New York Yankees

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.

Cubs Lead Major League Baseball with wins projections

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(OddsShark.com) — Following a breakthrough 97-win season in 2015, matching their highest win total since their last appearance in the World Series in 1945, the Chicago Cubs kick off the Cactus League schedule leading the league with an OVER/UNDER of 92.5 wins for the upcoming season at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Cubs’ 97-65 record ranked third overall in the majors, but the club was forced to settle for the NL’s second Wild Card after finishing third in the NL Central behind the two top teams in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A pair of National League contenders closely follow the Cubs on the MLB win total props for 2016. The Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants both missed the postseason in 2015, but each return to action sporting win totals of 89.5 for the 2016 regular season.

The Nationals opened the 2015 campaign as favorites on the odds to win the World Series, closely followed by the Giants, who won their third World Series crown in five years in 2014. But after strong starts, both Washington and San Francisco faded in the second half, finishing the campaign with 83 and 84 wins, respectively.

The defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals are a -115 bet to win OVER 85.5 games in 2016, after closing out last season with a 95-67 record, while the NL champion New York Mets, winners of 90 games and the NL East pennant last season, join the Giants and Nationals at an OVER/UNDER of 89.5 wins for this year.

The Cardinals led the majors with a 100-62 record last season, including an MLB-best 55 home victories, but are expected to fall off that pace with a 2016 regular season win total of 87.5, while the Pirates are pegged at 86.5 wins.

The Toronto Blue Jays posted a 43-18 record down the stretch after making a splash at last July’s trade deadline, finishing with 93 victories and their first AL East crown since 1993.

The Blue Jays have opened their Grapefruit League schedule leading the AL East teams on the baseball props, pegged at 87.5 regular season wins with -115 odds on the OVER and UNDER, closely followed by the Boston Red Sox at 86.5, and the New York Yankees at 85.5

Following nine straight losing seasons, the Houston Astros returned to respectability with an 86-win 2015 campaign, and join Toronto at 87.5, while the odds are against the AL West champion Texas Rangers, a -130 bet to win UNDER 84.5 games this season.