Play ball…. we hope.
New Jersey MLB gamblers don’t have spring training to slowly anticipate the start of the season on March 31.
But they do have a futures board at DraftKings Sportsbook, enabling them to handicap several wagers that don’t require a full season being played.
The available bets don’t hinge on whether millionaire players and billionaire owners shorten the regular season by fighting over riches.
When a deal occurs, NJ bettors have a potpourri, especially in this interesting betting corridor.
Two of the three teams NJ gamblers follow (the New York Mets and New York Yankees) often outspend the baseball world in search of a championship.
That leaves the Philadelphia Phillies, among other teams, potentially overlooked.
World Series Futures At NJ Sportsbooks
The first look at the board could make one think the Mets and Yankees are defending league champs.
The Yankees have the second-lowest odds, +900, to win the Fall Classic. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers, +700, are shorter.
The Mets, perennially over-bet, are +1000. They have the fourth-lowest betting odds, trailing only the Dodgers, Yankees, and Houston Astros, who are +900 like the Yankees.
The Toronto Blue Jays are +1100.
Does anyone remember that the Atlanta Braves won the World Series last year? Here they sit at +1400, extraordinary value.
The Phillies, who won 82 games last year and rewarded over bettors on their victory total, are in an accustomed long-shot position, +3500.
Betting on the NL East
New York hype-ola surrounds the perceived NL East race. The Mets are the +140 chalk after being 77-85 last year.
The Braves, who won 13 more games than the Mets, are second at +150.
The Phillies, who led the division in early August before fading, are +500. Give this team any type of closer and some middle-relief help and it’s a threat.
How did the Mets become chalk? Speculation, expectation, and financial largesse.
The Mets’ odds may reflect the optimism brought by one monstrous offseason move.
They landed Mighty Max Scherzer. The Mets spent a record $130 million for three years on the future Hall of Famepitcher.
That gives Scherzer the biggest contract in baseball, eclipsing Gerrit Cole of the Yankees.
Yes, Scherzer was lights out for the Dodgers in a cameo role for them last summer, but he had arm fatigue at the end of the season. Did the Mets sign the 37-year-old too late?
Will they realize the potential born of five Cy Young Awards between Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, or will Scherzer’s tired arm and deGrom’s mere 92 innings pitched last year foreshadow problems in 2022?
That’s why people make bets.
The Mets also doled out deals to Starling Marte ($78 million, four years), Mark Canha ($26.5 million, two years), and Eduardo Escobar ($20 million, two years) in an effort to win now.
That’s an expensive leap of faith.
New faces in New York
Marte is 33 years old. He hit more than .300 the last two years and had 47 steals last year, but the Mets paid a premium for aging wheels.
Canha hit .231 last year. Escobar is a proven player and should help, but all told, the combined spending of more than a quarter billion dollars on four players may prove to be reckless.
The Mets also hired Buck Showalter as manager. This is a sharp move regarding structure, as he is one of the most organized skippers in the game.
Showalter, who says effort never goes into a slump, hopes to light a fire under a team that was projected to win 90 games last season but collapsed.
In their defense, the Mets suffered a litany of injuries to key players like deGrom and Carlos Carrasco, while Francisco Lindor was a major bust.
MLB 2022 MVP Odds
On to the MVP award, which doesn’t weigh as heavily on the New York media market.
For Philadelphia Phillies bettors, the 2021 award was Bryce as nice.
Bryce Harper surged from double-digit odds with a scorching second half to seize the coveted crown at various attractive prices.
Many NJ bettors had him above +500 and some secured him in the +1400 range. They notched a sweet payday.
Harper’s magical season proved that a player can make a big move at any time.
The expected contenders for 2022 are listed right away.
Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals is +350.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is +350. He was a frontrunner until sustaining a shoulder injury last year. When he slumped, so did the San Diego Padres.
Ronald Acuna of the Braves is +900.
Harper is +1000, already a bargain to some bettors.
Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers has the same price.
Betting on the AL MVP
It was a tough year for Mike Trout, the Millville-born superstar and three-time American League MVP.
He was the odds-on MVP favorite before sustaining a calf injury that knocked him out for most of the season.
Because of that dilemma, bettors cashed in on his Los Angeles Angels teammate, Shohei Ohtani. This was primarily a West-Coast play as California bettors jumped aboard the Japanese superstar in March, driving his odds down from +6000 to +1500.
Still, there was Trout standing in his way. Until he wasn’t.
Ohtani caught fire and took the award home. He opened as the +300 favorite this year, with Trout at +350.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. was right behind them at +400.
Aaron Judge of the Yankees has a high value of +1500. Rafael Devers of the Boston Red Sox opened at +2000.
Cy Young Award Odds In NJ
The Phillies, Mets, and Yankees all figure in it.
Remember when deGrom was in minus numbers for the Mets last year? And when he looked likely to win both the MVP and the Cy Young?
Well, his arm troubles have placed him in a modest favorite’s role this time around, at +450.
Walker Buehler of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who looked capable of stealing this award until faltering down the stretch last year, is +800.
So is Corbin Burnes, who won the award last year by the tightest margin, 10 points, in history.
He nudged Zack Wheeler of the Phillies, who pitched so well that he landed in the favorite’s role in early August.
Many NJ bettors believed he should have earned it. Both Wheeler and Burnes had the same number of first-place votes.
In the American League projections, Cole of the Yankees is the +450 favorite.
Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Guardians is in the second spot, at +700.
Robbie Ray of the Toronto Blue Jays sits third at +900.
Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox, who has shown Cy Young stuff for limited stints, sits at +1100 in a possible breakout year.
All teams heavily followed by NJ bettors figure in the strikeouts championship, as well. The current odds show the following:
- Cole +450
- deGrom +500
- Scherzer +700
- Wheeler +1200
This will be a scintillating, back-and-forth battle between the participants if injuries don’t derail this competition. NJ online bettors can get a regular glimpse of the Yankees, Mets, and Phillies in a different form.
More bets will go up once oddsmakers get a sense that MLB will play ball.
Until then, NJ bettors at least have a starters kit.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum