The 2021 MLB Opening Day is almost here, and with that,l et’s take a look at the MLB futures bets, and jump into some awards. Who will win the MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year? BetRivers.com is proud to provide a wide variety of MLB Futures bets, props, player and team markets. Longtime sports broadcaster David Tuchman is here to give his MLB futures bets, picks and predictions for the MLB regular season.
If you missed my detailed previews, they are listed below, I have my favorite OVER/UNDER win totals for the season there.
As for our picks:
The American League division winners: Yankees, White Sox (despite the Jimenez injury), and Angels, in a shocker in the West. The wild cards will be the Blue Jays and Twins.
In the National League, the Mets, Brewers, and Dodgers will win their divisions and the Padres and Braves will get the wild cards.
The World Series matchup looks to me to be the Yankees versus the Dodgers, and I’m picking the Dodgers to repeat as World Series Champions, beating the Yankees in SIX GAMES.
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2021 Season Preview: MLB Futures Bets
MLB FUTURES BETS: AL MVP AWARD (Click here for full odds)
The overwhelming favorite to win the AL MVP is Mike Trout. It’s not even close. From 2012, the year Trout won the Rookie of the Year, Trout has won the MVP 3 times, finished 2nd 4 times! And finished in the top 5 the other 2 years. Last year, he finished 5th, his lowest spot since 2017. And he still finished .281-17-46 and a .993 OPS. Trout is +225 on BetRivers.com and the next closest guy is +1200.
So, if Trout doesn’t win, who will? Last year’s winner, Jose Abreu is +2500, and he projects to be very much in the running again for a strong White Sox squad. The last guy to win back-to-back MVPs, in the AL, was Miguel Cabrera in 2012-2013. The Yankees boast several strong plays for MVP – assuming they can stay healthy, which is something the Yanks haven’t been able to manage. But, DJ LeMahieu is +3300 and should contend for a batting title, Aaron Judge is +1200, Gleyber Torres is +2500 and Giancarlo Stanton is +4000. Health notwithstanding, any one of them can contend. The Blue Jays have young Vlad Guerrero at +2500. (George Springer was an option, but his early-season injury will knock his chances back a bit.) Jose Ramirez is another guy in play, as the 3B for the Indians, and the big bat in that lineup. (+1200) Alex Bregman (+1200) is another option, but I don’t see an Astro winning the MVP this year. Finally, the Angels, in addition to Trout, have intriguing plays with Anthony Rendon (+1500) and Shohei Ohtani (+2000)
So what to do? Well, I’d break it down like this:
- Likely Pick: Mike Trout, OF (LAA) +225 – Mike Trout has already won three MVPs and he’s the favorite to win again.
- Best Non-Trout Picks: Aaron Judge, OF (NYY) – +1200, Jose Abreu, 1B (CWS) – +2500, Jose Ramirez, 3B (CLE) – +1200
- Most Fun Play: Shohei Ohtani, SP/OF (LAA) – +2000. A note here: As a two-way player, his odds of getting hurt are higher, but if he can stay healthy and if he hits .285-25-75 and wins 10-12 games, he could win the MVP – especially if our Angels win the west prediction comes true.
- Best Odds: Giancarlo Stanton, OF (NYY) – +4000. In 2017, Stanton won the NL MVP by going .281-59-132. In 2018, he followed it up going .266-38-100. He was hurt in 2019 and 2020. If…HUGE if…he stays healthy, there’s no reason he can’t hit 50 HR and drive in 125-130 runs. If he does that and the Yankees win the division, he will be in the MVP conversation and at +4000, yummy.
MLB FUTURES BETS: NL MVP AWARD (Click here for full odds)
Unlike the American League, there’s really no clear-cut favorite in the NL, and the race is wide open. In fact, odds notwithstanding, I’d say Juan Soto, Mookie Betts, Ronald Acuna, Fernando Tatis, and Freddie Freeman all have a more or less equal chance to win it. Freeman won it last year, hitting .341-13-53, and he really doesn’t project to drop off much, if at all. Meanwhile, Ronald Acuna, Freeman’s teammate, hit .280-41-101-37 SB in 2019. (the odds run from +750 to +1200 on BetRivers.com for all of these guys)
Mookie Betts is an all-world talent for the world-beating Dodgers, and he and SS Corey Seager combined for 31 HR, .300 BA, and 80 RBI over 50 games in 2020. Betts and Seager and Freeman and Acuna could steal MVP votes from each other, in theory. Juan Soto, the best hitter on the Nationals, hit .351-13-37 in 2020, but lost the MVP to Freeman – the Braves won the division and the Nationals did not. The Nationals don’t figure to win the division this year either, so if the numbers are close, that will cost Soto.
Fernando Tatis, the Padres SS now gets to go out and prove he’s worth 340 million and he could easily win the MVP. In his first 143 games for his young career, he’s hit .301-39-98-27 SB and he’s on 21. The Padres will be good and they’re built around him. I also expect Christian Yelich to rebound in a big way for the Brewers, and his numbers in 2018-2019 are otherworldly – .328-80-207-52 SB combined. If Yelich rebounds and the Brewers win the Central…
Other notable dark horse MVP options include Nolan Arenado with the Cardinals, Cody Bellinger 1B/OF Dodgers, Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto – Mets; Bryce Harper with the Phillies, Trevor Story with the Rockies, and Manny Machado with the Padres.
- Mookie Betts, OF (LAD) c Betts is playing CF for the probable Champion LA Dodgers and he’s in his first full season in LA, likely playing before LA fans for the first time. I expect him to put up some big numbers – 30/30 and if he does that, he’ll be in the conversation. He’s not my pick, but he’s the odds-on favorite in a crowded field. At the end of the day, the Dodgers are so good and so loaded, I think the voters won’t look at any one player on this team as being the “Most Valuable”
- Best of the Rest: Freddie Freeman, 1B (ATL) – +1200 is great odds for the reigning MVP. Ronald Acuna, OF (ATL) – +800. Juan Soto, OF (WAS) – +750. Christian Yellich, OF (MIL) –+1200. Fernando Tatis, SS (SD) – +850
- Most Fun Play: There really isn’t one in the NL, since the talent is so top-heavy, and the field so wide open at the top, but since I’m picking the Mets to win the NL East, it’s worth mentioning that Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso all could contend for the MVP. Lindor is +1200, but what intrigues us is Pete Alonso at +3300 and Michael Conforto at +4000. Neither of these two are likely to win the MVP,(hence the long odds). If the Mets win, and one of these players have a career year…
- Long Shot No. 1: Trea Turner, SS (WAS) +6000 – Turner finished 7th in 2020 so if the Nationals out-perform our expectations.
- Long Shot No 2: Nick Castellanos, OF (CIN) +10000 – In the very unlikely event that Cincinnati plays well and makes the playoffs, this is a bit of a crazy long shot, but that’s what +10000 gets you. Of all the longshots in the NL Castellanos is the most intriguing, especially if the Reds somehow win the Central. His best composite numbers across his career are .298-27-101, with 10 3B, and an .863 OPS and a 2.9 WAR.In a hitters ballpark like Cincy, at age 29, it’s not crazy to think he could put it all together, hit .300-35-110 and contend for the MVP.
- OUR PICK: Fernando Tatis, SS (SD) – The balls are deadened this year which could affect Betts overall power numbers. Plus, LA is a pitchers’ park, not hitters’ park. And Tatis has been such a fun story, he’s a great kid to watch, and all eyes will be on him after that contract, despite playing in San Diego. I think he blows up this year, hits around .330 and goes 30/30 with 100+ RBI. The perception will be that he’s “more valuable” on a team like the Padres than any one player on a team as stacked as the Dodgers.
For the record, I am also betting on Yelich as we believe the Brewers will win the NL central.
MLB FUTURES BETS: AL CY YOUNG AWARD (Click here for full odds)
- OUR PICK: I won’t waste your time. It’s Gerrit Cole. At +350, we love this bet.
MLB FUTURES BETS: NL CY YOUNG AWARD (Click here for full odds)
Three bets intrigue us:
- Jacob DeGrom (NYM) – At +450 – you can’t ever go wrong with DeGrom. He’s so good and should get the run support this season to put together a lot of wins.
- Walker Buehler (LAD) – If the Dodgers do get an individual award, I think it’ll be this although his own teammates might steal a few of his votes.
- Brandon Woodruff (MIL) – Our dark horse for Cy Young. He’s 28 years old. In 2018, he went 3-0, between SP and bullpen, with a 3.61 ERA, and 47 K in 42 IP. In 2019, his first as the Brewers “ace”, He went 11-3, with a 3.62 ERA, 143 K in 121 IP, 1.14 WHIP, 123 ERA+ and 3.01 FIP. In 2020, he only went 3-5 over 13 starts, but his secondary numbers were fantastic: 3.05 ERA, 91 K in 73 IP, 150 ERA+, 3.20 FIP and 0.99 WHIP. If the Brewers win the central, it could be because of Woodruff.
MLB FUTURES BETS: AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (Click here for full odds)
Rookie of the Year, generally speaking, is a tough call to make. Some rookies don’t get a proper chance due to being held back for service time. Rookies can emerge in the second half of the season out of nowhere. Star rookies can slump and end up being sent down – only to bounce back in their sophomore year. Having said that, and rather than giving you a laundry list of rookies, I’m going to give you my Top 3 ROY candidates as of right now:
- Randy Arozarena, OF (TB) – It’s weird to think last season’s playoff hero is still a rookie, but yeah, he is. Arozarena took the AL by storm at the end of the season and blew up in the playoffs, but his regular-season numbers – .281, 7 HR, 4 SB – occurred in only 64 AB. So, yeah, he’s still a rookie and at +350 on betrivers.com he’s the odds-on favorite. I’m not so sure. He also struck out 22 times in those 64 AB – or 1/3 of the time. And the Rays are ruthless with their platooning of players, so he could sit at times vs. some righties.
- Tarik Skubal, SP (DET) – I know. Who?? Skubal is a 24-year-old top prospect for the Detroit Tigers. He throws in the upper 90’s. This spring he’s struck out 15 in 12 IP to the tune of a 1.50 ERA. He came up for a cup of coffee in 2020 and did not pitch well. In 2005 the Tigers had a top rookie pitcher come up for a cup of coffee and pitch terribly. In 2006 that guy went 17-9 and won the ROY. His name? Justin Verlander. Will history repeat? Well, Skubal is +5000 to win the ROY and he’s been named to the Tigers 2021 starting rotation. Seems worth a play to me.
- OUR PICK: Andrew Vaughn, DH (CWS) – +1250. The Sox lost Eloy Jimenez for practically the season with a pectoral injury. Vaughn is something of an anomaly, as he’s never played above A-ball, thanks to the minor leagues being canceled in 2020. And he’s only 23. But this kid can flat out rake. For what it’s worth, in his NCAA career, in 160 games, he hit .374-50-163, .688 Slg., and 1.183 OPS. Now NCAA good does not mean MLB good. Not remotely. But it’s tantalizing to think about. He’s in a great spot in Chicago and I think he surprises the experts and wins the award.
MLB FUTURES BETS: NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (Click here for full odds)
- Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B (PIT) – Hayes is the odds on favorite at +350, with good reason. He’s already the best hitter on the Pirates and in 15 games last year, he hit .413 with a 1.145 OPS. He should be a great bet to hit .285, with 25 HR, 80 RBI, a handful of SB, and overall impressive secondary numbers. Win or lose the ROY, he will have a great season and should be in the running for the award all season long.
- Dylan Carlson, CF (STL) – Carlson is the Cardinals’ top prospect and he will open camp as their starting CF. He’s +700, and he brings “plus” level speed, contact and power. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him hit .280-20-75-15 SB line. Will it be enough to oust Hayes? Probably not, but he will be in contention for the award all season and gives better odds than Hayes.
- OUR PICK: Ian Anderson, SP (ATL) – Anderson is +750 and he is a strong candidate to top Hayes. He flashed some phenomenal stuff in 2020 over just 6 starts, going 3-2, with a 1.95 ERA and 41 K over 32 IP. He could step in and take over the role of staff ace from Max Fried this season. I’m looking at Anderson to win 13 games with an ERA under 3.50 and at least a K per inning. He is my pick of the 3 to win the NL ROY at +750.
- Trevor Rogers is not listed on Betrivers.com but maybe he gets added late. Who is Trevor Rogers? He’s a former first-round pick for the Marlins, who, at the age of 23, is absolutely lighting up spring training. And I do mean lighting it up. He struck out 10 Houston Astros (mostly their regular players) in 5 innings on March 27. For the spring, he has 29 K, the most of any pitcher in the Majors for this spring. Rogers plays second fiddle to another stud rookie SP in Miami – Sixto Sanchez, who is +500 to win the ROY. But Sanchez will be on a pitch count to protect his prized arm. Rogers will not. This could all be fools gold, but if Betrivers.com lists him and the odds are long (they will be) I’m throwing a few bucks on him.
If you’re lazy and don’t feel like reading the MLB previews, I’ll give you the Cliff notes version of our favorite bets.
TUCK’S TAKE: Brewers OVER, Cardinals UNDER, Dodgers OVER, Twins UNDER, Tigers UNDER, Angels OVER, and the Rangers UNDER
I’ll be posting my baseball picks each and every week. Follow me @Tuckonsports for all my picks.