MLB News

Handicapping 2020 MLB odds with a 60-game schedule

MLB betting is back on the odds board with a 60-game regular season that took several weeks to hash out. Bettors now face the challenge of how to handicap MLB odds for a very different kind of season.

Covers Expert and longtime bettor/handicapper Ted Sevransky discussed how the 2020 MLB schedule impacts betting on the futures book and day-to-day regular-season odds.  

How does the 2020 MLB restart impact baseball betting?

It’s no surprise that, no matter how many baseball games are played in any given season, pitching is the foremost consideration. But the 2020 MLB schedule certainly changes up the thinking a bit.

“Pitching depth matters less than it would in a normal season, by far,” Sevransky said. “And front-line, high-end pitching talent matters more in a shortened season – teams with multiple aces are primed to succeed.”

With that in mind, Sevransky found it worthwhile to tie up a little money in the World Series and American League championship markets.

“I made a couple of futures bets on the Los Angeles Angels to win the AL and the World Series, with two young stud hurlers – Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning – who don’t have to worry about inning limits,” Sevransky said.

He got the Angels at +3,300 to win the World Series and +1,500 to win the AL Pennant. 

 

How does the 2020 MLB season affect betting on totals?

In a normal 162-game regular season, pitchers are often thought to be ahead of hitters early in the year. That leads some handicappers to feel stronger about betting the Under on run totals.

However, this 60-game season is set to begin in late July, with a projected opening day of July 23 or 24. In Sevransky’s mind, that changes matters.

“Part of pitchers’ early-season success is the advantage they have with cooler temperatures in April. That won’t be the case in July and August,” Sevransky said. “I’m not going to be in any rush to pound Unders that first week of the season.”

How do MLB rule changes impact betting on MLB odds?

The MLB restart comes with a handful of rule changes to accommodate the shortened season. Most notable among those changes: the National League will have a designated hitter at the plate (rather than pitchers), and regular-season extra-inning games will begin with a runner on second base, in hopes of preventing prolonged affairs.

Sevransky again came back to totals being impacted the most by those changes.

“I expect NL totals to be a good notch or two higher. Whether they are lined high enough right away is another question entirely,” Sevransky said. “The DH is a huge deal when it comes to totals, and not just because of the extra bat in the lineup. Managers also have more freedom with pitching changes when not worrying about pinch hitters.

“The runner starting on second base in extra innings is also key for totals. There will be more bad beats on Unders that don’t cash, because of extra-inning shenanigans.”

 

How does any type of baseball bubble impact betting on MLB odds?

For the moment, MLB doesn’t plan to have teams stay and play within one or two bubbles. Rather, the MLB plans on teams being in their home stadiums. But even in that instance, players will be under much tighter constraints in trying to stay healthy and avoid a COVID-19 diagnosis.

And that could lead to unrest, something worth keeping an eye on.

“I’ll be watching for signs of team chemistry at every opportunity,” Sevransky said. “Some of these teams are likely to come together, others are likely to fall apart in terms of internal turmoil. Being stuck in a bubble is likely to amplify both the good and the bad.”

Who will win the World Series?

Team Odds to win World Series
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +1,100
Atlanta Braves +1,500
Minnesota Twins +1,500
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +1,800
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Cincinnati Reds +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
Los Angeles Angels +2,200
New York Mets +2,200
Chicago White Sox +2,500
Cleveland Indians +2,500
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
San Diego Padres +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +5,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Texas Rangers +6,000
Toronto Blue Jays +7,500
Colorado Rockies +10,000
Detroit Tigers +25,000
Miami Marlins +25,000
Kansas City Royals +25,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +25,000
San Francisco Giants +25,000
Seattle Mariners +25,000
Baltimore Orioles +50,000

Odds courtesy Caesars sportsbooks

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