Welcome to SharpSide’s featured MLB odds and predictions page, which is a guide to betting MLB futures and props. We not only think MLB futures and props provide great entertainment value, but we also think they are bets where you, the bettor, can find an edge – that is, if you know how and where to look. Being a profitable MLB futures and prop bettor is a process, and we’re here to help equip you with the information and tools you need.
First, we’ll break down exactly what MLB futures and prop bets are, and how they’re different from typical against-the-spread (ATS) and over/under (O/U) bets. Then, we’ll show you where to bet on futures and props. We’ll also get into some discussion of MLB odds and predictions for the coming year. Finally, we’ll explain to you why there’s an edge in MLB futures and prop betting markets, and how you can take advantage of them.
Let’s jump right into our guide to betting MLB futures and props.
What Is an MLB Futures Bet?
|What is an MLB futures bet?||A bet that is placed on future results of an MLB season. More specifically, it’s a bet placed on events that will not be determined until the end of the season or the postseason.|
An MLB futures bet is a bet that is placed on future results of the MLB season. More specifically, it’s a bet placed on events that will not be determined until the end of the season or the postseason.
For instance, you might want to bet on a team to win the World Series. Oddsmakers provide a menu of teams to choose from with odds varying from team to team. The odds are subject to change as the season progresses. But to be clear, your bet is locked in at the price set at the time that you place your bet(s) – unlike bets you make at a horse racetrack, for example.
Say you bet $100 on the New York Yankees at +600 (6-to-1) before the season starts. Two months into the season the Yankees have gotten off to a slow start while suffering major unforeseen injuries. Oddsmakers may drop the Yankees’ odds to +1200. If your bet hits come the fall, it still only pays out $700 ($600 profit plus the $100 you risked) while any new bets placed after the odds have changed now pay out 12-to-1.
MLB futures bets don’t just include World Series winners. There are a variety of ways to dabble in the MLB futures market, including betting on American League (AL) and National League (NL) champions, pennant (division) winners, and even end-of-season player awards, such as the MVP winner, Cy Young winners, home run leaders, and more.
Looking to find some MLB futures bets with value? Check out our 2019 AL/NL MVP and Cy Young odds and picks article!
Be sure to watch out for our preseason, mid-season, and just-before-postseason World Series odds and predictions rundowns to get the full picture on the World Series market.
What Is an MLB Prop Bet?
|What is an MLB prop bet?||Short for “proposition” an MLB prop bet is a bet that is placed on something – usually a player’s statistic – that is not determined by the final outcome of a game.|
Short for “proposition,” an MLB prop bet is a bet that is placed on something – usually a player’s statistic – that is not determined by the final outcome of a game.
Just a few examples of the many MLB prop bets that will be available to you for any particular game throughout the season include:
- Over/under X number of hits for Player Y
- Over/under X number of strikeouts for Pitcher Y
- Over/under X number of RBIs for Player Y
- Over/under X number of total hits, runs, and RBIs for Player Y
Options like these give bettors rooting interest in the game without having to a pick a team side. This can be beneficial if you feel like you have a particular insight on a team or player, or have a good sense for a matchup against the opposing team’s starting pitcher. A typical price on an MLB prop bet – let’s say O/U 1.5 hits plus runs plus RBIs – might be -115 (risk 115 to win 100).
Above are examples of MLB prop bets you can make on events within a game. As sort of a hybrid between futures and props, you can also bet on similar statistics, but instead of within the game, you can bet on a major statistic within the whole season (or even within a particular playoff series once the postseason starts). Examples include:
- Over/under the number of total wins for a specific team
- Over/under the number of total wins or saves for a specific pitcher
- Over/under the number of total hits/RBIs/or home runs for a specific player
Here, the MLB prop bet is placed on a statistic accumulated across all regular-season games that a player competes in, or a team in the case of win totals. You might have a position on a particular player’s potential usage and spot a market inefficiency (odds that do not accurately reflect reasonable projections), or maybe you expect the player’s at-bats to drop off in a platoon situation. If you’re a hardcore Baltimore Orioles fan and have a real good sense of what the lineup and at-bat situations may look like, you may be in a good spot to identify an MLB prop betting opportunity.
By making an MLB prop bet, you can put your money down early and have rooting interest throughout most, if not all, of the 162-game baseball season. You might not have had time to do research to make a bet on a specific game on a given day, but since you bet O/U on the win totals or on one of the other hybrid options mentioned above, you still have rooting interest in the game despite placing a bet days, weeks, or even months beforehand. This is one of the best ways to get long-term entertainment value while wagering.
Here are links to our preseason 2019 MLB over/under win total rundowns, by division:
How To Bet MLB Futures and Props
Up until recently, you could only place MLB futures and prop bets legally in Nevada, but that all changed in 2018. On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court overturned the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, more commonly referred to as PASPA, in a 6-3 ruling in favor of New Jersey.
Since the high court struck the federal ban on full-fledged sports wagering outside Nevada, seven states, including New Jersey, Mississippi, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C., have legalized sports betting. New Jersey’s first legal sportsbook opened in mid-June 2018. By the end of the year, in New Jersey alone, 10 brick-and-mortar and 11 online sportsbooks took a combined $1.25 billion in wagers.
If you’re looking to make an MLB futures or prop bet but it’s not yet legal in your state, hopefully it will be sooner than later. Many other states will vote on sports betting legislation later this year. We know how fun these bets can be, so we’ll make sure to update you here at SharpSide and at RotoGrinders Sports Betting with the best options available to you as legalized sports betting options expand in the U.S.
The Advantage of Betting on MLB Futures and Props
We’ve mentioned the entertainment value of MLB futures and prop bets, but that’s not the only reason to place these bets. More importantly, there’s money to be made in the MLB futures and prop markets. With so many casual bettors gravitating toward the favorites and overs in these markets, you can take advantage of big MLB odds by betting on teams and players who you believe have high upside, but that public perception has yet to catch on to. Or, by “fading” the public’s opinion.
In fact, buying low on MLB odds is one of the keys to betting futures and props. Many people ask, “When is the best time is to place an MLB futures bet?” Is it in the preseason, right before opening day, or before/after the trade deadline? For each bet, there’s a different answer. But you always want to try to buy low on MLB odds, being the first person to the punch, so to speak.
That doesn’t mean to just bet on anything other people aren’t betting on – there are some crucial factors in making these type of MLB bets that can’t be ignored. When it comes to an MVP winner, you should probably avoid anyone you don’t think is capable of hitting 25 or more home runs. Likewise, you need a player that can get a WAR (wins above replacement) of 7 or 8. Since 2006, no MVP winner has had less than a 7 WAR. This is exactly the kind of stuff we at SharpSide plan to help you with from now until October. Additionally, we’ll break down and make MLB predictions for some of the biggest events in baseball, such as the trade deadline, and show you how to use an odds calculator to turn futures market prices to implied probabilities.
More MLB Odds, Predictions, Futures and Props Betting Links and Resources
To be a profitable MLB futures and prop bettor, you need to use all information at your disposal. We’ll continue to update this pages with links, news, and tools to help you be on the sharp side of MLB odds long term, but be sure to sign up at FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, and PointsBet so you have more futures and prop market prices available to choose from. By using more sportsbooks, you can help minimize the over-round that sportsbooks use to make their profits.
Remember to check back here for upcoming preseason World Series odds rundowns and more!