This time of the year in the sports calendar is my favorite for a number of reasons. The NBA is hitting its stretch run, NCAA basketball is taking over the airwaves, the Masters is close to its opening round, and baseball's Opening Day is right around the corner. Of course, I receive the greatest joy from the latter. Every new season brings fresh odds and a whole slew of bets to the table.
Even if gambling isn't your thing you can probably still take interest in some of the prop bets I'm going to show you. Plus, the 2008 Rays baseball-reference.com page is sponsored by VegasWatch.net. So there's that.
Odds on who will hit the most home runs in baseball in 2010:
Carlos Pena: 15/1
Evan Longoria: 22/1
Now, not ever player in the league is listed mind you. To put those odds in perspective, Ryan Howard is going off at 4/1, A-Rod 9/1, and Pujols 6/1. On the opposite end, Alex Rios is on the list at 200/1. The numbers for Pena and Longoria aren't too bad in comparison. While I doubt either actually does lead the league in home runs this season, the 15/1 odds on Pena would be a fun bet to follow during the season, that is, if gambling were legal.
Next it moves on to prop bets for individual player totals.
Home Runs- Evan Longoria
In his first two big league seasons Longoria has hit 27 and 33 home runs respectively. That makes taking the over on this bet look pretty enticing considering Longoria is still improving as a hitter. My prediction: Over
RBIs- Evan Longoria
This one sort of piggybacks off the last bet. If you think Longoria is a lock to hit 36+ home runs, then you probably also think he's going to drive in 116+ runs. Over
Home Runs- Carlos Pena
Pena is coming back from a broken hand which caused him to miss out on sole possession of the AL home run crown last season. That total was 39, but should have been into the mid-40s. If you expect to see the 2007 version of Pena that hit 46 home runs, and not the 2008 version that dipped down to 31, then by all means take the over. While Pena is likely to have another powerful season, the under looks like the safer play here. Its far more likely that a man coming off a hand injury, and who is on the wrong side of 30, will end up in the 30-35 home run range. Under
Stolen Bases- Carl Crawford
He's hit the 50 stolen base mark in five of his seven seasons. This is also a contract year for the speedy left fielder; more steals likely will equal more money on the open market. Crawford did slow down after the All-Star break, stealing just 16 bases. He should run more in 2010, if that's even possible. Over
Stolen Bases- B.J. Upton
We've talked so much about B.J. bouncing back this season that I'm not going to say much else about it. He stole 42 bases with a .313 OBP in 2009. That number is very likely to rise in 2010. Over
Batting Average- Jason Bartlett
Bartlett has hit under .286 just one time in a season in which he's had 300+ ABs. While I don't think Bartlett will repeat his 2009 performance in which he hit .320, something in the range of .290-.300 is certainly within reach. Over
Wins- Matt Garza
When I checked this total out yesterday it was at 10.5. This seems like the strangest bet of them all. Yes, Garza's record wasn't sparkling last season, but as we've detailed on this site, he was one of the unluckiest pitchers in all of baseball and is just coming into his own. He should win 11+ games easy this season. If there was a "bet my kidney" option, I'd click it. Over
Wins- James Shields
Shields' win total being a full win and half more than Garza's is surprising, especially when see what David Price's is. I sound like a giant homer, but I just don't see how the 1-2 punch of Shields and Garza doesn't each win at least 13 games. Over.
Wins- David Price
This is the one confuses me to no end. Why is Price's win total set so much higher than Garza or Shields? We all like Price and think he will be a front line starter one of these days, but betting the over on this one is putting a lot faith in a very young pitcher. I don't see it this season. Under
What do you all think of those prop bets? How close do you see them being? Are there any pure locks in your opinions? Any head scratchers?
Please do not use my advice for any actual gambling. I'm not going to be held responsible for your bankruptcy.
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