It’s been just over two months since the Houston Astros won the first World Series title in franchise history…which means it’s time to start thinking about your sports betting for the 2018 MLB season. The Astros certainly seem loaded enough to contend again, although the team they beat in seven games, the Los Angeles Dodgers, also have a case to make the Fall Classic again. The baseball season is a marathon of 162 games, though, and all sorts of things can happen as the summer wears on. What can we look forward to on the wagering front in the national pastime? Here are some of our MLB betting predictions.
Early 2018 MLB Betting Predictions
It’s January, but the free agent market is still stacked with talent.
— MLB (@MLB) January 3, 2018
The New York Yankees will win the American League East
You have Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez in the same lineup. You can see that leading to 130 home runs, couldn’t you? Well, it might, but it might not. Stanton is an established hitter, but remember that slump that stopped Aaron Judge for a while in the middle of 2017? Pitchers will have even more film on him this year, so his electric pace might slow a little bit. That’s OK, though, because there’s no one else in the East who can match that lineup.
Mike Trout will hoist the MVP trophy in the American League
Will the Angels win the AL West? I doubt it. Houston remains loaded, and the Texas Rangers added Matt Moore to the back of their rotation and remain in play for Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. Then there’s Seattle — don’t they have to live up to their payroll at some point? Adding Shohei Otani will boost the Angels in the standings, though, which will give Trout more visibility. He’s already the game’s greatest outfielder, and having the Angels closer to contention will give him even more credibility with voters.
The Philadelphia Phillies will be your sleeper pick in the National League
At some point, the Washington Nationals have to implode and have an off season, don’t they? They keep winning the division and then folding in the first round, most recently when Max Scherzer came out of the bullpen, seemingly with Game Five in his grasp against the Chicago Cubs, only to see the Cubs bat around against him in the inning and walk out of Nationals Park with the NLDS crown last year. The Phillies signed Carlos Santana to add a power bat to the lineup, along with some veteran leadership, and I expect them to add one more arm to their starting rotation — and they have money to spend. They have a young lineup with a lot of talent and with some experience in The Show. Could they hang around and contend for a wild card? Absolutely.
Bryce Harper will win the 2018 MVP award in the National League
He’s not the reason why the Nationals keep folding in the postseason. He delivers with his bat and with his glove, time and time again. The Nationals might not win the East (although it would take a monumental challenge by someone else in the East — can you see the Mets or Braves doing it?) but Harper will drive the bus for this team on offense, pushing them into contention. But then I also see him signing a big contract to play somewhere else after 2018. The tensions in that locker room have to be wearing on a lot of the big names in the nation’s capital.
Keep an eye on Ronald Acuna and Andrew McCutchen
Ronald Acuna is a rookie outfielder with the Atlanta Braves. Follow his progress in spring training and then in the early part of the season. He has a terrific arm, great range and also has some pop in his bat. Andrew McCutchen wrestled his position in the Pittsburgh outfield back this season, but I see him departing before the trade deadline — and making big contributions in the playoffs while the Pirates sit at home and wonder what might have been.