Major League Baseball will finally get the 2020 regular season underway on July 23. Teams will play a modified 60-game schedule prior to the traditional postseason. With teams now engaged in spring training 2.0, it’s time to take a look at the 2020 MLB specials betting board.
Will We Have a .400 Hitter?
Ted Williams did it in 1941 and it hasn’t been done since. The likelihood of a perfect game is higher than a batter hitting .400 in a normal season.
But, 2020 is no normal season.
There is a 0.0012 percent chance of a .400 hitter in a regular 162-game season. That number moves up to 3 percent in a 60-game season.
The board shows the “No” as the overwhelming favorite at -1200, but the “Yes” bet at +800 is sure enticing. Keep in mind that 12 seasons ago, Chipper Jones hit .409 through Atlanta’s first 60 games.
Houston star and former AL MVP Jose Altuve has hit over .400 in a 60-game span twice - once in 2016 and again in 2017. Last year’s NL MVP Cody Bellinger batted over .400 through the first 49 games of the 2019 season.
Can it be done? It’s a longshot, but with that risk comes great reward when looking at MLB odds.
Home Run Derby
Everybody loves home runs. It might be the most exciting moment in a baseball game. With only 60 games this year, fans probably won’t see the big numbers of dingers. Last season, 10 players hit 41 homers or more.
In 60 games, the current special on home runs favors the league leader hitting over 19.5 at -160. Under 19.5 is priced at +130. Even though it’s minus-money, the Over makes a ton of sense here.
There is a reason why some pitchers report to spring training weeks ahead of position players. They need much more time to get themselves prepared for a season. In 2020, hitters are going to be farther along than pitchers.
The Mets’ Pete Alonso, who led MLB with 53 homers last year, hit 11 in September alone last year. With the number of quality long-ball hitters in the majors, it’s safe to say someone hits at least 20.
When betting on the 2020 MLB pitcher win leaders for this season, bettors have to start with a simple lesson in pitching rotations. With 60 games and a five-man rotation, a starting pitcher in 2020 should get 12 starts.
The Total has been set at 8.5. The Under is favored at -130 with the Over priced at a mere +100. There is a reason why the Under is the favorite pick.
The major league pitcher with the highest winning percentage in his career is Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. He has won .6955 of his career games. Only two players in MLB history have higher winning percentages. One played in the 1930s and ‘40s and the other died before World War I was over.
Editor’s Choice: The Los Angeles Dodgers are Jinxed
Taking Kershaw’s average and multiplying it by 12, we get 8.3. Could a pitcher get hot and win nine of 12 starts? Sure. Is it likely? No.
In 1967, Ken Holtzman pitched what amounted to a 60-game season for the Cubs. He started 12 games. Holtzman went 9-0 that year. He’s a rarity.
In the saves category, the Total is set at 17.5. With the Over priced at +100, it’s a bet worth the risk. Remember, pitchers will be much farther behind hitters this season. Teams will carry more pitchers on their rosters this year too.
With complete games rare anymore - there were just 43 all of last season - bringing in the closer could be even more common in 2020. Kirby Yates had 41 saves for San Diego last season and the Padres only had 70 wins.
Closers will get the opportunities in 2020 and given enough chances there is at least one out there than can hit 18 saves in 2020.