While the sports world is focused on NCAA hoops, it is time to procure value in the baseball betting market. Baseball is still under the radar and off the minds of many sports fans and bettors, making this the perfect time to strike before any bad numbers get picked off and any value gets sucked out. So before you fill out your bracket, let’s write ourselves some checks we can cash this fall.
Pittsburgh Pirates Over 58.5 wins
What a glorious way to spend your summer. Sit down, relax and root for the Pirates to avoid a 103-loss season. Who needs the beach? Recently, it was announced that the Pirates would allow up to 7,500 fans at home games, which led to many punch lines regarding wishful thinking and being overly ambitious.
The Pirates are, admittedly, very bad at baseball. They’ve been bad for a number of years. But that incompetence is a) built into this line and b) starting to show some benefits. When you’re bad, you pick high in the draft, and when you’re bad for a while, you start to stockpile talent. Ke’Bryan Hayes got a taste of the big leagues last year and was impressive in his short stint. He did not accumulate the 130 plate appearances necessary to qualify for the Rookie of the Year Award, so he will be a popular pick to win it this season.
Perception is keeping the Pirates’ number way down. Yes, it should be low, but Pittsburgh has some exciting young talent and is in easily the weakest division in baseball. Besides the Cardinals stealing Nolan Arenado, the division did very little to add new talent, and many teams lost significant players. The top two Cy Young Award finishers exited the NL Central, and not too much came back through the entrance. No team has higher than an 85 win total, meaning plenty of wins are up for grabs. It’s not pretty, and it won’t be a joy to watch, but the Pirates will crawl past the finish line to cash this Over.
Miami Marlins Over 70.5 wins
Are you not entertained? The answer to that famous line is, no, you likely will not be entertained betting some of these teams I’m suggesting. But what is fun is cashing tickets, and I think the Marlins have enough young talent to get you to the window by playing the Over.
Much like the Pirates, the Marlins put together a string of losing seasons that yielded some impressive young players. Miami’s skid ended last season with a 31-29 regular-season record and a playoff sweep of the Cubs — a rousing success, considering the Marlins entered last season in contention for the No. 1 draft pick, according to the odds.
When you trade Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto and Marcell Ozuna, among others, you are likely to land some big-time talent in return. It appears the Marlins have done just that. Pitcher Sixto Sanchez is the betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year, and he headlines a rotation stacked with high-end arms. Starling Marte and Jesus Aguilar are veteran bats who give this young squad balance and big league experience.
The division is absolutely loaded top to bottom, with no really bad team among the bunch. It will not be easy, and I do not necessarily expect this young squad to survive the gauntlet of 162 games and play in October again, but the Marlins simply have too much pitching to ignore.