Major League Baseball pitchers and catchers report next week.

Position players will arrive on Feb. 16 and 17.

In the NJ sports betting world, however, bettors don’t need to wait for Aaron Nola to show up in Clearwater, FL. The MLB futures market is open.

Few would debate that the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers (hot off the pending Mookie Betts trade) are the early favorites to win the 2020 World Series. 

FanDuel Sportsbook is currently giving a slight edge to the Bronx Bombers (+375). Signing pitcher Gerrit Cole to a $324 million contract has a little something to do with it.

The Dodgers are +430.

The Houston Astros (Cole’s former team) come in at +650.

The defending World Series champion Washington Nationals are +1700.

Here are the odds for the other National League East teams:

  • Atlanta Braves +1400
  • New York Mets +2100
  • Philadelphia Phillies +2100

Of course, if the Phillies figure out a way to land Chicago Cubs All-Star third baseman Kris Bryant in a trade, the odds will shift.

For now, it’s a non-factor.

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Cole specials for 2020 season

The Cole signing means the Yanks are heading into spring with a new ace. He spent the previous two seasons with the Astros, compiling a 35-10 record with 602 strikeouts.

In 2019, he finished second in the American League Cy Young race to Justin Verlander. 

Oddsmakers have taken notice, too, as NJ bettors can take advantage of several Cole specials. The DraftKings Sportsbook app includes a page of props tied to the right-hander’s 2020 performance.

Here are some of the available wagers:

  • Record 15 or more strikeouts in a game (-134)
  • Have 20 or more strikeouts in a game (+3000)
  • Win the Cy Young Award (+375)
  • Have a no-hitter (+2000)
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Are the Phillies a good bet?

Last year, the Phillies were the team attracting early betting action, thanks to the Bryce Harper signing.

Putting money down on Philly to win the National League East, however, ended up being a really bad wager. The Braves, Nationals and Mets all finished with better records.

Hiring Joe Girardi as manager and adding Zach Wheeler to the pitching staff are improvements, but whether or not it’s enough to contend for the NL East crown is to be determined.

Here are the latest NL East futures from Fox Bet NJ:

  • Braves +200
  • Nationals +250
  • Phillies +300
  • Mets +333
  • Marlins +50,000

As far as win totals go, the Phils’ over/under line is at 86.5. They closed out last season with an 81-81 mark.

Here’s how the number stacks up against the rest of the division:

  • Braves 91.5
  • Nationals 90.5
  • Mets 86.5
  • Marlins 64.5
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Bryce Harper + home run props

Some bettors prefer player props, like how many homers Harper will hit during the upcoming season.

Fox Bet has set the over/under at 38.5. Harper went deep 35 times in ’19.

Odds on MLB’s overall home run winner are live, too. Harper checks in at +2200. The top three names on the board all play in the Big Apple:

  • Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees) +800
  • Pete Alonso (Mets) +900
  • Aaron Judge (Yankees) +1200

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who hails from Millville, is +1400.

The Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins has odds of +4000.

Opening day is March 26. 

The time to step up to the betting window (or NJ mobile betting app), however, is already here.

Bill Gelman

About

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.