Last month there were legitimate concerns that the entire 2022 MLB season would be cancelled. This month the only concern is how many Opening Day rainouts there’ll be.
The lockout is over, Spring Training is complete and baseball is back! Before the season kicks off this week, be sure to place your futures bets for the 2022 season. To help you make the best picks possible, I’ve shared a breakdown of my best MLB futures bets below.
2022 World Series Winner
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays (+900)
Get used to the Blue Jays being listed as potential preseason picks to win the World Series. This team is as talented and complete as they come – and they’re going to get even better.
Reigning Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray and and All-Star second baseman Marcus Semien departed via free agency, but the additions of Kevin Gausman, Yusei Kikuchi and Matt Chapman more than offset these losses. George Springer is healthy, Vlad Guerrero Jr. is still doing Vlad Guerrero Jr. things, and – as strong as they were in 2021 – Bo Bichette, Nate Pearson and Alex Manoah all could realistically take steps forward into stardom.
It might not have seemed like it, but the Blue Jays breakthrough actually began in 2021. The team grossly underachieved last season – not because they missed the playoffs, but because the difference between their actual (91-71) and Pythagorean (99-63) records implies that they dropped a whopping 8 games over the course of the campaign.
The stars are aligning off the field, too. Due to Canada’s strict COVID-19 regulations, unvaccinated players from visiting teams won’t be able to play at the Rogers Center. It remains to be seen how much of an advantage this actually will give the Blue Jays, but it’s not as if this team needed any extra help.
This team is well-positioned to win 100+ games and go all the way in October.
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers (+500)
In 2021, the Dodgers boasted the best offense in the National League as well as the best pitching staff in all of baseball. The team lost Max Scherzer, Corey Seager and Kenley Jansen over the winter, but added Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman and the Universal DH to what is a laughably loaded lineup.
LA has made 3 of the last 5 World Series, winning one of them. They currently sit at +500 to be crowned champions, which implies a 1/6 probability. If you project the Dodgers to even have a 1/5 probability (+400) to win it all, then there’s actionable betting value here.
Call it a cop out prediction if you must. But the rightful favorites are undervalued by the betting market. If you can’t stomach by Toronto prediction, this is the most sound, secondary selection.
Value: Milwaukee Brewers (+1600)
The Brew Crew are a near lock to make the playoffs. When rotations shorten in the postseason, Milwaukee’s league-best 1-2-3 punch of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta will make the 2021 NL Central champs a supremely difficult out. The lineup could become a legitimate liability if things don’t break right, but this is a legitimate World Series sleeper pick nonetheless.
2022 Division Winners
AL Central: Minnesota Twins (+500)
Carlos Correa is one of the best all-around players in baseball. Hard stop. His addition creates a massive, positive ripple effect for the Twins both offensively and defensively. The revamped rotation of Sonny Gray, Chris Paddack, Bailey Ober, Dylan Bundy and Joe Ryan has enough upside that the staff won’t need to over-perform to exceed the market’s current expectations.
The rash of pre-season injuries plaguing the White Sox further helps Minnesota’s cause. The AL Central is more balanced overall compared to 2021, and I see this divisional race being far more competitive than what the oddsmakers currently are implying. There’s big value here.
AL West: Los Angeles Angels (+400)
The rationale here is similar to the Twins pick above. Houston is the clear favorite to win the AL West, but the reigning divisional champs have more than their fair share of potential issues looming on the horizon.
Meanwhile, the Angels will have Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon healthy and playing together for the first time ever. Joe Maddon is a wizard, plus there are enough lottery tickets between Noah Syndergaard, Reid Detmers and Jo Adell that even a single breakout would be enough to put this team over the top.
The only argument against this pick is potential injuries. I’ll trade that randomness and risk for the value this line currently presents.
AL East: Toronto Blue Jays (+175)
See above. This is the best team in the AL East. Their 99 Pythagorean wins last season would have put them just one game behind the division-winning Rays. This team is not only poised to take another step forward, but also will benefit from a COVID-regulation-enhanced home field advantage.
Yes, the AL East is as deep and tough as ever. But Toronto is the best-in-class and absolutely win this division more often than what the current 36% implied probability suggests. Back the Blue Jays with confidence.