Kansas City Royals

MLB Home Run Derby odds boil down to Stanton, Judge

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The combination of a home ballpark and being the only returning power hitter in the field has put Giancarlo Stanton atop the MLB Home Run Derby futures board – albeit barely.

Defending champion Stanton, of the hometown Miami Marlins, is listed as a +165 betting favorite to capture MLB’s annual contest of clout at Marlins Park on Monday night at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

New York Yankees rookie slugger Aaron Judge, who has an MLB-best 30 home runs and is threatening to take down Mark McGwire’s rookie record, is listed right behind at +175. By virtue of having had more home runs on June 15, Stanton is the No. 1 seed, whereas Judge is No. 2.

Eight players will be participating in a bracket-style timed event, where each player has four minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. Hitters get another 30 seconds if they hit two home runs measured at more than 440 feet.

Stanton, who bashed 61 big flies during the 2016 contest at San Diego’s Petco Park, will try to become just the third repeat champion and third player to win in his home park. Judge will try to be the first rookie to win since 1986.

Either player is a worthy play, but there’s far, far greater value in picking one of the darkhorses. For the quarter-finals, Staton faces that other Yankees rookie, Gary Sanchez (+1400 to win). Sanchez has the longest average home-run distance in the field (422 feet to Judge’s 415 and Stanton’s 410) and could be an early bracket-buster. Upsetting Stanton would throw the field wide-open.

The Minnesota Twins’ Miguel Sano (+1000) and Kansas City Royals’ Mike Moustakas (+1400) meet in the other quarter-final in the “Stanton region” of the bracket. Sano (average home run distance of 414 feet) should also be considered a darkhorse.

Judge faces the other Marlins representative, Justin Bour (+1400), in his quarter-final. Bour has an average home-run distance of 398 feet – tied with Moustakas for lowest in the field – and might be a bit of a sacrificial lamb up against Judge.

Meantime, Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger (+900 on the 2017 Home Run Derby odds) and the Colorado Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon (+2000) meet in an all-NL West quarter-final. Bellinger has enlisted his father Clay Bellinger as his pitcher and will be the fourth competitor to have his dad serving up meatballs. One of the other three (Robinson Cano in 2011) won and another (Bryce Harper in 2015) was runner-up.

Blackmon, meantime, faces a potential Bellinger-Judge tag team just to make the final, so his high price is probably a red herring.

Mariners rise, White Sox tumble on odds to win World Series

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The Chicago White Sox continue their decline on the baseball futures after picking up just six wins in their past 21 games, a stretch that has knocked them from top spot in the AL Central standings and dropped them to +2000 on the odds to win the World Series at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The White Sox looked to be the surprise story of the young season, charging out of the gate to an American League-best 23-10 start and vaulting up the World Series odds from a middling +3300 on Opening Day, joining the favorites with strong +1100 odds in early May.

Chicago takes their first two-game win streak in two weeks into Detroit, where they kick off a three-game weekend set on Friday night at Comerica Park, but must return home next week for two series against division leaders, Washington and Kansas City.

While the White Sox have plummeted at the sportsbooks the Seattle Mariners continue their steady climb, riding a 9-5 run into a battle for first in the AL West standings and +1600 odds to win the World Series.

Winners of just 76 games a year ago, the Mariners opened 2016 as a +4000 afterthought on the title odds but have emerged as road warriors this season, tallying an MLB-best 18 road wins to date and improving to a +140 bet to win their first division crown since 2001.

The Chicago Cubs’ continued flirtation with a .700 win percentage has kept them atop the World Series odds as big +350 favorites.

The Cubs have gotten the job done, both on the mound and at the plate, with the club’s hurlers combining to post a major league-leading 2.65 ERA, while the offense sits third in the league in runs scored, forcing the run total OVER in six of their past 10 games according to the OddsShark MLB Database.

The Boston Red Sox own first place in the AL East standings going into the weekend and have climbed slightly to +900 on the World Series odds, where they are joined by the red-hot San Francisco Giants, who have rebounded after slipping to +1400 in early May.

The Nationals remain in the mix, sitting alongside the Mets at +1100 despite both clubs’ recent struggles with inconsistency, while the Rangers round out the favorites at +1200.

The Mariners are joined at +1600 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, just ahead of the resurgent Toronto Blue Jays, who are deadlocked with the defending champion Royals at +1800, while the Baltimore Orioles remain neck-and-neck with the White Sox at +2000.

Orioles, Rockies among early surprises on baseball betting lines

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Not much was expected this season from the Baltimore Orioles, who kicked off the campaign as 20/1 longshots to claim the AL Pennant at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.  But two weeks into the season, the Orioles find themselves sitting atop the AL East standings with a league-leading 8-3 record.

The Orioles stormed out of the gate, sweeping the Minnesota Twins in a three-game series, before taking a pair from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game set that included one contest that was postponed due to weather.

Since extending their season-opening winning streak to seven with a pair of road victories over Boston, the Orioles have cooled off, dropping three of four to the Red Sox and Texas Rangers, but have seen their odds to win the AL East climb to 14/1 on the MLB futures.

With Sunday’s series finale in Texas postponed, Baltimore enjoyed a rare two-day break before they open a three-game series as +130 home underdogs in Tuesday night’s Blue Jays vs. Orioles betting matchup at Camden Yards.

The defending AL East champion Blue Jays opened as 11/2 favorites to win the American League crown, but have received inconsistent performances from both the bullpen and their vaunted offense and stumbled to an early 7-7 record.

The Blue Jays tallied an MLB-best 891 runs in 2015, but have averaged just 3.6 runs per game over their past five outings, forcing the run total UNDER in each, and sport a team batting average of just .227. Toronto’s shaky start has had minimal impact on their odds of winning the AL Pennant, though, which remain at a strong 7/1.

In the National League, the Colorado Rockies sit alongside the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the NL West standings, after taking two of three on the weekend from the World Series favorite Chicago Cubs and following up with a decisive 6-1 win over Cincinnati on Monday.

The Rockies broke camp as 150/1 World Series longshots, but remain stalled on the baseball futures despite jumping out to an 8-5 start, including series wins over the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants.

The Diamondbacks were busy during the offseason, signing starter Zach Greinke and trading for Shelby Miller, earning them 14/1 odds to win the NL Pennant on Opening Day. But with just two victories in seven home games, and Greinke and Miller going winless through the first two weeks, Arizona has tumbled to 20/1 to claim their first NL championship since 2001.