With Major League Baseball approaching the on-deck circle, it's time to look at the most attractive proposition wagers. Yesterday, we examined the Most Stolen Bases prop. Today, we're looking at which players are favourites to have the most home runs in the (abbreviated) 60-game regular season.
Note that odds are taken from SPREADS.CA, and are current as of July 15th.
In a typical season, 50 home runs might be enough to win the title. However, the shortened season means 20-25 home runs is a more likely target. Given that the player who hits the most home runs would be required to blast one over the wall at least once every three games (on average, 1 in every 12 at bats), this probably means a more randomized final outcome.
Any long-ball hitter can conceivably get hot and be a contender. However, let's also note the quality of pitching should be better than average. This is because ace starters will get more innings since the season is shorter. Injuries should be less of a factor. And late-season fatigue shouldn't be an issue. So, pitchers might enjoy some advantages overall which could keep home run totals down from typical seasons.
Pete Alonso – New York Mets (+1000)
The well-deserving odds-on favourite is Pete Alonso. The NY Mets first baseman made his debut in the majors during the 2019 season and blasted 53 homers. He became the first Mets player in history to hit more than 50 home runs in a season. Alonso also set the record for most home runs by a rookie in a season, eclipsing crosstown rival Aaron Judge who had hit 52 homers his rookie season. Alonso is young, powerful, and plays for a team that should score runs and be in contention – a perfect formula for lots of excitement.
Aaron Judge – New York Yankees (+1100)
Credit Aaron Judge for being one of baseball's biggest superstars, but he has no business being priced this high. In fact, the Yankee slugger deserves to be ranked way down the pack. Yes, Judge is big and powerful and looks like an NFL linebacker, and he grabs the spotlight playing in New York. But he's also been prone to injury and entered the 2020 season with nagging neck problems. This neck issue still appears to be bothering Judge in mid-July, since he's not at full speed according to the latest reports. Judge probably would be justified at 11-1 if he was 100 percent entering a full season. But he should be listed at least double this payout given his health problems and the randomization of the shorter season. This is a terrible prop value.
Eloy Jimenez – Chicago White Six (+2900)
Left fielder Jimenez hit 31 dingers last season, and finished fourth in rookie of the year balloting. But it was the way he closed the year, in September, which makes him an attractive longshot (9 homers in final 24 games). Jimenez had his best month late in the season, indicative of steady improvement. Playing on a better Chisox team this year, Jimenez could be in the home run derby hunt and looks like an attractive value at 29-1.
Jorge Soler – Kansas City Royals (+2700)
This price makes no sense. Soler should be among the betting favourites, but inexplicably is getting little respect at 27-1. Soler quietly ranked second in homers in the American League in 2019, blasting 48 pitches over the fence. He also lead the league in strikeouts, which tells us he's aiming for the fences. Soler's numbers from last season, added with a shorter season, makes him very live as a prospect to get hot for a month or so, and return excellent value to bettors who wager on this dark horse.
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