After a labor dispute that ate up the months of May and June, pushing the MLB season back unnecessarily to the end of July, we are getting close now. The anger has subsided (for me, at least), and now the prospect of getting at least SOME baseball is downright tantalizing.
What are the ways that we know the games are almost here? Well, if you've been reading me here for the last decade, then you know that my biggest smoke signal of pending athletic events is the reveal of gambling odds on said events, and in this case, performance of specific players in said events. To that end, betoline.ag put out futures odds on statistical totals for literally hundreds of players late last week. Here are the Astros on whom you can wager:
BA - Over/Under .310
HR - Over/Under 6
RBI - Over/Under 25.5
BA - Over/Under .280
HR - Over/Under 11.5
RBI - Over/Under 36.5
BA - Over/Under .274
HR - Over/Under 10.5
RBI - Over/Under 35.5
BA - Over/Under .270
HR - Over/Under 12.5
RBI - Over/Under 34
BA - Over/Under .292
HR - Over/Under 5.5
RBI - Over/Under 30.5
BA - Over/Under .308
HR - Over/Under 16.5
RBI - Over/Under 47.5
BA - Over/Under 8.5
RBI - Over/Under 36.5
WINS - Over/Under 6.5
K’s - Over/Under 95.5
WINS - Over/Under 5.5
K’s - Over/Under 70.5
SAVES - Over/Under 12.5
Just seeing these numbers... I mean, that is a delicious buffet of potentially degenerate gambling right there. So without further ado, here are eight prop bets I've already put my hard earned dollar down upon:
Jose Altuve OVER .310 batting average
We are two seasons removed from the last time Altuve was in contention for a batting title, and that was in his MVP season of 2017. Since then, he's hit .316 in 2018 (when he was banged up for the stretch run) and .298 in 2019 (when he was banged up almost all season). If Altuve is healthy and catches fire at any point, the streaky Altuve should sail past .310.
Alex Bregman UNDER .280 batting average
Bregman is a notoriously slow starter, usually taking until about June to turn on the jets and become one of the ten best players in baseball. While I hate rooting for any Astro to go UNDER an offensive total, it feels like a short season might not agree with Bregman, so we may as well profit, and if he goes off in a 60 game schedule, we will gladly pay for it.
Carlos Correa OVER .274 batting average
Carlos Correa OVER 35.5 RBI
OK Carlos, here we go. Your tantalizing vocal leadership that you showed this offseason is baiting me in. Honestly, the batting average OVER feels like a layup, since the only season that he's been under .274 in his career was 2018, when his body was wrecked with injuries that he played through in August and September. And given where he hits in the lineup, if he bats over .274 and plays most of the games, he will crush 35.5 RBI.
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George Springer OVER .270 batting average
George Springer OVER 12.5 home runs
Perhaps you've heard, George Springer is trying to put up big numbers so he can get long term money from SOMEONE, as if he needs further motivation. Also, the schedule is heavy with NL West teams and Springer has historically hit well (some bigger sample sizes than others) against that set of clubs, with four of his top eight "OPS vs opponents" from the NL West.
Zach Greinke OVER 5.5 wins
Similarly, here I am banking on Greinke taking advantage of his familiarity with the NL West, and the fact that those teams make up a third of the Astros' schedule. 5.5 wins equates out to just under 15 for a full season. Greinke was 8-1 down the stretch for the Astros last season, in just two months worth of starts.
Roberto Osuna OVER 12.5 saves
The Astros should be one of the best teams in baseball, and Dusty Baker is an old school manager, who will probably use his closer in a very traditional fashion. 12.5 saves in a shortened season equates to about 34 in a normal season. Osuna led all of baseball with 38 last year.