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MLB Odds – 2016’s Biggest Storylines

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in News

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

“Love is in the air” they say when spring rolls around. Apparently, when spring turns to summer, the water gets spiked with hate. Either that or it marks the time when major leaguers start hitting the juice and get all roid-ragey. How else do you explain all the bombs they’ve been throwing at each other lately?

We’re only about a third of the way through the 2016 season, but we’ve already seen two of the biggest brawls in recent MLB history. But let’s not focus on the negatives. There are a lot of positive storylines we can talk about, like the hot start for Daniel Murphy, the fantastic farewell tour of David Ortiz, and the fact that A-Rod sucks!

Now that we’re well into June, it’s time to take a fresh look at a host of odds and props for the 2016 season. Wouldn’t you know it, we just podcasted on a similar topic! This article might have my name on it, but it was a true team effort from your three (yes, three) favorite Oddcast personalities. When you’re done using your ears to get our shrewd baseball insights, use your … what’s the word … headballs(?) to read how we see the rest of the season playing out.

MLB 2016 Odds

Player Props

Odds Daniel Murphy bats .400 for the season: 200/1

Not to take anything away from Murphy, but even after his incredible start to the season, he is “only” batting .376. Focusing on the modern era (sorry Hugh Duffy), Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn came the closest to .400 in 1994 when he averaged just shy of .394. Pitchers today are too good and too specialised; Murphy will finish around .300. – Matt McEwan

Odds Stephen Strasburg gets to 15-0: 9/2

Strasburg is projected to face the Cubs and Dodgers in two of his next three starts. If he can get by them unscathed, he won’t face another team above .500 until the Pirates after the All-Star Break.  – Matt McEwan

Odds Clayton Kershaw finishes the season with an ERA below 1.53 (Dwight Gooden’s 1985 mark): 9/1

As ridiculous as it would be for a pitcher to better Gooden’s 1.53 ERA, or even Greg Maddux’s 1.56, this is Clayton Kershaw we are talking about. Not only is his current, mind-boggling 1.46 ERA flying under the radar due to Jake Arrieta, but he also has some added motivation to better his former teammate Zack Greinke’s 1.66 ERA from last season.  – Matt McEwan

Odds David Ortiz breaks Dave Kingman’s record for most home runs in a final season (35): 1/3

Ortiz has only surpassed 35 home runs in a season four times during his career. However, the last three seasons saw him hit 37, 35, and 30 dingers. Right now, he is on pace to hit just shy of 44. It may be tougher to put odds on whether or not this is actually “Big Papi’s” last season.  – Matt McEwan

Odds Yoenis Cespedes breaks Todd Hundley’s Mets’ single-season home run record (42): 11/5

Last season, between the Tigers and Mets, Cespedes hit a career-high 35 home runs. He is currently just shy of a 42-homer pace. However, one hot month is all it may take for Cespedes to put his name in the Mets’ record books. – Matt McEwan

Odds _____ hits 50 home runs

Mark Trumbo: 6/1

Those balls just fly out of Camden Yards, but his career numbers – and baseball, generally – suggest he’ll slow down.

Todd Frazier: 9/1

Although his team is coming back to Earth, he does not appear to be; but 50 is probably still out of reach.

Nolan Arenado: 12/1

Colorado’s high altitude definitely helps, but I think he stays on pace to come up shy.

Robinson Cano: 25/1

His career high is 33, and he’s never hit more than 21 as a Mariner. He’ll break 21, but not 50.

Yoenis Cespedes: 35/1

He’ll be lucky to break the franchise record of 42.

FIELD: 25/1

Since 2011, only Chris Davis has surpassed 50; he was then suspended for PED use.

No one: 2/3

See above. – Matt McEwan

Odds Albert Pujols reaches 600 home runs this season: 5/1

Pujols’ 12 home runs thus far has the Angels’ slugger on pace to come up just shy of 33 on the season. He needs 28 more (40 for the season) to reach the 600 milestone. He hit 40 last year, but he needed a better start to get there this year. I see him having to return in 2017 if he wants to add his name to the 600 club. – Matt McEwan

Odds Alex Rodriguez reaches …

700 home runs this season: 1/4
715 home runs this season: 3/1

The Yankees’ DH only needs six more bombs to reach 700, which shouldn’t be tough for even a non-juiced A-Rod. However, I don’t like his odds of reaching the 715 mark this year. An injury caused the 40-year-old to miss almost the entire month of May, and I suspect that won’t be the only injury he suffers this season. The former All-Star will be lucky to play in 120 games. That’s not enough to reach 715, not the way he’s hitting this year.

Should anything I said in here turn out to be false, I will pen a heartfelt apology to all of my fans. – Matt McEwan

Over/under on 100 MPH pitches by Noah Syndergaard this season: 256.5

I figure Syndergaard will throw, on average, eight pitches per game over 100 MPH, considering his fastball and sinker both average just under 99 MPH. Multiply that by 32-ish starts and, voila, you’ve got your O/U. I also calculated the verbal equivalent: THOR BRINGS THE HEAT! – Matt McEwan

Odds Noah Syndergaard and Aroldis Chapman throw more 100 MPH pitches than the rest of the majors combined: 1/3

Chapman is the hardest hurler in the game. He’s the only guy who averages over 100 MPH on his fastball. A couple years ago, he was outpacing the entire league by himself. Give him Syndergaard as a sidekick and the dynamic duo should easily throw more triple-digit pitches than the combined forces of Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Cole, Trevor Rosenthals, etc. – Sascha Paruk

Over/under on ejections for Bryce Harper this season: 2.5

Ejections are “fun,” right? Harper doesn’t have a history of getting tossed all that often, but he was booted for arguing balls and strikes earlier this year and he didn’t stop there. He’s also proven pretty volatile. – Sascha Paruk

Odds to play more games this season

Mark Teixeira: 1/3

David Wright: 3/1

Teixeira has played in 48 of the Yankees’ 59 games so far, but currently resides on the 15-day DL and has not played since June 3rd. Reports are suggesting that the five-time Gold Glove winner is going to play through the pain and avoid knee surgery. We’ll see just how much pain the first-baseman can tolerate.

Wright has played in 37 of the Mets’ 62 games and also finds himself on the 15-day DL. However, his situation seems a little more grim than Teixeira’s. Reports are suggesting that the third-baseman will rest for six to eight weeks before even resuming baseball activities.

Teixeira may only need to deal with the pain for a few more games to lock this one up. – Matt McEwan

Odds Ryan Braun ends the season with the …

Steve Paluch [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Steve Paluch [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Brewers: 1/1
Mets: 12/1
Giants: 15/1
Dodgers: 15/1
Mariners: 18/1
Nationals: 18/1
Indians: 25/1
Blue Jays: 30/1
White Sox: 40/1
Diamondbacks: 45/1
FIELD: 9/1

Though the Brewers are playing better of late, they’re still one of the have-nots in the dichotomized National League and need to build for the future. They’ll be sellers at the deadline and Braun’s value should be at a relative high if he continues his hot first-quarter. But he’s also in the first year of a five-year, $94M deal. Not everyone will want to take on that salary, especially given his injury history. His contract also allows him to block a trade to 23 of 29 MLB teams, per Ken Rosenthal.

Braun could block a deal to the Mets. Would you, though? – Sascha Paruk

Odds of breaking Mark Reynolds’ MLB record for strikeouts in a season (223):

Trevor Story: 13/2
Chris Davis: 9/1
Chris Carter: 14/1
Justin Upton: 18/1
FIELD: 20/1
No one: 5/9

Reynold’s was striking out at an incredible clip during that “record” season, whiffing on 38.6-percent of his at bats in 2009. Davis is the only one even close to that, and even his career numbers would suggest he’ll improve. If anyone’s going to do it, I like Story, but only if he runs into a rookie wall in the latter half of the season. – Eric Thompson

Odds to be the next manager fired:

Bryan Price (Reds): 4/1
Robin Ventura (White Sox): 9/2
Paul Molitor (Twins): 8/1
Brad Ausmus (Tigers): 8/1
Walt Weiss (Rockies): 18/1
Mike Scioscia (Angels): 20/1
Joe Girardi (Yankees): 30/1
FIELD: 3/1

No one expected the Reds to make the playoffs, but management does want to see progress, and Price isn’t getting any from his team, which is 22-37 and second-last in the NL. Meanwhile, the White Sox are imploding after a hot start and Ventura doesn’t have a resume that will save his hide. Both will be out at some point, but Price goes first.

The Tigers recently went on a little streak which will buy Ausmus some time. The Twins are horrendous, but Molitor did nice things with a young roster last year, his first on the job. Scioscia is in his 17th season with the Angels and management loves him. Girardi is one of the best in the biz and the Yanks would be insane to let him go. – Sascha Paruk

Team Props

Odds the Twins finish with the worst winning percentage in team history (below .370): 3/5

Minnesota currently has a win-percentage of .310; the franchise low (in the modern era) is .370. This should give you an idea of whether they can pull it together and keep their names out of the record books: Ervin Santana leads all starters with a 4.50 ERA. – Matt McEwan

Odds the Braves finish with the worst winning percentage in team history (below .338): 2/3

The Braves only need to win 55 games this season to avoid the dubious feat; they currently have 17 wins in 59 games, good for a winning percentage of .288. They’re last in the league in runs scored and, soon, pitchers will figure out Chase D’Arnaud too. Julio Teheran has a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts, but a 2-6 record to show for it. – Matt McEwan

Over/under on combined wins for the Twins and Braves: 105.5

It’s very rare that teams don’t hit at least 50 wins these days. But the Braves have a good shot to be the first team since the ’03 Tigers. Minny’s prospects aren’t boosting this O/U too high, either. The Cubs will win more games than these two teams combined. – Matt McEwan

Odds the Oakland A’s average fewer fans than the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors (19,596): 10/13

The Warriors averaged 19,596 fans during their record-setting season. The Athletics currently average 18,517 per home game. Perhaps when Golden State has finally captured the championship, a lull in sports will send fans back to the O.Co. But it certainly won’t be the play on the field that attracts fans. – Eric Thompson

Odds the Mets finish with the most home runs in the majors: 20/1

The Mets are on pace for a franchise record for most home runs in a single season, but still sit behind five other teams for most dingers. While it’s certainly possible for New York to keep up its ridiculous pace, Citi Field is not a home run-friendly park. The Mets have just 30 HRs at home this season in 27 games. When you consider the advantages teams like the Orioles and Rockies have at home, it’s tough to see the Mets finishing at the very top. – Eric Thompson

Over/under on how many Cubs will start in the All-Star Game (including pitcher and DH): 5.5

Mateocubs [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Mateocubs [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Not surprisingly, the record-setting Cubs currently lead in voting for five of the nine NL starting spots. Chicago will also be sending at least one arm to the All-Star Game in Jake Arrieta; but will he start over Clayton Kershaw? – Eric Thompson

Over/under on how many Royals will start in the All-Star Game: 3

The Royals ballot stuffing continues this year, but it’s unlikely the fans or league would stand for Kendrys Morales starting over David Ortiz, let alone a done-for-the-year Mike Moustakas starting over Manny Machado. If they’re going to hit the over, it’ll be up to Alcides Escobar or Omar Infante. – Eric Thompson

Odds the Yankees will be ______ at the trade deadline:

Sellers: 1/2
Buyers: 8/1
Neither/stand pat: 7/2

The Yankees are in a rare re-build mode. They’ll finally get out from the weighty contracts of Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran next year; A-Rod and CC Sabbathia will follow the year after. The team showed uncharacteristic restraint last off-season by not making any splashy, over-priced signings. The thinking is that they’re poised to go after Bryce Harper on the FA market down the road. If you’re going to do that, best to clear some space on the payroll, even if you’re the Yankees. All signs point to seller. – Sascha Paruk

Odds the Yankees trade _____ on or before the trade deadline:

Carlos Beltran: 4/5
Andrew Miller: 1/1
Aroldis Chapman: 3/2
Ivan Nova: 3/1
Michael Pineda: 3/1
Chase Headley: 4/1
Brett Gardner: 5/1
Dellin Betances: 25/1
Alex Rodriguez: 99/1

Beltran has looked resurgent (and healthy!) this year. He’s an FA at the end of the season, so that whole age thing (39) isn’t really an issue. What teams couldn’t use his bat for half the year? (Ok, maybe Boston.)

Miller is high on the list for a few reasons: (1) he’s insanely good and reasonably priced, so every team that needs a reliever will be interested; (2) the Yanks would still have a very strong bullpen without him (see Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances); (3) you don’t really need a bunch of shut-down bullpen arms if you’re not leading late in games.

As for A-Rod: he’s due $21M next year. Take a look at his slash-line and tell me if you think he’s worth it. No one’s eating that contract. – Sascha Paruk

Odds the Yankees fire Joe Girardi before the end of the season: 8/1

Keith Allison (Joe Girardi) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Keith Allison (Joe Girardi) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Yanks aren’t going to win anything this season and that won’t sit well with fans, since they made the playoffs last year with largely the same roster. But it’s not Girardi’s fault. That team overachieved. The NY lineup is replete with … what’s the opposite of an “ageless wonder”? Girardi is in his ninth season with the club and has proven his worth and abilities as a manager. – Sascha Paruk

Over/under on bench-clearing brawls for the Blue Jays this season: 2.5

For the record, there has to be at least one punch thrown to qualify. Despite recent events, that doesn’t happen all that often in the bigs. But the Jays already have one under their belt thanks to Rougned Odor and Jose Bautista and they haven’t even played the Royals yet this year. – Sascha Paruk

League Props

Odds to win more games in interleague play:

American League: 3/4

National League: 4/3

The National League hasn’t won interleague bragging rights since 2003 and are currently down 55-50 this season. The NL will have to hope the Cubs and Nationals can rip through their AL foes if they want to end the drought. – Matt McEwan

Over/under on player/manager ejections this season: 207.5

Currently, 73 players/managers have been ejected this season (hopefully no one was ejected before I could finish this sentence). That puts us on pace for around 199, which would fall well short of 2015’s 229. As the weather heats up, and games become more and more meaningful, tempers will heat up as well. – Matt McEwan

Over/under on suspensions for PED use in the remainder of the 2016 season: 8.5

The MLB’s drug testing is finally catching up and the results have been surprising. So far, eight major leaguers have been suspended and it’s not the typical big-headed juicers of yesteryear. Dee Gordon, Raul A. Mondesi, Chris Colabello, and Marlon Byrd are just some of the players to get caught so far. Expect more as the season wears on. – Eric Thompson


(Featured photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)

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