“Baseball is BACK!” Have sweeter words ever been spoken?
Let’s not debate the merits of that statement and instead dive into the first of our 2020 MLB Betting Previews.
Below are my favorite team future bets for the upcoming season.
2020 MLB Future Betting Picks
2020 World Series Winner
Los Angeles Dodgers (+375)
Did you just roll your eyes at me for picking the favorites to win the league? I don’t blame you. But the thing is, the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to win the 2020 World Series. I’d rather win at these odds then lose at any others.
In 2019, LA led the National League in runs, home runs and OPS. This offseason, they (somehow) upgraded their lineup by acquiring Mookie Betts from the Red Sox. With the 2018 AL MVP leading off and Cody Bellinger, the 2019 NL MVP, holding down the cleanup spot, there’s no reason to believe this team won’t once again finish Top 3 in every major offensive category.
The club took a hit when the newly acquired David Price opted to sit out the season, but, frankly, the team didn’t need that upgrade, either. LA’s pitching staff led the NL in ERA, FIP and WAR. With blue-chippers Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Dustin May ready to take the next steps towards stardom, the club’s starting pitching is both talented as well as deep. And did I mention the bullpen was one of the best in the NL as well?
The Dodgers are the most talented team in baseball. They’ll once again be tested in the playoffs, but I think this is the season they finally bring home a championship.
Other Picks To Consider
- NY Yankees: +400 at DraftKings – I’m not convinced they’ll win the division, but the lineup and bullpen are built for a deep playoff run.
- Minnesota Twins: +1600 at DraftKings – Compare them stat-by-stat to the Yankees. There’s value here. Having Nelson Cruz DH all 60 games adds even more upside.
- Tampa Bay Rays: +1800 at PointsBet – If you don’t have the stomach for this, consider taking them to make the playoffs at -150. They’ll be there – and they’ll be dangerous.
- Washington Nationals: +1900 at DraftKings – The late start to the season, combined with the shortened schedule, removes concern over arms being too tired from 2019’s World Series title to make another run in 2020.
2020 Division Winners
AL Central: Minnesota Twins (-130)
Just lock this in and move on.
Like the Dodgers, Minnesota was Top 2 in virtually every significant offensive category in 2019. Also like the Dodgers, Minnesota leveled up their already potent lineup by acquiring a former MVP in Josh Donaldson. The 34-year-old third baseman has plenty left in the tank and will add even more explosiveness to “The Bomba Squad.”
The Twins won 101 games in 2019, went 50-26 against division opponents and had a +185 run differential…yet the White Sox seem to be the trendy pick to win the division. I do think the Pale Hose are significantly improved and will be a force for years to come, but I also think their young core still is at least one more year away from making a run at the playoffs. For context, in 2019, Chicago had an Expected Win-Loss of 68-93. As great as their offseason has been, it won’t be enough to flip last season’s record on its head.
Minnesota’s lone “weakness” is its rotation. It does lack star power, but it’s deep and quality nonetheless. It’s also backed by a strong, under-appreciated bullpen. This is not a one-dimensional roster – although even if it were, it’d still have enough firepower to mash its way through one of the weakest divisions in baseball.
AL East: Tampa Bay Rays (+350)
I agree with the Yankees being the favorites to win the American League, but I’m intrigued by the value Tampa Bay offers here. This team is young, talented and supported by one of the savviest managers and front offices in baseball. They’ve won 90+ games each of the past two seasons, including 96 in 2019, and there’s nothing flukey about this success. The Rays are loaded.
There will be days when the lineup struggles to scratch together runs, but the pitching staff has as much upside as any in baseball. Boston is poised to have a down year, Toronto is still rebuilding, and Baltimore is categorically awful. In a 60-game season that’s sure to be full of surprises, Tampa Bay could easily be one of them.
AL West: Oakland Athletics (+250)
This is my “anyone but the Astros” pick. Yes, the Astros are still dangerous, but the injury bug is already biting them and each team they face will be out for blood thanks to the DumpsterGate sign-stealing saga. With the unique 2020 scheduling structure, the AL West will be playing the NL West. The Dodgers-Astros series will be must-see TV, and matchups against San Diego and Arizona will further wear down the 2019 AL Champs.
Meanwhile, the AL West itself is much improved. Texas shored up its starting rotation with additions of Corey Kluber and Kyle Gibson, Los Angeles will slug its way to a higher winning percentage than 2019, and…well, Seattle still will be dreadful.
All said, there’s absolutely no value to be found in taking Houston to win the AL West at -175 on PointsBet.
Oakland is the team that stands out amongst the non-Houston contenders here. They’ve quietly won 97 games in back-to-back seasons and have a roster that’s both deep and talented. The lineup is balanced and the bullpen is strong. Frankie Montas returns from suspension, Sean Manaea is healthy, and Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk look every bit the part of a 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation for years to come. The AL West is going to absolutely cannibalize itself, but Oakland is well positioned to be the last team standing.
Other Picks To Consider
- NL East: Washington Nationals (+250) – It’s an absolutely stacked division that anyone but Miami could win, but I’ll give the edge to Washington, who has the best rotation.
- NL Central: Cincinnati Reds (+230) – The NL Central isn’t quite as scary as the NL East, but it’s very much up for grabs. The re-tooled Reds rotation will be the difference.
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