MLB Season Preview 2018
With the imminent announcement of a Major League Baseball game being announced on British shores, it seems only right to preview the upcoming baseball season. Baseball is a sport that is hugely popular in America and has a decent following over here too, although, that has slowed down in recent years since it is no longer shown on one of the free to air channels. With a Yankees v Red Sox series headed to London I for one hope that the sport does grow here.
Anyway, onto the Betfair trading side of things. Baseball is a great sport to bet or trade on if you can get an edge as their are so many matches during a season, each team plays a bonkers 162 regular season games! Compare that to the NFL where teams play 17 games and that is nearly ten times the amount of matches. The negative side is that what tends to happen is 'team x' will beat 'team y' on the Tuesday, then 'team y' will beat 'team x' on the Wednesday. As the margins between the top teams are so fine there is a lot of back and forth in the mini series played during the weeks and it is difficult to predict the outcome on any given day.
The most important thing in MLB is the starting pitchers and these players will determine the odds more than anything else. A bit like a quarterback in the NFL the pitcher (the one who throws at the batters) has most of the control of the outcome of a game, out of all of the players. Each team tends to have five starting pitchers who rotate during the week and often they will not complete a whole match (9 innings) but rather pitch for 6-7 innings and be substituted out when they start to tire or for preservation.
These variables make it very difficult to predict a winner on a daily basis but the beauty of the World Series (baseball's Superbowl) is that it is a best of 7 series so the best team will usually come out on top and won't get hurt by one bad performance (unlike the Superbowl).
This offseason has been dominated by the huge signing of Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees from the Marlins. Stanton was the best player in the National League last year despite playing for one of the worst teams. The Yankees got very close to the World Series last year and will be strong again this year. At 7.6 they look a decent shout but those odds don't appeal too much in a wide open race.
The same can be said of defending champions Houston Astros favourites this year at 6.6, again they are rightly favourites but not at odds that interest me valuewise. Ditto with the LA Dodgers who will fancy going one better this year at 7.2 odds, again not odds that appeal.
One interesting stat I have pulled up is that 9 of the last 10 world series teams were different. So in the last 5 years 9 different teams have competed in the World Series meaning if you made the World Series last year you are very unlikely to do so again. I'm not entirely sure why this is, maybe mental fatigue, but it is an interesting stat nonetheless. Since the Yankees in 2000 no team has won the World Series back to back either, which again supports the stat above and shows why I am hesitant to back the Astros or Dodgers.
You can perhaps see where I am going with this now but I am going for two teams who have not been in the World Series recently.
The team I like from the National League at odds of 11.5 are the Washington Nationals. The reason is that they won their division at a canter last season and have a great winning record the past few seasons. A lot of their top players are heading towards free agency next season and as we see in the NFL players tend to 'up their game' during a contract year. This is probably their last chance for a while so the Nationals will really want this. With the talent in their line up they are aguably the best side on paper in the MLB, so it is now time for them to show this on the field.
The side I like from the American League at odds 15.0 are the Boston Red Sox. It is easy to forget with all the media attention surrounding the Yankees capture of Stanton that the Red Sox have won the American League East the last two seasons. J.D. Martinez is a huge upgrade at designated hitter and that signing has flown under the radar, as a result the Red Sox are appealing odds. Let's not forget that they have won it all five seasons ago and Fenway Park is an intimidating place to play in the play-offs.
Both these sides should make the play offs (esp Washington) and their odds are bound to come in if they do. There should be green available with these two picks and hopefully we can spike a winner!
Back Washington Nationals at 11.5 odds on Betfair
Back Boston Red Sox at 15.0 odds on Betfair