- We’ve set down odds for some of baseball’s biggest storylines in 2018.
- Will the Marlins put Don Mattingly out of his misery?
- Will Tim Tebow fulfill his dream of becoming a Major Leaguer?
When fans look back at the 2017 season years from now they’ll remember it as the Summer of the Long Ball. It was the year that hitters clobbered a Major League record 6,104 home runs, 41 players hit 30 or more dingers, and the Twins became the first team ever to hit a homer in each of the first seven innings of a game.
So, how will 2018 be remembered? We’ve gazed into our crystal ball and have created odds for the biggest and juiciest storylines we think will unfold over the next six months. Make sure to visit our most trusted sportsbooks closer to opening day to see if these wagers are available.
Odds on How the 2018 Season Will Be Remembered
|The Summer of the Juiced Ball||1/1|
|The Summer of the Strike Out||4/1|
|The Summer the Evil Empire Strikes Back||6/1|
|The Summer of the No-Hitter||8/1|
Major League Baseball has adamantly denied juicing its balls (odds on this being the dirtiest sentence you read all day: 3/1), but last year’s power totals seem to suggest otherwise. Expect more deep doubles, more epic moon shots, and more pint-sized infielders posting career highs in jacks in 2018.
Odds on the First Manager Fired
|Don Mattingly (Marlins)||2/1|
|Kevin Cash (Rays)||6/1|
|Clint Hurdle (Pirates)||8/1|
|Bob Melvin (A’s)||10/1|
|Mike Matheny (Cardinals)||11/1|
|Andy Green (Padres)||12/1|
|Ned Yost (Royals)||15/1|
|Buck Showalter (Orioles)||18/1|
|Bryan Price (Reds)||25/1|
|John Gibbons (Blue Jays)||30/1|
Something tells us this isn’t what Don Mattingly signed up for. The veteran skipper joined the Marlins in 2016 with the promise of getting to manage Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Ichiro Suzuki. Two years later, all five of those players are gone and Mattingly is left to fill out line-up cards with more unknowns than a trigonometry test. Miami’s unprecedented purge will almost certainly result in a 100-loss season and an early termination for Donnie Baseball.
Cash has yet to lead the Rays to a winning season during his three years on the bench and likely won’t get to stick around long enough to turn things around in 2018.
Kevin Cash finds himself in a similar situation 280-miles away in Tampa Bay, where the Rays are holding a fire sale of their own. Since mid-December, the team has traded All-Stars Evan Longoria and Corey Dickerson, and dumped right fielder Stephen Souza for the Major League equivalent of two rosin bags and a jock strap. Cash has yet to lead the Rays to a winning season during his three years on the bench and likely won’t get to stick around long enough to turn things around in 2018.
Odds Shohei Ohtani Hits More Home Runs than he Gives Up: 15/1
At this point in the year we have so many more questions than answers regarding Shohei Ohtani. Will he be a full-time pitcher? Will he be a platoon outfielder? Was he Indiana Jones’ sidekick in Temple of Doom? All we really know is that he’ll make his Spring Training debut this Saturday as a pitcher and will not hit on the day after he pitches.
During his last full season in Japan in 2016, Ohtani hit 22 home runs in 382 at bats and gave up just four round trippers in 140 innings pitched. The Angels – and Major League Baseball – would be absolutely thrilled if he can come close to approaching those numbers in 2018.
Tim Tebow Odds
|Odds Tim Tebow gets an at-bat for the Mets this season||50/1|
|Odds Tim Tebow retires or is released before the end of the 2018 season||2/1|
Tim Tebow stunned the world in 2016 when he announced he was interested in becoming a professional baseball player. It’s the sort of thing you usually announce when you’re eight, not 28, but he hasn’t wavered from his dream and last year hit .226 with 8 home runs, and 52 RBI in Single A.
The former Heisman winner is now in Florida at the Mets’ Spring Training facility and has already begun impressing coaches with his athleticism and prodigious power. Tebow has a long way to go to get to the Majors, but the franchise likes what they see and appear to be treating him as a legitimate prospect rather than a publicity stunt.
Odds Giancarlo Stanton Hits More Home Runs than Aaron Judge: 2/3
Imagine if your biggest issue entering Spring Training was trying to decide whether to slot Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge in the two-hole. That’s the enviable dilemma facing first time manager Aaron Boone, who has yet to determine a final batting order. If Stanton bats second, he’ll probably see more hittable pitches and have a chance to drive more balls. And if he bats third, he’ll likely see fewer quality pitches, but will have a chance to collect more RBI. You really can’t go wrong either way.
We personally think Stanton will spend most of his time batting second, where he hit .289 with 47 homers in 2017. That alone should allow him to surpass Judge and claim his first AL home run title.
Odds Aaron Judge Leads the Majors in Strikeouts: 2/3
The old adage of “go big or stay home” definitely applies to Judge, who whiffed 208 times in 2017 and set a single season mark for a non-pitcher by striking out in 37 straight games. The free-swinging outfielder has the biggest strike zone in baseball and will almost certainly get wrung up more than any other Major Leaguer in 2018.
Over/Under Number of Players to Hit 40-Plus Home Runs: 5.5
Five players hit 40 or more homers last year, but that number felt curiously low considering that Major League Baseball set a new single-season home run record in 2017. Expect totals to rise – and more power hitters to emerge – in 2018.
Odds to Throw the MLB’s Next No-Hitter
|Max Scherzer (Nationals)||3/1|
|Chris Sale (Red Sox)||4/1|
|Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)||7/1|
|Ervin Santana (Twins)||15/1|
|Jake Arrieta (Free Agent)||25/1|
No hitters have become exceedingly rare in the Major Leagues, but if there’s anyone capable of throwing a no-no it’s Max Scherzer, who accomplished the feat twice in 2015. Not only does the three-time Cy Young winner have the stuff and command necessary for blanking a team for nine innings, but he also has the endurance. Scherzer has led the NL in complete games twice in the last three years and led the league in innings pitched in 2016.
Jake Arrieta is the only other active hurler with two no-hitters under his belt.
Another pitcher to keep an eye on is Jake Arrieta, who is the only other active hurler with two no-hitters under his belt. Arrieta is inexplicably still unsigned, but will certainly be on a Major League roster again by the end of Spring Training.
Odds on Where Jake Arrieta Will End Up
The Phillies have reportedly entered into a dialogue with Arrieta and his representatives and are interested in a short-term deal with the soon-to-be 32-year-old ace. The former Cy Young winner has finished in the top three in WAR among NL Pitchers in each of the past three seasons and would likely bump Aaron Nola as the team’s opening day starter.
Over/Under Date on Which Albert Pujols Joins the 3,000-Hit Club: May 10, 2018
Albert Pujols’ march towards Cooperstown will continue in 2018 as the slugger closes in on his 3000th career hit. The three-time MVP is just 32 hits shy of the mark and will likely reach the milestone on May 10th when the Angels host the Twins.
Odds on Who Will Reach 250 Wins First: Bartolo Colon or CC Sabathia
Let’s be perfectly honest: what you really want to know is who could eat 250 hot dogs first. The answer is Bartolo Colon, and it’s not even close. The 280-pounder sweats gravy and looks like he’s smuggling a watermelon in his jersey.
Odds Ichiro Suzuki Hits his 100th Career Triple in 2018: 80/1
Remember the good old days when Ichiro Suzuki could get a triple in less time than it takes to pronounce his name? Those days appear to be done. The future Hall of Famer is a free agent after three underwhelming seasons in Miami, and is unlikely to find any suitors in the U.S. Ichiro insists he still wants to play, but at this stage his next at bat will probably be in Japan, where he began his career 26 years ago.
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