HomeMLBHow to Spend $5000 at DraftKings on MLB Futures Bets

    How to Spend $5000 at DraftKings on MLB Futures Bets

    Jason Weingarten looks for early value in the MLB futures market on DraftKings.

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    Finding Value in MLB Futures

    Here are some MLB futures bets I like to start the 2024 MLB season. It’s still the first week of March, but I found some numbers interesting. I used DraftKings for all my odds this week. 

    NL MVP

    Ronald Acuna flew to LA to have his knee checked out this week, but the Braves say he’s fine and will be ready for Opening Day. He basically went wire to wire to win the NL MVP last season and opens up with the shortest odds again at 5/1. Acuna didn’t take much time off this offseason either, playing 21 more games in the Venezuelan Winter League. Guy just loves baseball. 5/1 not a great bet though.

     

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    Mookie Betts/Shohei Ohtani/Freddie Freeman all hurt each other being on the same team, and Ohtani while still being Shohei Ohtani the greatest baseball player in the world, takes a hit this year as a DH only. Ohtani is currently +750, and I think we probably see that number rise in April rather than drop.

    Fernando Tatis Jr. continues to be an awful bet at 10/1. One of the worst numbers in any of these markets. He’s got a salvage title on his shoulder, a 22% strikeout rate, doesn’t’ play shortstop anymore, and he’s not even the best player or a leader on his team (Manny Machado in both cases). Tatis lied about his steroid usage, and made everyone in his organization look like idiots for trusting him and paying hm so much money. Hard to see a situation where he’s voted MVP.

    Trea Turner is 22/1. I was big on him last year, coming off a strong performance in the WBC, but he never contended for MVP. Then you have Goldschmidt 40/1, Bellinger 50/1, Yelich 80/1. I only mention them because they are former MVPs with large odds next to their names.

    Darkhorse: Matt Chapman in San Francisco. Chapman had seventh and sixth-place finishes in the AL MVP race back in 2018 and 2019, which seems like a long time ago. Those were his 25 and 26-year-old seasons. At 30, he’s now playing for the Giants. Chapman is 60/1 at DraftKings, and there are probably some better numbers out there. At 100/1, I’m in.

    Darker Darkhorse: Oneil Cruz. We know the talent is there. The other seven players besides Cruz that the Bat X projects to hit 24+ home runs and 26+ stolen bases: Ronald Acuna, Bobby Witt Jr. Julio Rodriguez, Tatis, Jose Ramirez, Randy Arozarena and Jazz Chisholm. 

    MLB Futures Bet: Oneil Cruz 100/1 for $250.

    AL MVP

    The AL pool opens up with Ohtani going to the National League. Judge still has the shortest odds at +550, with teammate Juan Soto right behind him at +600. I think Soto should have shorter odds than Judge, and I think this will reverse itself once the season starts.

    Aaron Judge is great, and he’ll continue to bat in the middle of the Yankees order for the foreseeable future. Still, he’s on the record talking about his toe injury. I don’t love baseball players with nagging injuries, especially things like injured toes or broken wrists that can lead to changes in swing mechanics/timing. Judge will still be a great power hitter, but I am concerned that he will need more time off going forward.

    I don’t know how many years in a row I’ve bet Juan Soto in the NL at big number. Now he’s 6/1, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s in contention all season. Odds aside, Soto would be my preseason pick for AL MVP.

    Yordan Alvarez is a guy I’ll keep my eye on. He’s always been one of my favorite players. Need him to stay healthy and you could argue he’s the best hitter in the American League. Unfortunately, he has only played 114 and 135 games in the past two seasons, and that’s not going to be enough to win MVP.

    Bobby Witt Jr. has shorter odds (20/1) than Vlad Guerrero Jr. (22/1) or Jose Ramirez (25/1). I think that’s silly, and Jose Ramirez is getting no respect. BatX projects him for 27 home runs and 29 stolen bases. I don’t get this number. I guess it’s because the Guardians are bad.

    MLB Futures Bet: Jose Ramirez 25/1 for $250

    NL Cy Young

    Spencer Strider is a short favorite; I’m not touching that at +550. Zack Wheeler is a perennial contender. He just signed a new deal with the Phillies, and he’s the second favorite at 8/1. None of the names under 20/1 excite me that much. Tyler Glasnow is great, but there’s no reason to expect the Dodgers to push his regular season innings. His teammate Yoshinobu Yamamoto is not much of a sleeper at 10/1 and the fourth favorite in the betting odds before throwing his first MLB pitch. Farther down the list, one name that stands out is Chris Sale, who is now on the Atlanta Braves. He’s got the strikeout stuff and pitched over 200 innings four times in five seasons from 2013 to 2017. As recently as 2018, he still had 237 strikeouts in 158 innings. I could see Sale have a strong start in April/May and vault into contention early. Sale will have competition from his teammates Max Fried and Spencer Strider, but it would not surprise me if Sale started strong and got some early attention in this market. I think 50/1 is too low for Sale, but I would still take it at a higher number.

    MLB Futures Bet: Nothing at Draftkings, shop for a price on Chris Sale.

    AL Cy Young

    Gerrit Cole leads the way again. Then there’s perennial contenders Kevin Gausman and Framber Valdez, neither of which I’m interested in betting at below 10/1. Corbin Burnes got traded to Baltimore and opens up with the fourth lowest odds at 10/1.

    Tarik Skubal is getting a lot of buzz early in camp, but I’m not compelled to bet him at 12/1. No interest in Mariners pitchers Luis Castillo at 13/1 and George Kirby at 14/1. A lot of great pitchers with uninteresting prices in the AL. Cole Ragans is down to 20/1. He’s got some nice stuff, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him seriously contend for the Cy Young this year.

    MLB Futures Bet: Nothing

    NL Rookie of the Year

    Dodgers ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto is currently +190, with four other players listed below 10/1. Jung Hoo Lee at +450, Noelvi Marte +800, Jackson Chourio +800 and Shota Imanaga at 9/1. Honestly, this market is mostly garbage.

    I bet James Wood 50/1, who’s off to a sizzling start in camp for the Nationals. Wood was the centerpiece of the Juan Soto trade. He’s likely to make it to the majors later this year but likely not in time to seriously contend. His number is down to 40/1 now at Draftkings; shop around for a 50/1 if you can. The NL ROY market makes no sense. Multiple pitchers listed under 25/1 have zero business being close to these odds. I don’t know how these numbers were made, but they aren’t very good. I’d still start the year with a small position on James Wood at 40/1 and Jackson Merrill at 50/1.

    Merrill might make the Padres opening day roster. Rookie outfielders who get a lot of playing time will always have a leg up on pitchers or position players who get held back for service time manipulation (for recent examples see: Michael Harris over Spencer Strider, or Julio Rodriguez over Adley Rutschman).

    The main question with the NL ROY market is Yoshinobu Yamamoto. There is no value on Yamamoto at +190, but we will find out within a couple starts if this number is warranted. If Yamamoto falters early, look for other options and remember that a guy like Spencer Strider not only didn’t win with a 200+ strikeout rookie season, but he lost to his teammate (Michael Harris, outfielder). It wasn’t a particularly close vote, either. Pitchers are at a serious disadvantage for this award.

    MLB Future Bets: James Wood 50/1 for $250; Jackson Merrill 50/1 for $250

    AL Rookie of the Year

    There’s a more interesting market with Jackson Holliday, the shortest favorite at +250. Evan Carter, who started in the World Series for the Rangers, is the second favorite at +300. He’s got competition from his teammate Wyatt Langford, who’s +450, down from +800, before taking a single MLB at bat. There is a very strong rookie pool in the AL this year. Junior Caminero takes over for Wander Franco at shortstop in Tampa and is the other contender at under 10/1 odds.

    Caminero at 8/1 is a better bet than Jackson Holliday at +250, but neither stand out as value for me this early in spring training.

    Colt Keith, likely to break camp with the Tigers, is another name to keep an eye on. And Colton Cowser has seen his odds drop a bit with his strong early spring performance for the O’s. He could make the opening day roster. I think I’d rather bet Colton Cowser right now at 25/1 and wait or a better price on teammate Jackson Holliday.

    MLB Futures Bet: Colton Cowser +2500

    Other Bets

    Most regular season wins by any team: Under 106.5 -135 to win $500

    Maybe the Dodgers blow through this number, but otherwise, I don’t think teams have an incentive to win 100+ games anymore in the regular season. With the scheduling adjustments, you don’t get to beat up on the worst teams in your division as much anymore.

    Win Totals

    Angels Under 72.5 -115 to win $500
    I don’t think the Angels have the pitching staff or the depth to win 73 games. I’m not optimistic this team will do anything in the foreseeable future. This team quit last year and will likely be going through the motions again in August or September. But I also said the Rangers weren’t serious contenders early last season, so what do I know?

    Nationals over 66.5 +100 to win $1000
    The Nationals are probably a year or two away from their rebuild really taking off, but you can see signs that they are going in the right direction. Even last season, while it might not have translated into wins, they were competing and getting better as the season went on. Not necessarily the best Opening Day roster, but Dylan Crews and James Wood should arrive in the majors at some point this year and 67 wins is not out of the questions.

    Make the Playoffs

    Braves NO +900 risking $500
    I’m probably burning money here, but the NL East is a competitive division, and all the teams, even the Marlins, start the season with the expectation that they will make the playoffs. Someone has to stay home, and I’ll take 9/1 against the Braves here. Maybe their pitching staff falls apart.

    Giants YES +190 risking $500
    I like what the Giants have done this offseason. They should contend for a playoff spot. They won 79 games last year. I expect them to improve on that number this season.

    Player Totals

    Judge Under 44.5 home runs -110 to win $500 (toe injury)

    Adolis Garcia Over 31.5 home runs -110 to win $500

    Christian Walker Under 29.5 -110 to win $500
    I bet Walker’s Over last year. I think he falls just short of 30 this year, and I’m fine taking this number.

    Corey Seager Over 29.5 home runs -110 to win $500
    If Seager can stay healthy, and that’s always questionable with Seager, I’m confident he’ll blow through this number.

    Jorge Soler Over 28.5 home runs -110 to win $500
    Soler is a power hitter projected to be the everyday cleanup hitter for the Giants. I’m a big fan of Soler and this signing. This number is a bit short based on my favorite projection systems.  

    Marcell Ozuna Over 29.5 home runs -110 to win $500
    Ozuna should get enough at bats to hit 30+ home runs again. He was very underpriced last year. He’s better priced this year but still short.

    Home Run Head-to-Head

    Ohtani +200 vs. Judge risking $500
    Ohtani just has to DH, Judge has to play OF with a toe that will never be 100%.

    Oneil Cruz -125 vs. Elly De La Cruz to win $500
    Every projection I’ve seen has Oneil with more home runs than Elly. I love both players; they are personal favorites of mine, but Oneil is the better play here.

    Strikeouts

    Jack Flaherty Over 128.5 -110 to win $500
    I think this is short. Flaherty leaves St. Louis and gets a fresh start with the Tigers, slotting in as the #2 starter in what looks to be a decent rotation with Tarik Skubal, Kenta Maeda, Matt Manning and Casey Mize.

    There you have it. My goal was to spend $5000 on futures, and I spent about $8200.

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