With the 2019 MLB season just weeks away, Spring Training is in full swing and Opening Day buzz is building. Each team has an arduous 162-game journey ahead, with just ten playoff spots to fight for. Before the action gets underway, there are various MLB future bets to ponder, from World Series winners and division champions to win totals and MVPs. Here are some odds that jump out and are worth a look:
Chicago Cubs to win the NL Central, 2/1
The odds are more favourable given the strength of the division, with the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers also expected to contend. But the Cubs can lean on a proven rotation (they have five solid starters) and a deep batting line-up led by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. If they stay healthy, they should narrowly win the NL Central - but be prepared to sweat this one out right to the wire.
Colorado Rockies - Over 84.5 wins, 10/11
The Rockies have brought back the majority of the 2018 core that won 91 games. On top of that, the Arizona Diamondbacks are re-tooling and the San Francisco Giants could be in teardown mode by mid-season. Even if you do not like Colorado as division champions (where the Los Angeles Dodgers are the favourites), this win total is very much in play.
Philadelphia Phillies - Under 89.5 wins, 10/11
The Phillies have been busy overhauling their roster after a disappointing 2018 campaign. There is understandably plenty of hype after snaring Bryce Harper in free agency to add to trades for catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Jean Segura. But it is a significant step to go from 80 wins to 90 wins in an ultra-competitive NL East. Philadelphia will be better in the long run but this group needs time to mesh and that makes this win total a big ask.
Most home runs - JD Martinez 14/1, Alex Bregman 40/1
This is always a fun category. The Oakland Athletics’ Khris Davis smashed 48 homers last season to top this list, and he should be in the mix again. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are naturally among the frontrunners too. But you can find some nice value lower down the pack. Martinez is coming off a terrific first year in Boston and should threaten the 40-homer mark again (he had 43 in 2018).
Also keep an eye on Bregman. With the power of the Houston Astros’ line-up, there is no option of pitching around him. He is capable of kicking on from the 31 home runs he hit in 2018.
Pitcher with most wins - Gerrit Cole, 30/1
This is a decent long shot. Cole can count on run support in Houston and has shown he belongs among the league’s elite pitchers. It will likely take at least 18 victories to win this category.
American League MVP - Francisco Lindor, 22/1
It is always tough to bet against a healthy Mike Trout here but his odds are especially short (2/1). The Cleveland Indians should be the class of the AL Central, giving Lindor the chance to post a batting average over .300, pile up RBIs and be centre stage on a team that chases 100 wins.
National League MVP - Nolan Arenado, 8/1
Arenado’s consistency makes it likely that he will be in the hunt here. Playing at hitter-friendly Coors Field will of course help to pad his numbers, and his contract extension should allow him to play with freedom.