MLB’s Opening Day is less than two weeks away and with spring training winding down, it’s time to take a look at the 2023 MLB futures market. The Houston Astros are set to defend their World Series title of a year ago, but repeating has been difficult for MLB teams. There has not been a repeat champion since the New York Yankees won three straight World Series titles from 1998 to 2000.
The World Series is not the only futures market offering value. Here’s a look at the best bets in the 2023 MLB futures markets.
World Series Surprise – Philadelphia
The Phillies came within two games of capturing the World Series last year and Philly has made some key offseason moves that make them an interesting bet at +1500. The Astros, of course, are at the top of the board at +600 and four National League teams – the Dodgers, Mets, Braves, and Padres – are all ranked ahead of the Phillies.
Philadelphia loses Jean Segura, but makes up for it with the addition of Trea Turner, who arguably is one of the best shortstops in MLB. The Phillies have Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola in the No. 1 and No. 2 slots in their pitching rotation and they went out and landed Taijuan Walker to fill in at No. 3. The bullpen is strong with Craig Kimbrel and Gregory Soto.
Plenty of bettors will pass on Philly because they will be missing Bryce Harper for half the season. He’s recovering from Tommy John surgery. When he returns to the lineup, look out. The Phillies World Series odds will shorten through the season and after Harper returns.
Another Surprise – AL MVP
The 2023 MLB season will see a rule change that favors a particular AL shortstop. The new shift rules will have an impact on a number of hitters, but likely no greater impact than on Rangers SS Corey Seager.
Last year, Seager had his worst MLB season with a .245 batting average and a .772 OPS. His BABIP was just .242, which is far below his career average of .317. Seager lost more hits to defensive shifts than any other player in the majors.
Even in his worst season in MLB, Seager was still worth 4.0 WAR in 151 games last season. This year, that number will rise. That’s why you should shop around on Seager in the AL MVP market. You can find him anywhere between +2000 and +4000.
Acuna Is Back
Atlanta star Ronald Acuna Jr. of Atlanta has missed a large chunk of games in each of the past two seasons. It appears as though he is back and full strength and that is why Acuna is in the mix for the National League MVP.
You’ll find Acuna listed right around +1000 at most sportsbooks. Atlanta lost to Philadelphia in the NLDS last year in an attempt to get back to the World Series. That gave Acuna a little extra time off to recuperate.
Many experts predict Acuna to go for 30 homers and 30 stolen bases. If he does that, he’s got a great chance of winning the NL MVP.
Best Cy Young Bets
Cristian Javier should emerge from Justin Verlander’s shadow after he joined the Mets. In the second half of last season, Javier had a 1.79 ERA in 70.1 innings. His overall season ERA was 2.54, placing him among the top pitchers in baseball.
He’ll become the Astros’ go-to pitcher and Houston should win another AL West title and compete for another pennant and World Series. Javier is listed around +2000 at most sportsbooks. His teammate Framber Valdez, who is also listed between +1500 and +2000, is one of his competitors.
In the National League, there is a large pool of outstanding starting pitchers. Justin Verlander (+700) replaces Jacob deGrom with the Mets. Current NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara is the favorite (+500) is back in Miami, but there might be an outsider waiting to take the crown in 2023.
Arizona’s Zac Gallen finished sixth overall and fourth in the National League with a 2.54 ERA. Gallen’s ERA decreased to 1.61 over his final eight starts, and he concluded the season with a WHIP of 0.91, second-best in MLB. Gallen does play for a subpar Arizona team, which is a concern, but he did go 12-4 last season. Given +1400 odds, Gallen is a serious value pick for the NL Cy Young.
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