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We've never seen a season quite like this one, but that doesn't mean we'll be betting blind. Here are a few of our favorite props, using data from recent seasons to find value in a 60-game sample:
Twenty home runs in a 60-game slate are the equivalent of 54 homers over 162 contests; only two players have hit more than 54 in a campaign since 2003. Even with a juiced ball, Pete Alonso topped out at 53 bombs a year ago, while just one player in the last four seasons hit more than 20 through the first 60 games. It's not a fun bet to make, but under is the right play here.
Saves were down in 2019, but Kirby Yates still closed out 22 games through the season's first 60 contests, the fifth straight year that someone has converted at least 19 saves at the 60-game mark. Projecting 17.5 saves through 162 contests would be roughly 47 saves, which at least one player has accomplished in 19 of the last 20 seasons. This should be an easy over.
Triples are about as unpredictable a hitting stat as there is, but through the first 60 games, they've been surprisingly consistent. Since 2002 (the earliest available split-season data at Fangraphs), at least one player has managed five triples at the 60-game mark in every single season, including Adalberto Mondesi's eight triples in 2019. This over is easily the best bet on the board.
Stealing bases may be a dying art form in baseball, but that doesn't mean you should blindly bet the under. Only once since 2002 has a player failed to swipe at least 20 bags by the 60-game mark, and Cody Bellinger stole 21 bases by that point a year ago. If bats are rusty after a long layoff, expect managers to lean into small ball to manufacture some extra runs.
|Will any player hit .400?||Odds|
We dove into this prop in full detail last week, and since then, the "yes" price has tightened even more. That's great news for bettors, since "no" is far and away the better bet to make. Only one player in the available data set (since '02) has hit .400 through 60 games, so if you're willing to risk a lot for a little, there are few bets as safe as this one.
It's been almost 20 years since a team won at least 113 games in a campaign, which is what 42 wins this year would amount to. So expecting any team to break that spell in such a disjointed season is a tough sell. Yes, randomness could mean greater extremes, but it also means more of a level playing field - taking away some of the luster from the juggernaut Yankees and Dodgers. Lay the shorter price on the under and enjoy the chaos of 2020.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.