Baseball season is finally upon us, and there are betting opportunities galore, especially when it comes to vast array of futures out there for your wagering pleasure. Be it which team is going to win it all in the fall or which players get to take home the hardware for top individual honors, there's likely to be a prop of some sort for your consideration.
Without further ado, here are our best bets from Tyler Fulghum, Paul Hembekides, Eric Karabell, Derek Carty and Tristan H. Cockcroft.
All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook, as of March 27.
The Astros are the favorite at +500, with four other teams (Yankees, Mets, Dodgers and Braves) all under +1000. Who do you see taking home the World Series title this year?
Carty: THE BAT X projection system sees the Braves as being the best team in baseball, but they have the fifth-shortest odds. I'll take them at +850, and I'll happily also take the Angels at +3500. THE BAT X projects them as the fifth-best team in the American League, but they have just the third-best odds in their own division.
Jacob deGrom (+500) in the AL and Justin Verlander and Corbin Burnes (+500) in the NL are the favorites for their league's respective Cy Young Awards. Are you playing one of them, or have you bet on someone else?
Karabell: Surely deGrom is awesome, but having only 26 starts over the past two seasons combined is a problem, and he dealt with injury this spring, too. Five AL pitchers boast better odds than Shohei Ohtani (+1200), but I will go with him. Ohtani was fourth in AL Cy Young voting last season and now, with a better team around him and in a contract year, you shouldn't doubt him.
Carty: THE BAT X projects Aaron Nola for the highest WAR among all MLB pitchers this year, so getting him at the seventh-best odds (+1200) seems like a steal.
Hembekides: I'm using underlying metrics and playing Kevin Gausman as a 16-1 long shot to win the AL Cy Young. He was the unluckiest pitcher in baseball last season (his 3.35 ERA was nearly a full run higher than his 2.38 FIP, which led the American League). He served up a BABIP of .364, the highest mark of any pitcher in the past 100 years. Toronto's improved outfield defense (Daulton Varsho, Kevin Kiermaier) will enable Gausman to progress back to the mean and then some -- all the way to the AL Cy Young.
Cockcroft: Interestingly enough, Burnes might be the NL's favorite, but for the value, I'd take his rotation-mate Brandon Woodruff at +2200. Woodruff might be the most underrated pitcher in baseball, one of the few capable of delivering 200-innings volume along with top-shelf production. If you take out the first three months of his 2022, when he was dealing with Raynaud's syndrome, he would have been a sub-2.50 ERA pitcher with a 200-plus strikeouts pace over the past two seasons.
WBC MVP Shohei Ohtani (+200) is the favorite to win the AL MVP again, while Juan Soto (+450) is the favorite in the NL. Where is your money this year?
Fulghum: Perhaps it's me being a prisoner of the moment, but Trea Turner (+1200) looks like a good value in the NL. His counting stats always speak for themselves. Playing at Citizens Bank Ballpark is likely to boost his power numbers to career-high totals. He also will have has to assume added responsibility for this team to win early in the season because of the injuries to Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper. If the Phillies are a contender and Turner stays healthy, he is likely to be posting some monster numbers.
There are tons of props to play out there, from HR leader to strikeout leader and everything in between. Are there any that catch your eye?
Karabell: I am a bit surprised at the odds on this one, but Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan (+5000) boasts awesome value for the runs scored leaderboard. The contact-oriented Kwan scored 89 runs as a rookie, but context matters, because he led off in only 99 starts, and he hit .311 with 67 runs in those games. Kwan scored 50 runs in 69 games post All-Star break, too. Only five hitters scored more runs in that span.
Cockcroft: Two categorical picks stand out to me, both with +2000 odds or greater, and those are Devin Williams leading in saves (+2000) and Corbin Carroll leading in stolen bases (+2500). Williams has a practically unhittable combination of a changeup and a four-seamer, and he's on a team that I see scratching and clawing its way to a good share of close wins. Carroll, who is also a decent bet for NL Rookie of the Year (+500), is currently the game's speediest player, with good enough plate discipline to drive opportunities. Plus, he's coming off a strong spring training.