MLB Betting Season’s First Pitch Is Approaching And NJ Online Sportsbooks Are Ready

Written By Dave Bontempo on March 31, 2021 - Last Updated on December 12, 2023
MLB 2021 opening day

We are now hours away from the first pitch of the 2021 MLB betting season.

Given the magic of NJ sports betting app, Garden State bettorrs can make a selection in seconds.

The most important deadline bet for Phillies backers is their season win total over-under prop of 80.5 wins at DraftKings Sportsbook and 82.5 at William Hill.

They have more time to consider the team’s other top odds value at major sportsbooks:

  • +4000 to win the World Series at DraftKings
  • +875 to capture the National League East at DraftKings
  • +950 with an odds boost at William Hill

Garden State gamblers also wager heavily around the league.

Toward that end, DraftKings and William Hill reported some interesting betting-research numbers. Here’s a closer look at some of the data heading into opening day.

DraftKings took significant action on the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series. Their study also suggests that the Phillies, projected in the 80–82-win range, are where they belong.

William Hill wrote surprisingly large American League MVP business on the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani and an expected high volume for Millville’s Mike Trout, a league superstar.

DraftKings analyst weighs on National League East

Steve Buchanan, the lead MLB analyst for DraftKings, told Play NJ that the National League East has three solid teams in the Mets, Atlanta Braves, and the Washington Nationals.

“So if the Phillies number went up any more, I would be leaning on the under [season win total] with them,”  said. Buchanan. “All these teams can’t be over .500. There is a substantial buzz about the Mets making very important off-season moves like getting Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco.

“I think they are going over 90.5.”

Around the league, Buchanan believes the Seattle Mariners could become a pleasant surprise. They have several young players, including reigning rookie-of-the-year Kyle Lewis, who is a little banged up.

“I don’t know how they don’t hit the over 72.5,” he said, reporting that more than 90% of the Draft Kings action at +124 was on the Mariners “over”.

Buchanan also said he believes that the heavily-bet Chicago White Sox, +850 to win the World Series, erred in selecting old-school manager Tony LaRussa for a young squad.

On a side note, Sox slugger Eloy Jimenez, who hit 31 homers in 2019, will be lost for several months because of a ruptured pectoral tendon.

Factors to consider when wagering on MLB games

Buchanan knows a little something about MLB wagering as hit nearly 59% of his baseball bets in 2019, according to DraftKings Nation, the website connected to the Boston-based operator. For most people, that will be enough to turn a profit.

One is to bet the first five innings of a game. Simply put, those wagers will take the bullpen out of play and protect the likes of Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and other star pitchers. Phillies bettors know what it’s like being victimized by a weak bullpen.

Another is to manufacture an edge for prop bets, through data.

Buchanan gave one example pertaining to opening day with the Mets-Nationals and several Phillies-Nationals matchups.

He said Scherzer, the opening day pitcher for the Nationals, is vulnerable against left-handed hitters at home. Lefties hit Scherzer for more than a .300 clip, he noted, about 100 points higher than right-handed hitters.

“Let’s say you have a prop of over-under on hits for that day for a certain player,” Buchanan said. “Maybe it is 1.5. Perhaps there’s an RBI prop for 0.5. If you feel like you have a favorable matchup, that’s a bet you might consider.”

Weigh this for players like Lindor and Michael Conforto for the Mets, along with Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorious for the Phillies.

The last pointer is prioritizing the amount of bets

Buchanan places most prop bets in a lower category, perhaps a “quarter or half a unit compared to a full unit on a moneyline bet.” He also notes it’s too early to assess the new seven-inning rules on doubleheaders and the extra-inning requirement that each half-inning starts with a baserunner on second.

South Jersey’s Mike Trout gets betting respect at William Hill

Trout lights up the wagering scoreboard.

According to William Hill, Millville Mike ranks second in total dollars wagered at 19%, highlighted by a New Jersey bettor staking $10,000 on him +230 for a total potential payout of $33,000. Trout later shuffled between +250 and +200 and is the favorite. Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros is second at +1100, as of Wednesday.

Trout has also collected 4% of the total number of tickets, along with Aaron Judge (+1200) and DJ LeMahieu (+3000) of the New York Yankees.

The MVP board will change during the season and one player’s odds may rise if another is overbet.

Has that already happened?

Ohtani, with average pitching and hitting stats, took a staggering 68% of the pre-season MVP Awards money at William Hill. His odds justifiably plunged.

After opening at +6000, he was +2000 on Wednesday.

Ohtani dipped to +5500 on March 11, +4000 two days later, and to + 3000 on March 16. That’s when a Nevada bettor put $30,000 on him to collect a whopping $930,000. It is the largest futures MLB futures bet William Hill took this spring.

Ohtani, a native of Japan, is a career .269 hitter with a high of 22 home runs in one season.

Nicknamed “Sho Time” by the public, he could be dubbed “Sadaharu Oh-Tani”, by the bettors, a reference to Japanese legend Sadaharu Oh, who hit an unheard-of 868 home runs in a career that ended in 1980.

“There’s definitely some Angels love in the futures markets,” said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. “We get crushed with the Angels for World Series. We certainly don’t want Ohtani to win MVP. But it’s still early. Once the [NCAA] tournament is behind us and baseball starts playing every day, those markets are going to pick up even more.”

Doing a Tom Brady betting comparison

Ohtani MLB odds plunged the way Tom Brady’s NFL numbers did last March. That’s when Brady moved from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His drop from +5000 to roughly +1400 was justified when the Bucs won the last Super Bowl.

Unlike Brady, there’s nothing in Ohtani’s early career to suggest he’ll be an MVP. But now some big-money bettors think he’ll put it all together as a pitcher and hitter.

That’s the beauty of sports betting. It runs on different opinions and a wealth of options.

Season win bets, World Series wagers, and a mountain-sized prop menu are almost all in.

And here come the daily games.






Photo by AP/Tony Gutierrez
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and others. He writes about all major sports in the booming legal New Jersey sports betting industry. Dave also hosts the Why Eagles Why podcast. Dave is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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