New Jersey bettors can start serious baseball handicapping.

First, major sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuel released projected win totals for the novel 60-game season beginning July 23.

And on Wednesday night, DraftKings posted individual props for hitters to reach 20 home runs or pitchers to strike out 100 batters.

Watch the props list grow as we close in on opening day.

Baseball futures betting is a tricky, creative challenge this year. There are unusual factors, such as regional scheduling and the absence of a home-field edge because of no spectators.

There is a further loss of players who won’t compete because of coronavirus health concerns. Their absence may impact some teams’ win totals.

Nonetheless, we have a place to start. So let’s dive in.

MLB total wins odds at DraftKings, FanDuel

Both NJ online sportsbooks have the Los Angeles Dodgers at 37.5 victories, essentially the equivalent of a 101-win campaign. They have the same number for the New York Yankees.

Betting angle: Neither team can afford a slump or slow start for over bettors.

The Houston Astros come in at 35.5. The defending champion Washington Nationals are 33.5.

Betting angle: The Nationals have lost some key players.

The New York Mets, at 32.5 victories, and the Philadelphia Phillies, at 31.5, are expected to exceed .500.

Betting angle: Both teams will be playing the Yankees, Boston Red Sox and perhaps the Tampa Bay Rays fairly often.

It’s interesting that DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook have the same win totals. There are usually different spreads that give bettors the option to tailor wagers to where they find the best odds.

That’s likely because oddsmakers won’t move them to coax certain bets until they review all the implications of a compressed 60-game schedule.

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Phillies have a chance to improve

For gamblers, this is a nice time to review who’s actually on all these teams now. The offseason changed rosters.

And it’s been a long offseason.

Here are some considerations to bridge the 2019 season, the offseason and the beginning of the 2020 campaign.

The Phillies were a disappointing 81–81 last year. They are targeted for a slight improvement.

Phillies fans should consider the team’s aggressive offseason moves in the neighborhood of $133 million.

Those moves included nabbing:

  • Zack Wheeler, RHP
  • Didi Gregorius, SS
  • Tommy Hunter, RHP

Now add in a great manager. Joe Girardi, a no-nonsense, hard-nosed leader, has to be worth a couple of games of improvement by himself.

He has long been considered one of the best in the game and managed the Yankees to the 2009 World Series title.

These moves complement the 2019 acquisition of Bryce Harper for a multiyear commitment.

Speaking of the shortened season, the Phillies were 33–22 at one point last year, even while the bullpen cost them perhaps five games with blown leads.

The first half should have been much better, and the second half was just bad. Girardi can and probably will light a fire under this team.

NY Mets look good again

The New York Mets featured slugging newcomer Pete Alonso and won an impressive 86 games last year. Their total wins projection for the 2020 season is a slight downward trend.

The Mets added depth starters Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello. This helps the bottom of the rotation and would make them formidable if Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz stay healthy.

It’s been a big “if” in recent years.

New York also acquired former Yankee All-Star Dellin Betances, who often appeared unhittable as an eighth-inning reliever. He did not handle ninth-inning stress well, however, as the closer and has been recovering from an injury.

Bet the over with the Yankees

The Yankees won a whopping 103 games in 2019, and their total is slightly lower proportionately this year.

They picked up pitching star Gerrit Cole in the offseason. That was a great move but will only matter for about 37% of a regular season.

Nonetheless, the Cole move makes the Yankees’ over number more attainable.

The Yankees obtained a pitcher with 326 strikeouts and a 2.64 earned-run average last year. He was the prize catch of the offseason and joins Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka to create a formidable staff.

New York fans already planned a postseason World Series parade, but not so fast. Both Severino and Tanaka are fighting back from injuries.

Seasonal-win props have a fun and useful second betting purpose.

Many teams come within a few games of their projected victory totals. That helps single-game wagers, as bettors can determine which teams are trending way ahead or behind their trajectories and bet accordingly.

Can Alonso ‘Re-Pete?’: Mets slugger highlights prop board

A New York Met and New York Yankee now own the National League and American League rookie home-run records.

Alonso slugged 53 for the Mets last year, surpassing Yankee Aaron Judge’s 52 as the most in history for rookies.

Alonso headlines the new DraftKings prop regarding the 20-homer plateau in this shortened season. He is at +250 to reach the mark, which equates to a 53-homer full season.

Mike Trout is +300, Giancarlo Stanton is +300, Cody Bellinger is +400 and Joey Gallo is +145.

Star pitchers seek triple figures in 60 games

The 100-strikeout pitching prop equals about 264 over a full season.

Cole is -121, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer are +115, and deGrom is +145.

This bet depends entirely on how you believe the pitchers will be used.

Will they be allowed to go deeper into games because the season is shorter? Or will they be eased into the season with strict pitch-count limits because they have not been pitching since the fall?

To enhance the betting spirit, both New Jersey sportsbooks put up one more recent line.

The Yankees are -136 against the Nationals (+112) on Opening Day. FanDuel has the Yankees at -128 and the Nationals at +110.

And it’s Cole vs Scherzer.

Let’s play ball!

Dave Bontempo

About

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.