Futures betting often reflects the real stock market.
Buy on the rumor.
That’s just what New Jersey online gamblers did last weekend when talk of Mighty Max Scherzer and the New York Mets hit the airwaves. Predictions on the Mets landing the prized veteran hurler propelled action from the bettors, and the NJ sportsbooks.
Scherzer prompted Mets futures odds to drop from +2500 to +1300 at DraftKings faster than gamblers could say “three time Cy Young Award winner.”
The prophecy was soon realized with Scherzer’s record-breaking three-year, $130 million contract announced Monday.
New York Mets Futures Odds
Whichever books gamblers wagered at, those who invested on a hunch at +2500 felt like geniuses after the Mets odds fell at or below the world-champion Atlanta Braves (the Mets and Braves were both +1200 at Caesars).
Yes, the same Braves who finished 11 games ahead of them last year and got hot through the playoffs.
The Mets were 77-85 last year and will spend, not rebuild, which pleases gamblers.
The Mets are visible (and volatile) as odds on a team in the most highly-populated market swing wildly.
As rumors flew, sportsbooks tried to get in front of the betting stampede.
“Once the rumors start, the odds start dropping,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJGS. “What’s the old saying that where there is smoke, there is fire?”
“When the rumors hit, that’s the smoke. As a bookmaker, you have to plan for the fire. If the rumors are not true, you can always go back to the smoke,” he laughed.
This time, there was no need to go back to smoke. The fire had been sparked by a looming, significant deadline.
Scherzer Signing Moves NJ Sportsbooks’ Odds
The Collective Bargaining Agreement between major-league owners and players expired Wednesday night at 11:59 p.m. There was an urgency to finish deals before a subsequent lockout halts transactions for weeks, perhaps months.
Teams wishing to spend money (and that could include the Mets) want to be at full marketing steam all winter. Get ticket sales up. Get sponsorships up. Promote what you just purchased.
Here’s the updated DraftKings market to win the World Series:
- Los Angeles Dodgers +600
- Houston Astros +850
- New York Yankees +1000
- Chicago White Sox +1100
- New York Mets +1300
- Toronto Blue Jays +1300
- Atlanta Braves +1400
Other news complements the Scherzer signing.
The Mets picked up Starling Marte, who hit .310 for the Miami Marlins and Oakland A’s last year. He led the majors with 47 stolen bases.
Switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar became a Met after a strong 2021 season including 28 homers and 90 RBI. New York picked up another good bat. He could be a find.
The Mets attack the free-agent market the way George Steinbrenner once did for the New York Yankees.
But the prize was Mighty Max.
New York Mets Free Agency 2021
It is safe to say that the Mets bought high. Real high. Scherzer became a Met with fanfare, based on his terrific cameo performance with the Dodgers after the 2021 trade deadline.
Scherzer started 11 games. He went 7-0. He hurled 68 innings, struck out 89, and had a WHIP of 0.82. Scherzer propelled the Dodgers into the postseason, lifting a staff depleted by the loss of Trevor Bauer amid domestic-abuse charges.
This was likely the best pitching run in the future Hall of Famer’s career.
How good was Scherzer? He had a five-start stretch allowing no earned runs, including two separate 18-inning scoreless streaks.
The Dodgers were 44-13 after adding Scherzer and Trea Turner at the trade deadline.
Yes, Scherzer was that good. But he also had a tired arm at the end of the season. He was used in relief to close out the Dodgers’ NLDS win over the San Francisco Giants and he was merely good, not unhittable, for the last month of the campaign.
Avello baked that into the Scherzer assessment. Don’t expect the 25-28 wins projected by his August-September stint. But a lower number would still help the Mets.
“You can expect that if he stays healthy, you will get 16-20 wins out of the guy,” Avello observed.
That would probably satisfy Mets bettors, who are bullish to start with.
“One thing about the Mets, they get played every year,” Avello said. “If the Mets had no Scherzer, they would still get bet. People expect the Mets to be in the hunt and that National League East division can be won by any team.”
Indeed the Mets, Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies all held first place after Aug. 1.
Betting On The 2022 NY Mets
“If a gambler wanted to take a shot on the Mets last week, the approach could have been that they were 25-1 and the bettor was going to play them at some point anyway. Why not bet them now at 25-1? If the Mets don’t get Scherzer, you still have a good price on them.”
“If they do get him, and you made that bet at 25-1, now you have the bonus of Scherzer.”
But bettors beware. The Mets swung for the fences last year and hoisted an infield fly.
They signed shortstop Francisco Lindor to a 10-year, $341 million deal. His first year was a bust. He delivered only a .230 average with 20 home runs and no plate discipline. He routinely flew out on 3-0 pitches out of the strike zone.
It is believed he can settle down and find his stride going forward.
Carlos Carrasco, obtained from the Cleveland Indians, was hurt most of the year.
So was Jacob deGrom for the second half of the season, who was hurling at historic levels. He finished with an ungodly 0.554 WHIP, but only for 92 innings.
The Mets suffered an unprecedented wave of injuries and came nowhere near the 90-91 win-total range at DraftKings and Caesars sportsbooks. The experts touted the over as a slam dunk in April.
But the under romped in October.
That’s what makes the Mets attractive to bet with (or against) next year.
The over bettors see a 2021 excuse because of the injuries.
The under backers figure the team is over-hyped in the New York market and stars won’t reach their projections.
From either side, there’s an angle to bet on and interest when win totals on the Mets come out next year.
Perhaps no other team inspires the market, or impacts the betting board, like them.
(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)