#WhenandWhere: Should Bettors Wait on MLB Futures Markets?
It’s mid-June and we still have no Major League Baseball. While there was some progress this week on a new deal, we still have no idea when the game will return and what it will look like when play resumes.
MLB Schedule 2020 – “Tell us when & where”
Players have been vocal in demanding they return to work while maintaining solidarity, including two of league’s biggest stars Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.
Owners have hesitated to return as they’ll lose a lot of money without fans at games. While understandable, the fiscal drawbacks should be severely outweighed by the civic and societal boost America needs that the pastime’s return would provide. There are tremendous pressures to get baseball started at some point this summer.
However, what should NJ sports bettors consider before making futures bets at NJ gambling websites?
Length of MLB 2020 Season
The biggest question facing negotiators is how many games will be played in the 2020 regular season. Currently, the number appears to be 60 or more.
Most of the major books have created minimum game thresholds to their player prop futures. While no one has over/unders for totals, the focus has shifted on who will lead baseball in certain stats, from home runs to saves.
For those considering these markets, pay attention to the parameters set out by the sites. There aren’t uniform guidelines being offered in NJ.
- DraftKings and PlaySugarHouse mandate a 60-game season to payout the bets.
- That threshold is 75 games on FanDuel and 81 on PointsBet.
- FOX Bet has no minimum length attached to their players’ futures markets.
Usually, if a condition tied to a bet isn’t made, the wagers are voided and handle returned to players. Given the massive drop in business from the loss of live sports (especially during the non-football months of the spring and summer), this puts the books in a tight spot.
A spokesperson for PointsBet Sportsbook has said the company will provide new prices if a season is announced for less than the original length they offered.
If the season goes shorter and the futures markets get re-priced, that could mean lower odds on favorites.
For instance, Mets slugger Pete Alonso is listed at +850 to +1100 across the boards to win the home run following his record-breaking rookie season.
With a shorter season, that price may come down significantly, along with other favorites like Mike Trout and Aaron Judge.
MLB Schedule 2020 & Rules
The MLB 2020 season will look drastically different. How many games will be played and how the schedules shake out, along with the playoff format, will inform how odds and prices on teams may change.
If the league maintains the six-division structure, that likely means no interleague play until the World Series. Teams will likely limit travel with more intradivisional games. There’s still a chance the two leagues are merged and 10-team divisions become the norm.
As of now, the major NJ sportsbooks are not putting out any divisional markets. Most of them weren’t terribly competitive when the prices dropped. Team win totals have been replaced by winning percentages, which of course will be affected by season length and schedule format.
The league’s most recent proposal includes a universal DH for this and next season. While some consider the removal of a pitcher from the batting order an abomination and limiting of strategy that makes National League games intriguing, it does lean towards keeping pitchers safe during a season that may include scheduled doubleheaders.
It also takes some pressure off new managers who may not know everyone so well to juggle replacements in their heads.
Along with a minimum batter rule for relievers, this should keep games from taking longer (which will certainly make bookmakers with closing times at their retail locations happier).
Without certainty on scheduling and how many times teams will play, this makes the futures market an even greater gamble.
- The proposal to switch Pittsburgh and Atlanta in the 10-team divisions obviously changes scenarios for their opponents.
- Also, given the extension of border closures with Canada, what will the Blue Jays do?
- A 16-team playoff with a best-of-three format for the first round could produce some upsets in the bracket.
Mid-price teams with strong pitchers atop their rotations (like most of the NL East) could get a boost with the new structure.
There’s a lot to go over before they yell “Play Ball!” this season.
Yes, it will likely happen. Yes, I will be sad I can’t go get Bull’s BBQ and an expensive beer and enjoy a day at Citizens Bank Park to watch my beloved Phillies.
Yes, it won’t feel the same. However, any shred of normalcy becomes elevated and magnified today.
This one will do us a lot of good. Just tell us, the fans and the bettors, when and where.