I like prop bets. Not as a lifestyle per se. Just as a conversation starter. One of my favorite things about the Super Bowl is the wackiness of the various prop bets (O/U length of time for National Anthem; Color of Gatorade poured on winning coach; etc).
So, as we are less than 48 hours away from Opening Day, I thought a fun way to kill some time would be to look at some various MLB prop bets.* All lines via Sportsbook.com
Without further adieu, and in no particular order:
Most Regular Season HRs by Any Player
- Last year, Jose Bautista came out of nowhere to hit 54 HRs. Next closest. 42, by Albert Pujols. Coming in 3rd was Konerko with 39. That said, I'd take the UNDER. We are in the era of the pitcher and beyond the era of steroids.
Most Regular Season Wins by Any Pitcher
- OVER. Way over. Last year, 2 pitchers (C.C. and Halladay) won 21 games. But, including those two, 9 players had 18 wins or more. In the years 2000-2009, there were 34 20-game winners. This year, one team could have 4 of them alone. For the same reason we go under with HR, we go over here. At least one pitcher will win 21 games this year.
Albert Pujols Total HRs
- I don't know how much stock you put into the whole "contract year" thing. I know I've heard that there really is no statistical data that backs up the idea that players in a contract year outperform their average. But if ever someone was motivated to show they were worth $20 million plus per year, isn't it this guy? Is there anyway he DOESN'T hit 40 HRs? Take the OVER.
Adrian Gonzalez Total HRs
- Between 2007-2010, AGon has hit 30, 36, 40, 31 HRs respectively. And I don't think I need to remind anyone in this audience where he played 81 games a year during that stretch (not to mention equally cavernous parks in SF and LA). Now he moves to a park with these dimensions: 315 to Left (plus Green Monster), 379 Left-Center, 380 Right-Center, and 302 down the Right Field line. Yes he moves to a bigger market, more attention, more pressure. But he leaves behind facing guys like Jimeneaz, Lincecum, Cain, and Kershaw. I say OVER, but not by much.
Buster Posey Total HRs
- He hit 18 HRs in 2010 in 108 games. But now pitchers have had a year to face him, watch tape on him and scout him. Then again, so has Posey. Still, he loses the element of surprise and he plays in a big park. I go UNDER, but not by much.
4 Aces (Halladay, Oswalt, Lee, Hamels) Total Regular Season Wins
- This is one of the most intriguing and interesting props available in my opinion. Basically, an OVER bet is saying you expect these four guys to average 15 wins a season. Before you jump at the chance to take this, let me say this. Jose Contreas is starting the season as the Phillies closer. And, when healthy, Brad Lidge is their closer. These four guys are aces, no doubt. But thats a lot of wins for a bullpen that ranked 10th in the NL last year to hang on to. I say UNDER.
Heath Bell Regular Season Saves
- As a full time closer, Bell has yet to save under 40 (42, 47). This number seems way to low and, barring injury, should be eclipsed easily. Take the OVER.
San Diego Padres Regular Season Wins
- An under bet basically says that you think the Padre would drop 15 games from a year ago. For any team, that is a substantial drop off. And if you think this, you are likely basing most of that on the loss of Adrian Gonzalez. Look, that's a big loss, no way around that. But keep in mind, the Padres won 90 games a year ago, despite scoring only 665 runs all year (good for 22nd in MLB). Padres won with pitching (in my opinion as good if not better than last year) and defense (way better up the middle). I don't know that they can win 90 games without some luck like they had a year ago. But I don't think they play 6 games under .500 either. Take the OVER.
*For Entertainment Purposes Only