New Sluggers Enter The Home Run Race In MLB Betting Markets

Kevin Stott

Monday, February 1, 2016 8:16 PM GMT

The MLB Home Run Leader Props marketplace has opened up and it seems this year’s race will be wide open with many new sluggers entering the picture. Let's check the MLB odds.

MLB Home Run Leader Prop Pick: Bryce Harper 12/1
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Introduction (And Why We Should Maybe Let Them Take Steroids Again in MLB)
Opening MLB odds for the Regular Season Major League Baseball Home Run title have been released by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and although it looks a lot like last year’s offering, this is always a fun and intriguing market although few ever talk or write about it. Sportsbooks may not get loads of money on stuff like this—the SuperBook may be an exception for a number of reasons—but these are actually good markets for sportsbooks and should probably be pushed more as it’s hard to pick the ultimate winner, and if you do the (odds) payout is usually small as someone expected to lead the Big Leagues in dingers actually does. And there is only one winner each season and no doubt few, if any sportsbooks around the world got hurt because Chris Davis won the MLB Home Run title. If a sportsbook offered this market, although they probably only won so much, they won. And the more business generated in this market last year, the better, right? Unless it was Chris Davis money.

One idea for the further evolution of this niche Props marketplace would be for sportsbooks to offer up both AL and NL markets (as well as this overall combination of the two leagues) and maybe consider an even more Modern idea where one (sports bettor) could parlay their AL and NL Home Run selections into one bet with (obviously) respective and correlating odds. Like most Props Bets markets, this one just has one winner and many sports gamblers lose in this because their is just one winner, the odds go down so much in April and May from contending sluggers getting off to good starts as well as the fear of Injury. For example, last season the aforementioned Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Davis (57) was the overall MLB leader but the NL leader was the Washington Nationals Bryce Harper (42). So a Davis-Harper AL-NL HR Props parlay would likely have paid in the 20/1 to 40/1 range, even though one would expect them to hit HRs. And maybe only die-hard MLB fans from the DMV area (DC, MD and VA) would be betting something like that. Just an idea after looking at these sheets for 25 years and probably something only the bigger books would care to try although the Handle on this market is probably insignificant in the big scheme of things and not one which can offer up too much Liability for the sportsbooks. Gone are the Steroid Days when Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were smiling and flexing and bangingthe ball over the wall and when the sport seemed to be much more popular here in the United States. And all because of the Home Run, the long ball and all of the entertainment it brings. Teams might not win games hitting Home Runs, but Home Runs put people in the seats two decades ago. So maybe our beloved MLB evolves (devolves?) one day into a sports chock full o’ steroid-using players swinging for the fences using Aluminum Bats. And the Pitchers will be forced to wear masks like Hockey Goalies and a low Total in a 2027 MLB game will be set at 15½ runs (Over -135). A girl can dream. Anyway, here are those opening MLB HR Futures Opening odds from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook:

 

MLB Props—2016 Regular Season Home Run Leader (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) 
Giancarlo Stanton 8/1

Mike Trout 12/1

Bryce Harper 12/1

Edwin Encarnacion 15/1

Kris Bryant 15/1

Nelson Cruz 20/1

Josh Donaldson 20/1

José Abreu 25/1

Miguel Sanó 25/1

José Bautista 25/1

Chris Davis 25/1

Paul Goldschmidt 25/1

Nolan Arenado 25/1

Todd Frazier 25/1

Carlos Correa 25/1

Anthony Rizzo 30/1

Albert Pujols 30/1

George Springer 30/1

Miguel Cabrera 30/1

Carlos González 30/1

Troy Tulowitzki 30/1

Mark Trumbo 40/1

Justin Upton 40/1

JD Martinez 40/1

Khris Davis 40/1

Evan Gattis 60/1

Joey Votto 60/1

Pedro Álvarez 60/1

Hanley Ramírez 60/1

Adam Jones 60/1

David Ortiz 100/1

Manny Machado 100/1

Mark Teixeira 100/1

Yoenis Céspedes 100/1

Ryan Braun 100/1

Joe Pederson 100/1

Freddie Freeman 100/1

Jay Bruce 100/1

Prince Fielder 100/1

Adrian Gonzalez 100/1

Lucas Duda 100/1

Evan Longoria 100/1

Curtis Granderson 100/1

Andrew McCutchen 100/1

Corey Dickerson 100/1

Kyle Schwarber 100/1

Maikel Franco 100/1

Kyle Seager 100/1

Matt Kemp 100/1

Matt Adams 100/1

Kyle Calhoun 100/1

Kendrys Morales 100/1

Brian Dozier 100/1

Michael Conforto 100/1

Yasiel Puig 100/1

Corey Seager 100/1

Field 15/1

In case of a Tie, Winners’ Odds are then divided by the number of Winners.

 

Major League Baseball Home Run Leaders L20 Regular Seasons
2015—Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles 47 (AL, Right-handed hitter)

2014—Nelson Cruz, Baltimore Orioles 40 (AL, Right-handed) 

2013—Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles 53 (AL, Right-handed hitter)

2012—Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers 44 (AL, Right-handed)

2011—José Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays 43 (AL, Right-handed)

2010—José Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays 54 (AL, Right-handed)

2009—Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals 47 (NL, Right-handed)

2008—Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies 48 (NL, Left-handed)

2007—Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees 54 (AL, Right-handed)

2006—Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies 58 (NL, Left-handed)

2005—Andruw Jones, Atlanta Braves 51 (NL, Right-handed)

2004—Adrián Beltré, Los Angeles Dodgers 48 (NL, Right-handed)

2003—(Tie) Jim Thome, Phillies and Alex Rodriguez, Rangers 47 (NL/AL, Left/Right)

2002—Alex Rodriguez, Texas Rangers 57 (AL, Right-handed)

2001—Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants 73 (NL, Left-handed)

2000—Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs 50 (NL, Right-handed)

1999—Mark McGwire, St. Louis Cardinals 65 (NL, Right-handed)

1998—Mark McGwire, St. Louis Cardinals 70 (NL, Right-handed)

1997—Ken Griffey, Jr., Seattle Mariners 56 (AL, Left-handed)

1996—Mark McGwire, Oakland Athletics 52 (AL, Right-handed)

 

Analysis of Last 20 Seasons of MLB Home Run Leaders
When putting this list together, the word “Steroids” only popped into my head about 11 times so maybe we have finally distanced ourselves from the chemically-enhanced days of The Past, eh? Nonsense. It’s probably impossible to tell who is doing what anymore with all the tricks Science has to offer these days, but if you’re favorite player’s Hat Size has grown after the age of 21 and he suddenly gained 35 pounds of muscle and seems to go for the fences every AB, then perhaps something’s up. What’s sad is the MLB player who may be doing nothing but lifting weights, eating right and trying to go deep the old-fashioned way combined with the cynical, Modern Media who could never distinguish between the dude who has taken Steroids and the dude who hasn’t. And it’s weird when over in the NFL where Men are molded into small mountains and it seems to be no big deal. Anyway, the Home Run numbers in the 60’s and 70’s reminded me of the NASDAQ and the NYSE in the late Nineties when Irrational Exuberance and blind greed ruled the day and stocks would rocket up because a two mosquitoes landed on a Fern leaf on a Tuesday in January when at the same time last year only one mosquito landed on that very same Fern leaf. Growth! We’ve doubled up! Time to be Bullish! Buy, buy, buy. And we’re all gonna be rich, Bubba. That is until we see that the old Emperor is wearing no clothes.

Analyzing this list, we see that the AL has had the overall MLB Home Run leader in 7 of L10 seasons—the Baltimore Orioles (50/1 to win World Series, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) have provided the L3 straight—and a Right-handed hitter has W8 of the L10 seasons with Phillies semi-slugger and Subway spokesman Ryan Howard being the only Left-handed hitter to win the overall MLB Home Run title in the L10 years (2006, 2008). So, why so AL-tainted? It could be the style of play in a league where more Runs are scored, in great part because the AL employs the Designated Hitter Rule meaning that teams bat a (usually) power-hitting player (who doesn’t play the field) instead of letting the Pitchers bat. So, NL games have around 6 to 9 Plate Appearances per game and most Pitchers in MLB hit the baseball about as well as moths do. And it seems surprising in some way that Right-handed hitters have done so well, but it’s probably just because there are so many more Right-handed hitters to begin with and memories (or History) of Left-handed hitting MLB superstars like Barry Bonds, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth. Of the 23 winners—there were co-winners in 2003—in the past 22 seasons, 17 were Right-handed hitters (73.9%), even with so many more more Starting Right-handed Pitchers in MLB. And there have been no Switch Hitters who have won in (at least) the L22 seasons. So, does this mean go out and look for a couple of reliable Right-handed HR hitters from the American League? Chris Davis can you hear me? A different player has won the L5 years, so maybe time for some new blood? And maybe a Lefty?

This sounds good, and a young player who has definitely upped his HR totals (22, 20, 13, 42) in his four seasons in the Majors is the Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper (12/1 to win MLB HR Title, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). This 6-3, 215-pound powerful Left-handed hitter and Las Vegas native made hitting Home Runs a thing—despite actually being a 5-Tool player and a Catcher—in JUCO and shattered the Community College of Southern Nevada school record by hitting 31 dingers in 2010 as a 17-year-old. Expect the now 23-year-old Harper to go for it (the long ball) more this season and his sweet swing is reminiscent of Ted Williams and if he stays healthy, topping the 50 mark—last year he hit 42—is a real possibility and probably a goal in Harper’s mind. So who else besides Harper could realistically approach the 50-mark in HRs is the big question. And the three Blue Jays and odds favorite Giancarlo Stanton (8/1) and fellow superstar Mike Trout (12/1) immediately come to mind. And those three Jays (16/1 to win World Series, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) are none other than José Bautista (40 HRs in 2015), Josh Donaldson (41 HRs in 2015) and Edwin Encarnacion (39 HRs in 2015), all Right-handed hitters. And with 5 of the L6 overall MLB leaders in Home Runs coming from the AL East, maybe taking a logical shot on Bautista (25/1 to win MLB HR Title, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Donaldson (20/1 to win MLB HR Title, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and/or Encarnacion (15/1 to win MLB HR Title, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) is the Rx. If there is one team sure to hit Homers (again), it is the Toronto and bettors would get the added benefit of these tree all trying to out-duel, or, out-slug each other. In the end, taking a shot on a focused Left-handed hitter from the NL in Harper at 12/1 seems like good MLB pick advice on February 1.