Major League Baseball is set to begin their season next week. It won’t be what we are used to as baseball fans, but hey, it’s still baseball, and it’s the first major American sport to return.
Instead of 162 games, we get just 60 games. Teams will be playing in their home ballparks but without fans. Nevertheless, baseball returns Thursday, July 23rd with two games in the evening and a full slate on Friday, July 24th.
Rule Changes For The 2024 Season
There are a few key changes with the shortened season. Most of them seem to point to an increase in offense.
- Rosters will be expanded to 60 players at the start of the season, but only 30 players will be active at a given time. They will then go to 28 players and 26 players after a few weeks.
- Both leagues will use the designated hitter.
- In extra innings, teams will begin each half-inning with a runner on second base.
- Any game suspended due to weather or COVID after the first pitch will be scheduled again for a later date.
Rule Changes For Betting MLB Baseball Online
- Game must go 9 innings (8 ½ if the home team is winning) for action. If a game is called prior to 9 or 8.5 innings (example: called in the 7th inning due to rain), game wagers including Money Line will be graded No Action.
- All wagers are Action. Listed Pitchers will not be an option for the 2020 shortened season
MLB Season Specials
With the shortened season, we do have some interesting props to take a look before the season kicks off which is a bit unique compared to a full season slate. Also, I think there is a bit of value for bettors here.
Let’s take a look at these specials offered by BetOnline.ag and SportsBetting.ag.
Most Home Runs in 2024 Regular Season
|Most Home Runs Betting Odds
|Over 20.5 Home Runs
|Under 20.5 Home Runs
We won’t see home run totals even close to a full season, but I still think there is some value with this prop. The market actually moved a bit from when it was posted in favor of the over 20.5 home runs.
We’ve seen some crazy heaters from players, including Christian Yelich launching 21 bombs in a single month in the 2019 season. I genuinely think this one is still off a bit, and 21 home runs by a single player are highly likely.
Player to hit .400 or better in 2024 Regular Season?
|Odds To Hit .400 Or Better
We haven’t seen a player hit .400 or better since Ted Williams did it back in 1941. However, we’ve seen guys hover around that mark for stretches. I wouldn’t put a lot on this one, but I think there is some slight value extracted at +550.
Throw 0.25 units on this one and hope a guy goes on the heater of a lifetime for 60 games.
MLB World Series Futures
The Nationals come into the season as the defending champions, but they’re far down the list when it comes to the favorites to win the World Series. Washington is listed at +2500 to repeat as World Champions.
The two teams that are far ahead of the rest of the pack are the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, both at +400. The Houston Astros, coming off their cheating scandal, are just ahead of the top two teams at +1000 to win it all.
Where Is There Value In MLB Futures?
There are a few teams that stick out to me when it comes to World Series futures. I don’t think bets on the Dodgers or Yankees are bad bets, but we have a lot more upside with longer odds, especially in a shortened season that may offer a lot of variance of outcome.
Tampa Bay Rays +2000
The Rays are going at 20/1 to win it all and I love the value here.
They don’t have an elite offense by any stretch, but their rotation is fantastic. Blake Snell, Charlie Morton, and Tyler Glasnow are an elite top-3, but without the star power or name recognition of other rotations.
They have the tools to win in the postseason and at +2000, there is a lot of value here.
Cincinnati Reds +2000
The Reds are similar to the Rays in that they are flying under the radar, but still offer lots of value at 20/1 to win it all. They’re coming off a poor 2019 with a 75-87 record and have not made the postseason since 2013, but there is a lot more talent now in the Queen City.
Cincinnati has had a big offseason where they added Mike Moustakas, Nicholas Castellanos, and Japanese outfielder, Shogo Akiyama. Their offense should be heavily improved, and they already had a strong core with Eugeion Suarez and aging superstar, Joey Votto.
The rotation got better with the trade of Sonny Gray and a strong bullpen. They’ve struggled with injuries in the past, so a 60 game schedule may be beneficial.
The Reds have the makings of a World Series contender but are not priced like it. They’re easily my favorite future bet in the NL at +2000.
MLB Opening Day Odds
The Yankees will face the Nationals to start the year. Gerrit Cole will face Max Scherzer at Nationals Park. New York is a -135 favorite over Washington which is a +125 underdog. The total is 7.5 runs.
The Dodgers and Giants face off later with Kershaw taking the mound for L.A. as a -280 favorite. San Francisco throws Jonny Cueto at +249. The total is 8 runs.