The Empire Slate: Aaron Judge’s Triple Crown Odds Worth Exploring

With Yanks slugger the prohibitive favorite to win MVP, a more attractive market emerges
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“The Empire Slate” is a weekly look at gambling-related news, betting angles, and trends involving New York sports.

Yankee Stadium becomes a focal point of the baseball world this weekend as Aaron Judge tries to hit two more home runs to set the American League single-season record.

For a breakdown of just when that might happen, as well as the details of a cool FanDuel promotion around it, take a gander at this piece on our sister site, Sports Handle. (Hint: Michael Wacha, the starting pitcher he’ll face Thursday night, has been stingy with long balls, but the next two opposing pitchers should give him real opportunities.)

But in some ways, the more interesting pursuit for Judge is his attempt to become the second hitter since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the Triple Crown (Miguel Cabrera did it in 2012), because it shows his season’s all-around greatness. As of Thursday morning, Judge’s .317 batting average was tied with Xander Bogaerts, his 128 RBIs outpaced José Ramírez by 13, and his 60 home runs — well, let’s just say he’s got that one in the bag.

Odds more attractive than on MVP

The Triple Crown might be a better argument for Judge over Shohei Ohtani for MVP than the home run total by itself.

While his team’s awful won-loss record is almost certain to doom Ohtani’s candidacy, he still deserves immense credit for the historic season he has put together. I spent 23 years as a Major League Baseball reporter and voted for MVP many times. This American League MVP race features the two most deserving contestants in the same year that I can remember. Maybe they should just give it to both players, as they did when Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell tied in 1979.

New York State Gaming Commission spokesman Brad Maione told NY Gambling Online that the commission would approve Triple Crown bets on Thursday. Several of the mobile sportsbooks that operate in New York have been offering lines on Judge to win the Triple Crown for a few days now in other states. At DraftKings, the yes is -120, while the no is even money. At BetMGM, yes is -115 and no is -105. Caesars Sportsbook has Judge at even money to pull it off, while skeptics will have to lay -130 that he won’t.

It’s a good way to get in on the action if the MVP odds – Judge now is around -10000 for AL MVP at most books – turn you off.

Giants’ good start sparks playoff line move

Last season, the New York Giants lost their first three games. The season before that, they started 0-5. In 2019, they lost their first two, as they did in 2018. In 2017, they once again lost their first five games.

You get the idea. The Giants often start the NFL season out slowly and they have often continued slowly beyond that, making this season’s beginning a notable exception. If they can beat the Cowboys at home Sunday – and they’re slight favorites – they would be off to their first 3-0 start since 2009, the year they began 5-0 before finishing 8-8 as Eli Manning dealt with plantar fasciitis.

At BetMGM, the Giants began the season at +225 to make the playoffs, a number that has shrunk to +150 after the 2-0 start.

Is that a good play? Well, according to the latest projections at FiveThirtyEight, the Giants stand a 46% chance of reaching the postseason. The +150 number implies that they have a 40% chance. So, yeah, there’s a little value edge there if you buy the projections. Then again, if you’ve watched the Giants in recent seasons, you might have a hard time wrapping your head around them playing beyond mid-January.

Jets’ improbable comeback costs books

When the Jets fell behind the Cleveland Browns 30-17 with two minutes left last Sunday, Caesars Sportsbook posted them at 60/1 in-game to stage the comeback. With 1:33 left, PointsBet offered them at 175/1 and, according to ESPN, got no takers.

Then Corey Davis caught a 66-yard touchdown pass and, after the Jets recovered the onside kick, they traveled 53 yards in 56 seconds to score the game winner. According to ESPN Stats and Information, teams that had been up by 13 points with less than two minutes left had won 2,229 consecutive games.

The Jets, like most New York teams, tend to be liabilities for the sportsbooks, several of which told ESPN that the Jets put a little dent in their balance sheets last weekend.

Can they replicate the magic this week, as veteran Joe Flacco gets at least one more start at quarterback before the expected return of Zach Wilson? The public doesn’t appear to be betting on it. The Jets started off as +5 against the Cincinnati Bengals and +4.5 at FanDuel, but the line has moved to +6 across the board as kickoff approaches.

Hudson Valley casino soon to open

Resorts World has signaled that its newest New York-area casino — Resorts World Hudson Valley, which sits on Route 300 in Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City — will open next month.

The casino will have 1,200 video lottery terminals, along with electronic table games and a sports bar with a 360-degree view of the gaming floor. Resorts World’s property in Queens is considered a frontrunner to land one of the three downstate licenses to operate a full-service casino.

Photo: Brad Penner/USA TODAY

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