MLB Opening Day Odds, Picks | Best Bets For All 30 Teams

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  • Looking to catch up on the MLB season ahead of Opening Day? We've got you covered.
  • For all 30 teams, we have future betting odds and one bet to recommend.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of the betting odds for the 2023 MLB season.

Major League Baseball is finally upon us. Just getting here? Welcome! Before the first pitch of the 2023 season, there's a myriad of futures to sort through in order to ensure you find premium value in the betting market.

Below, you'll find relevant future odds for all 30 teams, as well as one bet our staff recommends throwing down before the 162-game marathon gets going.

Continue reading for odds and best bets for every team in Major League Baseball for the 2023 season.

Click on a division to skip ahead
American League East
National League East
American League Central
National League Central
American League West
National League West

Odds in betting overviews via FanDuel. For updated MLB futures all season long, be sure to visit our MLB odds page.

American League East

Baltimore Orioles

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+2500
Pennant Odds+4000
World Series Odds+10000
Regular Season Wins76.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +320 / No -430

Best Bet: Grayson Rodriguez to Win AL Rookie of the Year (+1300)

Sean Zerillo: We might as well begin by discussing the biggest spring riser — Anthony Volpe (the No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline) — who I bet and entered into the Action App at +2500 on February 23rd. When I ran early projections, Volpe was the only player who stacked up with presumptive favorite Gunnar Henderson (No. 1 prospect) based on average WAR as a component of playing time.

In late February, I only had Volpe slated for 250 plate appearances but was willing to speculate on his talent level (represented by the matching average WAR projection). After a strong spring, I now project Volpe for closer to 560 plate appearances, with the opportunity for even more depending upon his lineup spot, health and performance.

For context, three different projection systems have updated their numbers since Volpe won a roster spot; all have him projected between 3.0 and 3.5 WAR.

At this point, I would just about set Volpe as a co-favorite with Henderson, and considering the price differential, the Yankees' phenom is still my favorite bet in the AL, down to +500.

While pitchers typically don't win the award, there are a couple of potential studs in the 2023 class with Grayson Rodriguez (No. 7 prospect) and Hunter Brown (No. 43). Rodriguez will start the year in the minors after a shaky spring, while Brown is currently nursing a back injury. Still, both have the potential to emerge as frontline starters at the MLB level immediately.

Boston Red Sox

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+1800
Pennant Odds+3000
World Series Odds+6000
Regular Season Wins78.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +310 / No -420

Best Bet: Over 78.5 Wins

Tanner McGrath: The projections don’t like it, and the public doesn’t like it, but here’s my case for why the Red Sox can be a .500 ball club this year. 

The biggest issue with the 2022 Red Sox was an inability to close games. The Sox blew a preposterous 28 saves out of 65 opportunities, many of which came in divisional games, where the Red Sox went an abysmal 26-50. 

The most obvious bullpen addition is Kenley Jansen, who immediately steps in and solves the closer problem that Alex Cora was trying to patch together all season. But don’t overlook the additions of Chris Martin and Joely Rodriguez (although the latter may be hurt to start the year), as either is better than whatever the Sox were throwing out in the final frames last season. 

Meanwhile, the offense will certainly take a step back sans Xander Bogaerts. However, it’s often overlooked how good the Red Sox offense was last year, finishing the year with the league’s most doubles and top-10 in hard-hit and barrel rates. 

So, I don’t think it’ll be as bad as everyone makes it out to be. 

I’m also betting on the Red Sox upside. 

First, Tristan Casas could turn into an elite MLB first baseman. He profiles as one, and ZiPS projects him with a 121 wRC+ this year.

Second, Brayan Bello has better stuff than 90% of big-league pitchers, as his fastball-changeup mix is elite at forcing whiffs and weak contact. He struggled to start the season but ended with a 2.59 ERA over his final six starts. He could carry that momentum into this season.

Finally, Justin Turner and Masataka Yoshida shouldn’t be overlooked. Both profile as three-win batters and could collectively compensate for Bogaerts’ absence, especially with both batting directly behind Rafael Devers. 

Ultimately, this squad may surprise people and the projections. I expect the Sox to win a few more games than last year and surge over the 78.5-win total, finishing right in the thick of the wildcard race. 

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+130
Pennant Odds+370
World Series Odds+850
Regular Season Wins93.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -480 / No +350

Best Bet: Yankees To Win AL East (+130)

Sean Zerillo: The Yankees underachieved by seven wins last season while ranking as the top defensive team in baseball. Just 13% of their defensive value was tied to the infield shift, so their defensive excellence should carry over into 2023, and adding an impact-free agent in Carlos Rodon raises their ceiling.

My projected win gaps between the Yankees and Blue Jays (5.8 wins) and Yankees and Rays (7.2 wins) split the difference between the aggressive projection on the Bombers from PECOTA (7.9 and 10.7 wins from Toronto and Tampa Bay) and the tighter AL East projection from ZIPS (3 and 3.3 wins differentials).

As a result, my projection would come in right around the PECOTA/ZIPS composites lines I provide for quick reference.

-150 seems a fairer price on the Yankees’ divisional odds than the market average, and I would set their World Series line closer to +650 rather than the best available price (+800 at FanDuel)

However, I prefer their AL Pennant Odds (+350 at BetMGM and Caesars) to a World Series ticket at this stage.

Tampa Bay Rays

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+270
Pennant Odds+900
World Series Odds+2000
Regular Season Wins89.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -188 / No +152

Best Bet: Pete Fairbanks Most Saves (+6600)

Sean Zerillo: We might find some value in the saves market with the projected leader and favorite Edwin Diaz out for the season.

Similar to the pitcher wins market, I’m merely looking for players that are mispriced relative to their projection bucket, and three closers on potentially playoff-bound teams — Devin Williams, Clay Holmes, and Pete Fairbanks — seem mispriced. 

Unfortunately, the odds for all three pitchers have decreased since I bet them (at +2000, +3300, and +8000, respectively). Still, based on their projections alone, they should be lined closer to +1500, +2000, and +5000, respectively — so there is still room to bet each.

Fairbanks was my favorite bet a few weeks ago, but his velocity is down in spring training. Like Holmes, he is the head of a committee in Tampa Bay and the Rays don’t necessarily save their closer for the final three outs.

Fairbanks was ridiculous in 24 innings last season (1.03 xERA) and arguably the best pitcher in baseball after returning from injury. His price is attractive considering his elite skillset. Still, he’s never pitched more than 42 innings in an entire season — and may already be hurt again. Otherwise, I would have bet more at these odds.

Toronto Blue Jays

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+200
Pennant Odds+600
World Series Odds+1200
Regular Season Wins91.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -250 / No +198

Best Bet: Blue Jays To Win AL East (+220)

Doug Ziefel: The Blue Jays were a team getting a ton of love heading into last season, as they were a trendy World Series pick. Although those aspirations did not come to fruition as injuries struck, the lineup was a tad streaky, and their season culminated with a wild-card elimination.

However, fans and bettors should have renewed optimism around this club as they may be stronger than last year. They bolstered the starting rotation with the signing of Chris Bassitt and gave their lineup some flexibility by acquiring Daulton Varsho.

Speaking of the lineup, it will still be a daunting task for any pitcher to go through. Toronto led the majors in hard-hit rate and average exit velocity last season and will be near the top again if the lineup remains intact.

The Blue Jays' ability to drive the ball and make loud contact will help them climb the standings this season, as a stable rotation will support the lineup, and we should also expect the Yankees to regress as well.

American League Central

Chicago White Sox

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+300
Pennant Odds+1600
World Series Odds+3500
Regular Season Wins83.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +128 / No -158

Best Bet: Under 83.5 Wins

Sean Zerillo: The White Sox overachieved by three wins last season and still finished nine wins below their win total. Every projection system likes them to go Under again in 2023, and I am the low man in the market — seeing nearly a seven-win gap between my projection and Chicago’s listed total; while the projection market is closer to a four-win delta.

The White Sox were miserable defensively in 2022 (-35 Defensive Runs Saved, 26th) and should be worse without the shift (12 Defensive Runs Saved via the shift). They also ranked as a bottom-10 baserunning team.

While this 26-man roster offers high-end talent, their 40-man roster (and beyond) lacks competent replacements.

The White Sox will need extraordinary injury luck to make a playoff push in 2023.

Cleveland Guardians

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+115
Pennant Odds+1200
World Series Odds+2500
Regular Season Wins86.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -150 / No +122

Best Bet: Guardians To Win AL Pennant (+1400)

D.J. James: This is more of a play on the rest of the American League Central. While the news of Triston McKenzie starting the season in the injured list definitely knocks the Guardians down a peg, this team should be able to win the American League Central, and at that point, the playoffs are a crapshoot.

Hunter Gaddis is likely replacing McKenzie for the time being. Across 57 games in the minors, he held a 3.90 ERA, so he can hold the rotation slot with Konnor Pilkington possibly waiting in the wings.

This team still has a solid cast around the pitching staff. They have Trevor Stephan, James Karinchak, Enyel De Los Santos, Eli Morgan and Emmanuel Clase to close out games, so manager Terry Francona has plenty of options.

Spearheaded by Steven Kwan leading off and never striking out, the lineup is not bad, either. They added Mike Zunino and Josh Bell to the mix, who help bolster a lineup that lacked a bit of power. Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez had career years, and José Ramírez can hit with the best of the league. If Oscar González can display some patience, he has a bright career ahead of him.

Top to bottom, this team has more depth than the talented, but oft-injured Chicago White Sox. The Minnesota Twins also have a questionable pitching staff, so betting on the team that can get through the division and be undervalued for the playoffs is a decent look.

If the Guardians can get to October with a healthy pitching staff, this team can hold most teams in check.

Detroit Tigers

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+3000
Pennant Odds+10000
World Series Odds+20000
Regular Season Wins69.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +1800 / No -8000

Best Bet: Under 70.5 Wins

Sean Zerillo: A second consensus Under bet — between my projection and the market projection — at 70 wins or higher. However, ZIPS (70.3 wins) would recommend betting the Over or passing at the current number. 

Detroit won 66 games in 2022 but overachieved by three wins, and the Tigers still finished 8.5 wins below their listed total.

While they ranked as an above-average defensive team (25 Defensive Runs Saved, 13th), the Tigers relied heavily upon the shift (+25 DRS); and like the White Sox, they struggled on the base paths (22nd).

And their two best young pitchers — Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize — are slated to miss most of the 2023 season. Skubal (2.9 WAR in 21 starts) was the Tigers’ most valuable player by a fairly significant margin in 2022.

Kansas City Royals

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+3500
Pennant Odds+10000
World Series Odds+20000
Regular Season Wins68.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +1500 / No -5000

Best Bet: Royals To Win AL Central (+4000)

Jim Turvey: It would be very easy to skim right over the Royals, so I had to catch your eye with this big number. Now, I wouldn’t have blamed you for skimming over the Royals. They haven’t been relevant in almost a decade now (isn’t it crazy how long ago 2015 was?!), and they’re in the most forgettable division.

However, there’s a little bit of intrigue to be found in Kauffman this summer. 

For one thing, they have a new manager. It’s Matt Quatraro, and while the Tampa Bay Rays coaching and front office tree has proven to not be 100 percent infallible in recent years (oh hi, Chaim), that’s always the type of hire that’s going to at least draw further attention from me. 

And on closer inspection, the Royals next wave is here. Their starting lineup consists of Salvador Perez as the veteran behind the dish, Hunter Dozier randomly hanging out at third base, and then basically an entire wave of young players who debuted last season or just a hair before.

Bobby Witt Jr. is the biggest name of the bunch, but Vinnie Pasquantino has baseball hipsters nearly as excited. MJ Melendez is a projections darling this season, and the outfield is a collection of fast dudes with enough pop in the bat to play — a great fit for that spacious outfield in Kansas City. The team can just see what sticks there until Drew Waters returns.

The pitching is the biggest question mark, but it’s also where there’s arguably more pedigree. Zack Greinke and Jordan Lyles are the low-ceiling top two of the rotation, but after that, it’s a collection of first and second-round picks who the Royals will continue to test out.

Brady Singer is the most established, but there are a variety of arms they can go through if they so please: Kris Bubic (1st round, 2018), Daniel Lynch (1st round, 2018), Jackson Kowar (1st round, 2018), Asa Lacy (1st round, 2020), T.J. Sikkema (1st round, 2019), Jonathan Bowlan (2nd round, 2019), Alex Marsh (2nd round, 2019).

If Quatraro brought even a bit of that touch of experimentation and pitching magic from Tampa, this could be a really fun team with a ton of young talent ready to explode. And if you want to go the more boring (and safe, I suppose) route of just betting their win total over, I also like that play. (Best odds are over 68.5 -110 at Caesars).

But to win the AL Central is a far lower bar than I think any of even think about, and FanGraphs odds say this should be closer to +3000, so there’s a bit of an edge (even if that edge is tiny by implied odds, and Baseball Prospectus actually thinks the odds should be even longer).

Tis the season for eternal optimism, and with a fun, young core, and a fresh new manager, why not have a little fun on a lotto ticket? 

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+180
Pennant Odds+1600
World Series Odds+3000
Regular Season Wins84.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +106 / No -130

Best Bet: Twins To Make The Playoffs (+130)

Charlie DiSturco: It seems like the Minnesota Twins are going unnoticed. 

This is a team that sat at 67-61 and in the thick of the AL Central race late in the second half of the season. But despite buying at the deadline, a season littered with injuries ended 11-23. 

There’s a lot to be positive about with this Minnesota roster. This is an underrated rotation that added Pablo Lopez in the offseason, and with both Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda at full health, the group of five is arguably as well-rounded as the White Sox and Guardians. 

The necessary adjustments were made in the offseason on the offensive end, too. Carlos Correa was re-signed after a rollercoaster month where he nearly ended up a Giant and Met, and Christian Vazquez was brought in to shore up weakness at the catcher position. 

Michael A. Taylor’s addition also means Byron Buxton will be an everyday DH, putting less strain on the potential superstar — 47 home runs in 153 games the last two years — and hopefully keeping him healthy. Joey Gallo also gets a change of scenery in hopes to revive his career.

Neither this offense nor rotation should be taken lightly. Jhoan Duran, Jorge Lopez and Jovani Moran make for a strong backend of the bullpen, too. 

To me, grabbing the Twins to make the playoffs at plus money is a steal. PECOTA projects Minnesota with a 68% chance at the playoffs (87.6 wins) and FanGraphs is at 66.7% with a slight edge to the Twins over both the Guardians and White Sox to win the AL Central outright. 

In an American League where anything can happen in the middle of the pack, I like backing the Twins to bounce back from a down season en route to a postseason berth — whether it be in their division or one of the three wild-card spots.

American League West

Houston Astros

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds-185
Pennant Odds+280
World Series Odds+600
Regular Season Wins95.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -750 / No +490

Best Bet: Yordan Alvarez To Win AL MVP (+1200)

Jim Turvey: Alvarez fits the criteria better than anyone else in the American League. He’ll be 26-years-old and in his fifth season this year, both around the peak career trajectory points. He’s fresh off a third-place finish in the MVP race, and he has a Rookie of the Year Award to his name. His team is very likely to win 90+ games, and Houston is a market that has proven itself capable of creating award winners. He even has that semi-intangible where you can very easily make the case for him being the best hitter in baseball, which is an area where his teammate, Tucker, would likely fail.

The case against him is really only twofold: He has to go through Ohtani, and he has a bit of the Vladito Disease of seemingly not being in perfect conditioning and it leading to him being dinged up and not 100 percent all the time.

As for the former, I laid out above why I am passing on Ohtani this season.

And for the latter, that’s why it’s +1200 and not +600 or so. I’m definitely a bit worried about this hand injury Alvarez is carrying right now. The Astros have been vague about any updates, and he’s only just started swinging a bat. It feels like the type of injury that could definitely linger all season and sap power. It’s why I actually targeted Alvarez to go against in terms of head-to-head home run props.

But there’s a big difference in betting Alvarez’s floor vs his ceiling. There are also plenty of times in which people hear these stories during preseason and get scared off, only to have the player fully locked and loaded all season, and there are very few players in the sport with a higher ceiling than Alvarez. He totaled 6.8 rWAR in just 135 games last season, mostly as a DH. His 187 OPS+ would’ve led all of baseball five of the past 10 seasons.

There’s definitely some inherent risk here, but at 12:1 and with the ceiling he has, Yordan Alvarez for AL MVP is my second favorite bet this season.

Los Angeles Angels

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+550
Pennant Odds+1800
World Series Odds+4000
Regular Season Wins82.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +146 / No -180

Best Bet: Mike Trout To Be Home Run Leader (+1200)

Nick Shlain: Mike Trout isn’t No. 1 in my home run projections, he’s third behind the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber. Still, there’s lots of value in this number at +1200 on Caesars.

Trout to lead the league in home runs is as low as +275 on BetRivers and for good reason. Trout is the closest player we’ve seen to Mickey Mantle since number seven was trotting around in pinstripes. Last year, Trout hit an absurd 40 home runs in just 119 games. He was so hot to start the second half in 2022 that he hit 16 home runs in just 40 games.

Unfortunately, Trout has battled injury problems constantly in recent years. He hasn’t played even 145 games since 2016, but those injury problems are basically the only thing stopping him from leading the league in home runs.

This bet equates to if this guy stays healthy, we have a good chance to cash in or at least have a late season sweat. I like this as a health bet, similar to Judge last year when he played 150 games for the second time in his career as he set the American League record for home runs.

Trout won’t have to break any records this time around as Judge is likely to take a big step back from his career outlier season. Maybe even Schwarber will attempt to hit for more contact this year with defenses unable to shift on him, though I wouldn’t exactly count on that.

Still, if Trout can just stay healthy he has a very legitimate chance and at these odds it’s too good to pass up.

Oakland Athletics

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+25000
Pennant Odds+30000
World Series Odds+100000
Regular Season Wins59.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +3000 / No -20000

Best Bet: To Finish With Fewest Wins In The League (+330)

Alex Hinton: After four consecutive winning seasons, the Athletics went 60-102 last season, good for the second worst record in the MLB. In the offseason, the club sent catcher Sean Murphy and his 3.5 WAR to Atlanta. Shea Langeliers will replace Murphy and look to cement himself as the team’s catcher of the present and future. The team is also excited about starters Ken Waldichuk and Kyle Muller and outfielder Esteury Ruiz. 

However, 2023 is expected to be another lean year. Let’s start with the AL West, which is one of MLB’s strongest divisions. 

The Astros are the defending World Series champions and are loaded for another postseason run. The Mariners ended their postseason drought last and have much bigger aspirations in 2023. The Rangers may emerge as a wild-card contender after free agent spending over the last two offseasons.

The Angels, Oakland’s opening day opponent, still have the best players in the sport and are fully healthy to begin the year. Wins in the division will be hard to come by for Oakland. 

Other contenders for the worst record include the Royals, Tigers, Rockies, Reds and Pirates. The Royals and Tigers will steal wins in a weak AL Central. The Reds and Pirates are also in a weak division, and the Rockies generally are a hard enough out at Coors Field to not be a factor as well. 

That means the Athletics’ primary competition for this bet could be the Nationals, who had the worst record last year. Like Oakland, the Nationals figure to lose a lot of games to divisional opponents in the NL East. However, their season win totals are just a game apart — 59.5 for Washington and 60.5 for Oakland. 

The Nationals are +250 to have the fewest wins on DraftKings. However, on FanDuel, the odds are much closer- +260 for Washington and +270 Oakland. With the slight value on DraftKings, the Athletics are a great flier for this bet.

Seattle Mariners

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+360
Pennant Odds+1000
World Series Odds+2000
Regular Season Wins86.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -150 / No +122

Best Bet: Julio Rodriguez AL MVP (+1000)

Sean Zerillo: Shohei Ohtani is the obvious favorite, and toward the end of last season, I suspected he would be closer to even money for AL MVP heading into 2023.

Mike Trout closed between +110 and +130 during the height of his AL reign. Ohtani still received first-place votes for MVP last season, even though Aaron Judge posted the best individual season for a position player since Barry Bonds retired.

Assuming Ohtani stays healthy, someone else must post a historic offensive season to get into the conversation. If you want to fire a single bullet at an Ohtani MVP future (+225 at Superbook), I won't fault you; he is likely a once-in-a-lifetime type of talent and in the midst of his prime.

That's not how I bet baseball futures, though. I would prefer to structure a portfolio in each category at reduced risk for longer odds. A two or three-week IL stint is enough to derail any season-long player future.

Sorting by average production as a component of playing time, Trout, Yordan Alvarez, Julio Rodriguez, Jose Ramirez and Corey Seager are the only players who approach Judge in terms of average production. In terms of value, Seager is likely the best bet in the AL.

Considering any player expected to average below 0.2 WAR per 25 PA as a potential MVP candidate is difficult.

I bet Judge last year (0.25u at +2500) among a group of six AL hitters. At the time, he ranked third in my average WAR filter (0.24 per 25 PA); health was the only question.

And the odds for Rodriguez (+1000 at Superbook) are likely too short given his projections, but I firmly believe J-Rod is bound for multiple MVP awards throughout his career, and I'll bet him blindly every year in this price range.

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Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+1000
Pennant Odds+2500
World Series Odds+5000
Regular Season Wins81.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +205 / No -260

Best Bet: Corey Seager To Win AL MVP (+4500)

Jim Turvey: Seager was the bet I gave out for my earliest roundtable when these lines were first released. He was 50:1 at the moment, but the price still isn’t bad at +4500 at FanDuel. He fits this criteria to a T. Seager is 29-years-old, has a third-place MVP finish in a Rookie of the Year season. He is playing for a team that if he is having an MVP-worthy season could well be in the breakout bucket. And even in his down seasons, like last year, he does very well by WAR (3.9 rWAR and 4.6 fWAR in 2022).

There’s also the fact that no batter should benefit more from the shift than Seager, and that he is smoking the ball in preseason (look at the exit velocities rather than the raw numbers if you’re going to pay any attention to Spring Training at all), and he remains a best bet.

National League East

Atlanta Braves

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+100
Pennant Odds+380
World Series Odds+750
Regular Season Wins95.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -650 / No +440

Best Bet: Max Fried To Have Most Wins (+2500)

Sean Zerillo: In any stat leader market, I’m looking to identify players near the top of the projection leaderboard who aren’t correctly bucketed — on the odds board — relative to their projection peers.

For example, Max Fried (+2500) immediately stands out on the list above. I have him tied for the league lead with Gerrit Cole and project Fried for the most starts on the team with my highest projected win total.

Fried is my favorite bet in the wins market.

Miami Marlins

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+4000
Pennant Odds+4000
World Series Odds+12000
Regular Season Wins75.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +430 / No -620

Best Bet: Over 74.5 Wins

Sean Zerillo: We bet the Marlins Over 74.5 wins last season and will try it again — although I wouldn’t bet the number past 75. The composite projection gives you an extra half-win bump to 75.5, while the market projections (namely PECOTA) create actionability to Over 76.

Miami leaned into the ruleset with high-contact offensive additions (Luis Arraez and Jean Segura). However, they could be a mess defensively without the shift.

That said, they can get a quality start every time out with their young, high-upside rotation pieces, including likely returnee Sixto Sanchez and the potential arrival of No. 2 overall prospect Eury Perez.

New York Mets

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+155
Pennant Odds+500
World Series Odds+900
Regular Season Wins93.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -500 / No +360

Best Bet: Pete Alonso To Win NL MVP (+1600)

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.

Philadelphia Phillies

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+400
Pennant Odds+750
World Series Odds+1500
Regular Season Wins88.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -192 / No +154

Best Bet: Under 89.5 Wins

Sean Zerillo: At 89.5 (+100), this was my favorite win total bet in the National League. At 88 (-110), I would probably only bet it for a half unit.

Technically, my projection likes the Phillies Under down to 87.5. Still, the projection market is much more closely aligned with their total — Davenport and PECOTA leaning Over 88.5.

Compared to their chief divisional rivals, the Phillies are worse on defense (25th in Defensive Runs Saved) and have far less organizational depth.

If everyone stays healthy — and Bryce Harper returns earlier than anticipated — they can surpass this number and threaten the division.

Average injury luck puts them Under, however. Their win total improved by three wins, but their composite projection declined by 1.3 wins.

The Phillies were my favorite longshot last season — their roster was always live if they found a way to make it to October. In terms of depth, they are not built as well to win in the regular season as they are laden with a star talent for the playoffs.

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+25000
Pennant Odds+20000
World Series Odds+50000
Regular Season Wins58.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +3000 / No -20000

Best Bet: Under 59.5 Wins

Anthony Dabbundo: The Nationals don’t have a single hitter projected to be above-average by The BAT X projections this season. The roster is almost completely barren of everyday MLB talent and it’s not like the Nationals are in a position to have top young prospects come up and make an immediate impact in 2023, either.

Most of the guys they got in the Juan Soto trade are still developing. CJ Abrams is a nice shortstop defensively, but his bat still needs work. The pitching situation isn’t all that much better. The Nationals had a solid bullpen in 2022, but that’s hard to rely on year to year.

The rotation features Patrick Corbin, who had one of the worst fastballs in baseball last year and lost 19 games himself. They lost top pitching prospect Cade Cavalli to Tommy John and will have low upside journeymen Chad Kuhl and Trevor Williams in the starting rotation alongside promising youngsters Josiah Gray and MacKenzie Gore. 

PECOTA does have them at 61 wins, but I’m much closer to the FanGraphs projection for 55 wins in 2023. This is the league’s worst team, and not even a somewhat more friendly schedule with fewer games against the top of the NL East will save them from that.

The Nationals played at a 55-win pace after trading Josh Bell and Soto at the deadline.

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+600
Pennant Odds+4000
World Series Odds+8000
Regular Season Wins76.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +320 / No -430

Best Bet: Cubs To Win NL Central (+700)

Dylan Wilkerson: The NL Central was the laughing stock of the National League last year, and when you take a look at the league as a whole, you can understand why. The Central's only representative in the playoffs last season was the Cardinals who won the division. 

When you consider that the winner of the division only has to beat out the Brewers, Pirates, and the Reds (aka Seattle’s farm team), there seems to be one team that rises out of the muck, the Chicago Cubs. 

The Cubs made major moves in the offseason, as they both retained and acquired talent from across the league. Trey Mancini signed after having a great season with both the Orioles and Astros. His production and reliability should add some consistency to the Cubs’ roster as he has played in 140+ games every year since 2017. 

Nico Hoerner will be back this season and bring his exceptional plate discipline with him. His transition to second base should be smooth, and he will be a great complement to the newly acquired shortstop, Dansby Swanson.

The Cubs' pitching struggled last season, allowing the third-most home runs in the league. Chicago's pitching was in the middle of the league in a variety of other stats, but their acquisitions may elevate them to the top. Jameson Taillon should be helpful in the rotation alongside Marcus Stroman and Kyle Hendricks, and there are plenty of intriguing young arms, too, such as Justin Steele and Hayden Wesneski. 

This is both a play on the moves that the Cubs made in the offseason, as well as the weakness of their division. At +650 to win one of the weakest divisions in baseball? Sign me up.

Cincinnati Reds

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+6000
Pennant Odds+10000
World Series Odds+25000
Regular Season Wins65.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +1800 / No -8000

Best Bet: Hunter Greene To Have Most Strikeouts (+4000)

Sean Zerillo: Last season I only placed one strikeout leader bet (Dylan Cease). I projected 11 pitchers for 200+ strikeouts in 2022, but only two were listed at +2000 or higher on the board.

The betting landscape for strikeout leaders has changed for 2023. I have 14 pitchers projected for 200+ strikeouts, but six are +2000 or higher on the odds board, and four of those pitchers are +3000 or higher.

Among the projected strikeout leaders, I prefer Nola, a workhorse with a low injury risk (13.4%) who ranks second behind Cole in total strikeouts since the start of the 2019 season. If the other projected leaders miss time — and all except for Corbin Burnes present a higher injury risk — Nola could grind his way ahead of the pack. He has a higher floor than anyone else.

My favorite speculative strikeout plays are Javier, Luis Castillo and Hunter Greene, each offering drastically superior odds compared to their projected contemporaries, all of whom improved in the second half of the 2022 season.

Typically, I try to limit my selections to about five or six bets per category. If I had gone deeper into the strikeout market, I’d look at Kevin Gausman and Brandon Woodruff. However, both pitchers saw a decreased workload per start last season relative to previous years.

Shohei Ohtani (who operates in a six-man rotation) will struggle to surpass 30 starts in an entirely healthy season, otherwise he would be easier to justify at his price point.

I love Gausman and Ohtani, but I would rather bet both in the Cy Young market than the strikeout leader market (and I already have). We’ll talk about both of them more in Part III of my MLB futures guide.

I don’t necessarily have a favorite bet in this category, but I am partial to Greene and Javier at their prices.

Milwaukee Brewers

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+165
Pennant Odds+1500
World Series Odds+3500
Regular Season Wins86.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -110 / No -110

Best Bet: Corbin Burnes To Have Most Strikeouts (+900)

Nick Shlain: Corbin Burnes is the second favorite for the National League Cy Young award at +550 on DraftKings Sportsbook behind defending Cy Young award winner Sandy Alcantara.

I’m bearish on Alcantara’s chances to successfully defend this award and while there’s value in Burnes’ number there’s another season-long prop I have my eye on here.

Burnes is +900 to lead the league in strikeouts, behind the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole and the Braves’ Spencer Strider. Cole and Strider are both ahead of Burnes in strikeouts in my projections, but Burnes would take the strikeout title down if he were to repeat the 243 strikeouts he posted last year compared to their projections.

He also threw over 200 innings for the first time last year while Strider managed only 131 2/3 innings before succumbing to injury. Cole has struck out at least 243 batters in each of the last two years, but his inning totals have been 181 1/3 and 200 2/3, respectively.

Burnes notably lost his arbitration case with the Brewers this past offseason despite a great season, while Cole has already cashed in on a long term deal in free agency. Burnes is headed back to the arbitration table this offseason and has extra motivation to toss more innings and thus strike out more batters this time around.

On the other hand, Cole could have his workload managed towards the end of the season if the Yankees are already settled in playoff position.

At +900, there’s certainly value on Burnes leading the league in strikeouts.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+3800
Pennant Odds+8000
World Series Odds+20000
Regular Season Wins67.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +1500 / No -5000

Best Bet: Over 67.5 Wins

Mike Ianniello: You’d be hard-pressed to find a fanbase that deserves better than Pittsburgh Pirates fans. Pittsburgh is one of the best sports towns in the country, yet the Yinzers are stuck watching a team every year assembled by an owner who continues to not care. The Pirates have missed the playoffs seven straight years and have just three postseason appearances in the last 29 years.

The Buccos won just 62 games last season, the third-worst record in the league. However, I see a reason for some optimism this year. Will they contend for the postseason? No. But they should be fun to watch and resemble a competent ball club this year. Last year, the Pirates were basically a Triple-A team. Daniel Vogelbach was second on the team in wRC+ and played just 75 games with Pittsburgh.

Well, this season we will actually see some major league-caliber players take the field along the Allegheny River. The Pirates continue to work on a contract extension for All-Star center fielder Bryan Reynolds, and young stars Oneil Cruz and Ke’Bryan Hayes are an electric duo on the left side of the infield that should only continue to improve. 

This offseason they added Ji-Man Choi, Carlos Santana, Austin Hedges, and of course the return of former MVP, Andrew McCutchen. The longtime face of the franchise will provide an instant injection of life into that locker room and the fan base. Not to mention he is just one year removed from a 27-home run season. 

A talented group of young arms in Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras and JT Brubaker are joined by veterans Rich Hill and Vince Velasquez, and Pittsburgh somehow always manages to have a stud closer. I think we see a big jump up from this Pirates team. Even league-average players throughout the lineup is an upgrade from last season. 

Take the Pirates to raise the jolly roger at least 68 times this season.

St. Louis Cardinals

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds-130
Pennant Odds+1000
World Series Odds+2000
Regular Season Wins88.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -220 / No +176

Best Bet: Jordan Walker To Win NL Rookie Of The Year (+600)

Sean Zerillo: Corbin Carroll (the No. 2 overall prospect) is a bit clearer of a favorite in the National League than Gunnar Henderson is in the AL, despite the spring buzz surrounding Jordan Walker (No. 4 prospect), who I bet in late February on a scouting assumption, as opposed to a combination of scouting and projections (like Anthony Volpe).

While my projections for Walker have improved since the preseason (by about 150 plate appearances), his stats aren't in the territory to justify a wager as essentially a co-favorite with Carroll. Walker was my favorite rookie bet in the NL at +1000; however, I wouldn't play him below the best current price (+600 at bet365).

National League West

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+4000
Pennant Odds+5000
World Series Odds+12000
Regular Season Wins75.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +430 / No -620

Best Bet: Over 74.5 Wins

Anthony Dabbundo: Stolen base attempts are up 20% in spring training this season compared to last year’s spring training. From a team speed perspective, few are better positioned to take advantage of the stealing enhancement than the Diamondbacks.

Corbin Carroll was the fastest player in all of MLB in his debut last September. Jake McCarthy is projected to swipe 25-plus bases. Josh Rojas stole 23 last year, and Alek Thomas is in the 95th percentile for sprint speed on Baseball Savant.

Arizona could also turn to Jordan Lawlar — one of its top prospects — in the middle of the season, and he’d add more speed to the basepaths as well.

This team will put a ton of pressure on opposing defenses because of its speed, and the Diamondbacks are also projected to be a well above-average defense too. By outs above average, no team was even close to Arizona last season with a +44 rating. The next best was Houston at +36.

The defense and the speed are small difference-makers that season-long projections can sometimes miss on a team.

The upside for this roster comes from its young pitching. Ryne Nelson, Drey Jameson and Brandon Pfaadt all add depth to this starting rotation behind the solid front three of Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Madison Bumgarner. Nelson registered a 117.8 Stuff+, per Eno Sarris’ model from The Athletic, and paired that with above-average command. He has three good pitches and could become a rotation regular.

Pfaadt struggled with homers in the PCL in the minors, but his high fastball should be electric in a more friendly pitching environment. Jameson doesn’t have overwhelming stuff but locates well and has a decent floor as a back-end starter because of it.

Last season, The Diamondbacks were one of the most profitable first-five teams in the whole sport but couldn’t carry it through nine innings. The bullpen once again is a weakness on paper, but the natural variance and randomness to bullpens on a year-to-year basis suggest there’s room to regress positively.

There’s some disagreement in the models on Arizona this season. ZiPS has it at 81 wins, PECOTA is at 73.8 and FanGraphs is at 77.

I love the young pitching, and the Diamondbacks are my favorite win total of the season at over 74.5 wins. I’d play the over at 75.5 but no higher than that.

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+15000
Pennant Odds+10000
World Series Odds+50000
Regular Season Wins64.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +2500 / No -10000

Best Bet: CJ Cron To Have Most Home Runs (+9000)

Kenny Ducey: You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts.

Oh, did you expect to take the easy road here and tell you that Ezequiel Tovar at +1200 has a real chance to win Rookie of the Year? He very well may, but that’s not the biggest value on the board in my eyes.

No, I think CJ Cron has a better than the implied 1.1% chance to lead the league in homers. There are certainly some formidable names in front of him like Aaron Judge, Matt Olson, Kyle Schwarber and others, but Cron isn’t too far away from the league’s top tier when it comes to homers.

The big man has big power at 6-foot-4, 235 lbs, and gets to put it to use in the friendliest park in the league. He’s averaged right around 29 homers the last two seasons and even made his first All-Star Game last year as his career continues on an upward trajectory.

Now, Cron is 33 and there’s certainly a real chance that 2022 was his peak, and that he starts getting worse. There’s also a chance that the last two seasons are reason enough to believe he’s finally found his rhythm at the plate. He’s been a virtual lock to come in around or just under 30 homers for his past four healthy seasons, which normally puts him in the top 25 of all home run hitters.

It’s certainly a longshot, but it’s the most fun you can possibly have betting on the Colorado Rockies. Another thing to love here is the fact that Cron has played 292 of a possible 324 games over the past season, so he should be on the field to give this home run crown a real run.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds-125
Pennant Odds+380
World Series Odds+750
Regular Season Wins96.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -800 / No +520

Best Bet: Under 96.5 Wins

Anthony Dabbundo: The Dodgers look as vulnerable as they have in multiple seasons.

Gavin Lux tore his ACL on Monday, leaving them dangerously thin in the infield since Justin Turner and Trea Turner left in the offseason. The current infield is likely to feature rookie Miguel Vargas at second base and mediocre veteran Miguel Rojas at shortstop.

They’re also likely to start Trayce Thompson in center field and David Peralta in left.

The Dodgers could be starting as many as four or five players who are league-average hitters at their positions, and Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts and Will Smith are not enough to make up for that themselves.

Without an additional star, the Dodgers’ lineup goes from impossibly deep to just above average. Look across the National League, and it’s apparent that St. Louis, San Diego, Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta all look better than this unit from top to bottom.

Los Angeles has been a pitching factory for years, and betting against it in this department is asking for trouble. But even the rotation has more questions about durability than ever.

Clayton Kershaw remains elite when on the mound, but he took extra rest often last year between starts and shouldn’t be counted on for more than 120 innings. Tony Gonsolin is unlikely to repeat his absurd success in the first half of 2022. Noah Syndergaard could improve his velocity again, but if he doesn’t, he’s a below-average MLB starter.

If everything goes right, it’s a top-five rotation in baseball once again. But the depth behind the main starters is diminished from last season barring a huge step forward in command from prospect Ryan Pepiot.

The lineup lost three near-everyday starters at shortstop, third base and center field and didn’t replace any of them in free agency. That’s going to cost them wins, and it may cost it the division too.

PECOTA has the Dodgers at 95.2 wins, FanGraphs is at 87, ZiPS sits at 91 and Zerillo comes in at 95.7. Davenport is also at 95 for them.

They’re a public team, and their dominance of the sport should be respected. But this team looks weaker on paper than any Dodger team in recent memory. I’d bet under at 95.5 or better.

San Diego Padres

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+120
Pennant Odds+500
World Series Odds+1000
Regular Season Wins93.5
To Make PlayoffsYes -480 / No +350

Best Bet: Juan Soto To Win NL MVP (+550)

Sean Zerillo: I bet on Juan Soto to win the NL MVP before the pandemic-shortened 2020 season (at +1200), and before the 2021 season, I bet him at +850 and said that I would keep betting on Soto until he wins an MVP award.

Ultimately, I lied. Soto's odds dropped to +300 before last season, and I never pulled the trigger, but I'm back in for 2023 at a far more reasonable price point.

Aside from his teammate, Fernando Tatis Jr. — who is suspended for 20 games to start the season and, in my opinion, the worst player to bet in any market for 2023, and Dodgers catcher Will Smith — Soto laps the NL field in terms of production as a component of playing time.

Soto to win NL MVP is my favorite player awards bet; you can play him down to +400.

San Francisco Giants

Betting Overview
Divisional Odds+1200
Pennant Odds+2700
World Series Odds+5000
Regular Season Wins81.5
To Make PlayoffsYes +184 / No -230

Best Bet: Logan Webb To Win NL Cy Young (+3000)

Sean Zerillo: I bet on Logan Webb, whose average production (0.18) pales compared to his teammate Alex Cobb (0.20); and falls below my benchmark.

I've watched a lot of Webb's starts over the past two seasons, and I'm convinced he's better than his underlying metrics indicate. He prevents extra-base hits, generates a ton of groundballs (58.6% career) to kill rallies, and rarely allows the backbreaking three-run homer (0.60 HR/9). Webb is tough to barrel up (5.5%), and his skill set may be better suited to a playing environment with an increased number of balls in play.

That said, +3000 is far less enticing than the +4000 I locked in.

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