The beauty of putting down a baseball futures bet on the eve of Opening Day is it provides six months of action.
The beauty of putting one down in April was that it marked the first time it was possible to do so online legally in the state of New York. The timing of the Jan. 8 launch was fortuitous, with both New York baseball teams gearing up for serious runs at the World Series based on their winter transactions.
Here at New York Online Gambling, we got caught up in the promise of spring, recommending the over on both the Mets’ and Yankees’ win totals. We also chimed in with a couple of player prop bets we thought looked enticing.
In the interest of accountability, let’s take a look at how those leans are trending with about five weeks left in the Major League Baseball season. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll assume 10% vigorish on win-total bets of $20 each:
Mets over 89.5 (at PointsBet)
We retroactively chose the highest preseason win total of the nine legal sportsbooks in New York just to flex a little.
Back in April, we signaled a lean toward the over. The story line at the time was the right scapula injury to ace Jacob deGrom. We wrote about the Mets’ 2021 collapse after deGrom was injured, noting the team “cratered after deGrom made his final start of the season on July 7, going 31-47 the rest of the way. Of course, they didn’t have Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, or Starling Marte last season either. Presuming they’re in contention in late July, new owner Steve Cohen almost certainly will be willing to spend freely to add help just as deGrom, presumably, is hitting his stride.”
Heck, the Mets could pass 90 wins by late next week. While they didn’t go crazy at the trade deadline, they did add a little thump with Daniel Vogelbach, who has an .855 OPS as a Met, and their rotation held firm even with deGrom missing the first four months of the season.
Pace: 102 wins
Yankees over 92.5 (at FanDuel)
Once again, we’ve picked the highest win total of the nine operators since FanDuel’s proved the most apt.
In April, we wrote the Yankees had a “clear path” to more than 92 wins, noting: “Yes, the Blue Jays are exceptionally talented, but the rest of the division potentially isn’t as strong as it normally is, with the Red Sox stuck on mediocre and the Rays showing signs of stepping back a bit, especially after they traded Austin Meadows to the Tigers on Monday. It’s not at all difficult to imagine New York winning more than 91 games, perhaps appreciably more.”
While the Yankees have had a miserable time since around Aug. 1, they’re still sitting pretty relative to this number.
Player props (odds via DraftKings)
Aaron Judge over 36.5 home runs
We wrote, “If he stays mostly healthy, Judge should sail past this number like one of his moon shots arcing over the left-field bleachers. In the only two seasons of his career in which he has played more than 115 games, he has comfortably cleared the total, mashing 52 home runs in 2017 and 39 last season. Clearly, he has had more than his share of injuries to contend with, but he’s 29 and coming off a healthy season, so why fret it? Pitchers are going to have to pick their poison in this lineup and Judge will get his opportunities.”
Judge hit his 37th home run on July 24 at Camden Yards off Orioles pitcher Dean Kremer. This was the easiest preseason bet on the docket.
Chris Bassitt strikeouts (under 170.5)
We wrote, “The sportsbooks might have gotten a little too carried away here. Bassitt, 33, has only twice made 27 starts in a season, and his career high for strikeouts is 159. His four-seam fastball averages 92.3 mph, which is pedestrian by today’s standards, and he relies more on soft contact than swings and misses. His whiff rate was in the 32nd percentile in 2021. Consider hammering the under here.”
In his first 24 starts with the Mets, Bassitt has 139 strikeouts over 148 ⅓ innings.
What’s interesting here is that Bassitt has never pitched as many as 160 innings, so the Mets might look to control his workload in the final five weeks, depending on the standings. If that’s the case, this one could come down to the wire. Do not tear up your under ticket just yet, but for the purposes of this exercise, we’ll call this one a loss.