MLB Future Best Bets | Expert Picks For Win Totals, Awards, Props, More
Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Minute Maid Field on Opening Day last season.
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- Continue reading for our favorite future bets for the 2023 Major League Baseball season.
The 2023 Major League Baseball season begins on Thursday, and before you lay down your cold, hard cash on the plethora of games in front of us, there’s plenty of opportunities to lay down your cold, hard cash on futures.
Giving sportsbooks a six-month, interest-free loan may not sound like the most appealing thing in the world, but rest assured, there’s value to be found.
From World Series bets to win totals, player props and more, our analysts have scoured the market for betting options ahead of Opening Day. These are our best MLB futures for the 2023 season.
MLB Best Future Bets
Texas Rangers Under 82.5 Wins
Odds via DraftKings
Mike Ianniello: The TexasRangers made arguably the biggest offseason signing, inking two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 million contract.
While there is no denying deGrom is elite when he is on the mound, he has pitched just 26 games over the last two seasons. They also added 33-year-old Nathan Eovaldi, 32-year-old Andrew Heaney, and re-signed 32-year-old Martin Perez, who is coming off his best season by a country mile and an obvious regression candidate.
This rotation certainly has the upside for a quick turnaround, but has a floor that could be a disaster.
Offensively, Texas finished 20th in wOBA and wRC+ last season. Nathaniel Lowe is the only player who posted a wRC+ over 120 as Marcus Semien came back down to earth and Corey Seager had the second-worst wOBA of his career. The Rangers have one of the weakest outfields in the league and didn’t add any real valuable bats this offseason.
While Seager should see a return to form and will benefit immensely from the shift ban, the Rangers’ defense was bottom-10 in the league last year and would have been even worse without the shift, so that could even out.
I understand why the upside of deGrom moves the needle of hope for the Rangers, but this team hasn’t won more than 78 games since 2016. They won just 68 games last year and I don’t believe the pitching additions are enough for a 15-game jump.
Hunter Greene Over 181.5 Strikeouts
Hunter Greene To Lead MLB In Strikeouts (+3200)
Odds via FanDuel
Shayne Trail: In the early stages of his rookie season, Greene struggled with his fastball, throwing it more than 440 times and yielding a dismal batting average of .373. Moreover, Greene’s debut year was characterized by inconsistent displays and a shoulder strain. However, as the 2022 season progressed, Greene demonstrated remarkable growth and potential, setting the stage for an impressive 2023 campaign.
Greene’s swinging-strike percentage stood at an impressive 14.5%, ranking him ninth-best in the majors and placing him just ahead of renowned aces like Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon. This achievement corresponded with a significant improvement in his fastball performance, as he threw it more than 260 times for a .115 batting average against.
The 23-year-old fireballer managed to strike out 164 batters in just 125 2/3 innings. Greene’s refined pitch selection and increased reliance on his four-seam fastball contributed to a substantial enhancement in his last four starts. In this period, he registered a 0.78 ERA and a 14.5 K/9 ratio, with two double-digit strikeout games in 29 innings while allowing only one home run.
Greene’s fastball gained velocity throughout the season, averaging 99.8 mph in September and October, the highest of any starting pitcher in any month during the 2022 season. With an augmented spin rate and “rise,” Greene’s fastball became an even more formidable weapon against opposing hitters.
By concentrating on elevating his fastball, Greene attained a 40% whiff rate in the final two months of the season, ranking second among starting pitchers. Greene’s in season growth was phenomenal and the 2023 jump is now set up perfectly.
These improvements indicate Greene has successfully harnessed his talent to a greater extent. As the 2023 season kicks off, various bookmakers project his strikeout total to range between 181.5 and 190.5 Barring any injury setbacks, Greene is poised to surpass his 181.5 line over at FanDuel and potentially make a case for himself as the MLB strikeout leader with 32:1 odds presenting great value, also at FanDuel.
Tampa Bay Rays To Win American League Pennant (+1100)
Odds via PointsBet
B.J. Cunningham: The Tampa Bay Rays didn’t really lose anybody significant from their roster that made the playoffs last season. In fact, the Rays have made the playoffs the past four seasons, and they do it with having an outstanding bullpen that makes up for the lack of depth at starting pitching.
Guess what? They have another incredibly strong and deep bullpen that I have rated as the third best bullpen in MLB behind only the Braves and Mariners because they’re just incredibly consistent; last season, they weren’t near the top in K/9, but they had the second lowest BB/9 rate.
Their two main relievers are Pete Fairbanks, who missed a significant portion of last season and only pitched 24 innings, and Jason Adam. Both of those guys were under a 2.1 xERA last season and had a LOB% over 89%.
Beyond those two, the Rays have a bunch of guys who are projected to be around 3.5 ERA types, which isn’t elite, but it’s also above average, so the depth is really what is going to carry this Rays staff.
Then you look at the starting pitching. Tyler Glasnow hardly pitched last season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has a strained oblique right now that is going to keep him out 6-8 weeks which would put him back in the rotation sometime mid-to-late April.
Shane McClanahan is still one of the best pitchers in MLB, Jeffrey Springs went from the bullpen to the starting rotation last year and turned out to be pretty effective, posting a 3.27 xERA is 25 starts. Drew Rassmussen was a perfectly capable starter, as his xERA last season in 28 starts was 3.46.
They added Zach Eflin who really underperformed last season, as he posted a 4.04 ERA, but his xERA was almost a full run lower at 3.27. So when Glasnow gets healthy you essentially have five starting pitchers with an xERA under 3.5. That’s really good.
The offense is pretty much the exact same as it was last season. You get a continually progressing Wander Franco, Randy Arozerena was incredibly productive last season and is still young and Yandy Diaz had a breakout season last year. It’ll be an average MLB offense, but with the pitching staff and bullpen the Rays have, along with the amount of depth, that’s crucial in such a long season.
Most importantly, FanGraphs has them projected at at 10.8% chance of winning the American League, which is +850 implied odds, so getting them at +1100 has some value.
Yordan Alvarez To Lead MLB In Home Runs (+1200)
Odds via Caesars
D.J. James: Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani greatly overshadowed Yordan Álvarez during the 2022 season. After getting injured late in the season, Álvarez ended up with 135 games , where he still finished with 37 home runs and a .613 SLG. He hit the sixth-most home runs and went deep in nearly 8% of his at-bats.
Álvarez ranked in the 100th percentile in Average Exit Velocity, xwOBA, Barrel Percentage, Hard Hit Percentage, xSLG and xBA. For reference, this is almost exactly where Aaron Judge ranked.
If Álvarez plays a full season, he likely finishes above 45 home runs, and this is an area to back in 2023. ZIPS projects he will hit 40 home runs, but he very well could finish among the tops of the league yet again.
Banking on a complete season and Álvarez not faltering with his encouraging peripherals is a strong bet. He does not make mistakes and him not chasing after poor pitches or striking out much helps his case. He hits the ball so unbelievably hard that the more times he makes contact, the better the chance of it leaving the yard.
Take Álvarez to lead the MLB in home runs at +900 or better.
Pete Alonso To Win National League MVP (+1600)
Odds via FanDuel
Nick Shlain:Most Valuable Player awards in baseball typically go to the best player on the best team. Even if one of the best sluggers in the league is taking the mound every fifth day like Shohei Ohtani, a player having his best season on a playoff team can swoop in and win the award like Aaron Judge did in the American League last year.
Alonso is similar to Judge in that he plays on one of the best teams in baseball in the spotlight of New York City. The Mets were a playoff team last year and despite the loss of All-Star closer Edwin Diaz they should be much improved this year. New York added Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga to a rotation that already had Max Scherzer.
The Mets also start the year with David Peterson in the rotation after his impressive finish to last season and scoreless spring training appearances this year.
Alonso has hit at least 37 home runs in every season he’s played in the majors that wasn’t shortened by COVID-19. While my projections have Alonso for only 32 home runs this season, Vegas is more bullish on his home run potential and I’m inclined to agree. His over/under home run total at DraftKings is 37.5.
He’s +900 to lead the league in home runs this year so at +1600 on FanDuel to win the Most Valuable Player there is certainly value in this number.
San Diego Padres Under 93.5 Wins
Odds via DraftKings
Kenny Ducey: The Padres are one of the hottest bets in the futures market right now. DraftKings is currently reporting they’re the fourth-most bet team to win the World Series with 9% of the handle.
While this is reason enough to fade San Diego with no value left in betting on a good season, I think there are a multitude of reasons to hate this team.
Let’s start with the offense. Is it even good? San Diego had a measly 102 wRC+ last season and didn’t get much better after adding Juan Soto, checking in with a 106 wRC+ after the All-Star break.
Yes, the Padres will get Fernando Tatis, Jr. back in a matter of weeks to form a ridiculous murderer’s row comprising of Soto, Tatis, Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts, but what’s left after that? Jake Cronenworth is regressing fast, Matt Carpenter looked ready for retirement last October and Trent Grisham has completely forgot how to hit a baseball.
Don’t even get me started on this rotation, either. Yu Darvish’s strikeout rate declined for a third straight season in 2022 and he’s allowed a total of 50 (yes, five-zero) home runs over the last two years. His barrel rate has come in well above league average in those seasons and the only reason he’s been able to escape many of these starts unscathed is due to his extremely low walk rate. If he begins issuing free passes, the 37-year-old is going to fall off, and fall off fast.
So, that’s the guy who’s supposed to lead this rotation to glory? Then you’ve got Blake Snell, who had a couple good months after two and a half terrible seasons, Seth Lugo who’s supposed to be a starting pitcher now, and Michael Wacha, of all people.
I do like Joe Musgrove a lot, and it’s hard to argue the top of this lineup isn’t the best in baseball. There’s little left after those five, even if Josh Hader has returned to his former dominant self. The Dodgers are good, the Giants have some interesting names, and for my money 93.5 wins is way too many for a team this flawed.
When you bake in the public is in love with the Padres, this bet is the easiest call on the board.
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