MLB teams to bet in shortened 2020 season
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Every bettor knows that this upcoming MLB season will be unlike any we've ever seen. But do you know how to exploit it? Some teams are perfectly suited for a 60-game sprint; others will suffer without a full season to get right.
Here are four teams we're buying ahead of the 2020 season:
It's hard not to be in on the Twins, who face arguably the easiest schedule in the majors with an elite lineup that should feast on subpar pitching in the Central division. If starters have a short leash this year - as many expect they might after a long layoff - Minnesota has the bullpen to withstand it.
Even so, the Twins are still a reasonable -130 to win the division and have a win total of 34.5, well short of their prorated record from last year. They also own 15-1 odds to win the World Series, the best value of any contender. If you're shopping in the premium tier, Minnesota is the team to buy.
No team was more profitable for bettors last year than the Athletics, who paid out $2,206 on $100 moneyline bets over 163 games, per Sports Database. It was a similar story in 2018, when Oakland rewarded bettors with a $3,518 haul over the same number of games. So why hop off the bandwagon now?
The good news is this roster is built for continued success, with three MVP-caliber bats and a stable of arms that should benefit from extra time off and shorter stints in 2020. Among mid-tier teams, the A's are the best value at 25-1 to win it all, and they're worth a shot to win the AL West (+230), too.
We've been singing the praises of the Diamondbacks all offseason, as they're easily the best value in the futures market. No team with longer than a 25-1 title price has the balance of Arizona, which is led by breakout star Ketel Marte and boasts a stable of steady arms - namely big-ticket free agent Madison Bumgarner and young gun Zac Gallen.
The D-Backs will be hard-pressed to win the division barring a Dodgers collapse, but if they can steal a wild-card spot, they're a stellar World Series value at 40-1 and a solid bet to win at least 32 games in 2020.
This may seem like the strangest fit - the Mariners haven't made the playoffs since 2001 and have been by far the most profitable team to bet against over the past decade. So why bet on them this year, with much of their top talent still in the minors?
It's all about upside over a short, chaotic stretch. In three of the last six seasons, Seattle would have been a playoff team through the first 60 games, winning the AL West twice in that span. If that happened this year, you'd cash on 90-1 odds with an outside chance at a 300-1 World Series payout. Crazier things have happened, right?
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.
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