season and project them getting to 76 or more enough of the time to hold value at -122.
Angels to win AL West (+410)
Odds via FanDuel
Kenny Ducey: One would think the Angels’ path to the postseason has to run through the wild-card race, considering the Astros are -175 to claim the division, but imagine a world where Jeremy Pena isn’t the immediate answer at shortstop with the departure of Carlos Correa. Imagine a world where Jose Altuve, at 32, can no longer muster up close to a 130 OPS+ after a better, albeit disappointing 2021 season. Perhaps at 35, Michael Brantley can no longer roll out of bed and hit .300.
I’m just saying, while the Astros were very good last year, all three of those things seem possible. What’s also possible is that this rotation continues to slide; Houston will slot in Jake Odorizzi as its back-end guy and trot out 39-year-old Justin Verlander, fresh off a major injury, as its front-end arm. Lance McCullers, currently injured, will try and reclaim the spot from him at some point this year.
Houston is a mess, and the Angels should be in prime position to pick up wins over the Astros and win this division outright. They have two MVP favorites in Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, a dark horse in Anthony Rendon who really hasn’t played much for them yet, and some really intriguing lottery tickets like Noah Syndergaard, Jo Adell and Michael Lorenzen.
L.A. has plenty of talent on this roster, but has been blocked in recent years by Houston and by its own roster getting injured. Maybe this is the year everything breaks right.
Tigers Under 77.5 Wins
Odds via PointsBet
Sean Zerillo: The Tigers sat at the top of my sleeper rankings in the early offseason and I grabbed some small/untracked +7500 World Series odds.
This under was a confident wager last year. This year, I’m much more skeptical, but I think the market has overcorrected. In my projections, I upgraded the Tigers by +10.7 of wins this offseason.
Yet, every projection system thinks the Tigers are now overvalued (low of 67.4 from PECOTA) against the betting market despite many high-upside prospects and a decent foundational season in 2021.
I bet Under 80.5 at BetRivers — one of my four favorite win total bets for 2022 — but while the market has corrected somewhat, I still think there’s value on this under.