With so many betting options for the MLB season, we asked PressBox’s Phil Backert, Stan “The Fan” Charles, Glenn Clark and Luke Jackson and 105.7 The Fan’s Jeremy Conn to share some of their favorite bets for this season. All odds are from FanDuel entering play April 18.

Phil Backert

Philadelphia Phillies To Win The National League East (+400)

The Phillies have a lineup that will put pressure on opposing pitchers all year. There are questions about the pitching staff as a whole, but Philadelphia should score enough runs to overcome that during the regular season. The Atlanta Braves are the clear favorite and for good reason, but there’s no way the New York Mets should have better odds after the injury to Jacob deGrom. The Phillies are a strong playoff contender and will be battling for the division crown in the month of September.

Luis Robert To Win American League MVP (+2000)

It’s going to be really hard to overcome Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The hope is Mike Trout steals votes from Ohtani and a great Blue Jays lineup dings Guerrero. Robert has yet to play a full season due to the shortened schedule in 2020 and an injury in 2021. However, Robert was considered one of the top five prospects in baseball and had a minor league season in which he hit 30 home runs and stole 30 bases. The White Sox are expected to win the AL Central, so if Robert can hit close to 30 home runs, steal more than 15 bases and hit better than .300, there’s no doubt we will be watching every White Sox game in the month of September.

Byron Buxton To Win American League MVP (+2000)

Buxton may be a top-five talent in all of baseball. I really don’t believe that is a hot take. The combination of speed and power along with his defensive ability puts Buxton in a class of the elite. However, you’re never going to be considered one of the best when you can’t stay healthy. Buxton has been in the major leagues since 2015 but has played 100 games just once. The best ability is availability, and the 28-year-old has struggled with injuries. It’s disappointing because he is so good. In 61 games in 2021, Buxton hit .306 with 19 home runs and nine stolen bases. It’s not hard to envision that he would have come close to 40 home runs with 20-plus stolen bases in a full season. If, and it’s a big if, Buxton can play near 140 games in 2022, he will be in the thick of the MVP discussion.

Stan “The Fan” Charles

San Francisco Giants To Win The National League (+700)

I really like the Giants, baseball’s winningest team in 2021 with 107 wins. True, they lost a stud starting pitcher in Kevin Gausman and saw future Hall of Fame catcher Buster Posey retire, but they signed right-hander Alex Cobb and lefty Carlos Rodon. I simply don’t understand the Dodgers, Braves and Mets all being in front of San Francisco. Yes, they defied the odds a year ago, but I like the Giants at +700.

Rafael Devers To Win American League MVP (+2000)

Devers’ odds are tied for sixth with Luis Robert and Wander Franco. Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Byron Buxton are in front of those two. Let’s be real — are the Angels, as presently put together, going to have the MVP? I don’t see it as likely, and the fact that they could have two candidates makes me think in a way they could cancel each other out. Buxton has done nothing in his career to make me feel comfortable that his immense talents will be on the field enough to win this award. Guerrero has a darn good chance, no question. But give me Devers, perhaps the most focused hitter in the game since Tony Gwynn was winning lots of batting titles.

Zack Wheeler To Win National League Cy Young (+1000)

Wheeler is fourth in the NL Cy Young odds behind Max Scherzer, Corbin Burnes and Walker Buehler. Wheeler had many, many arm problems early in his career with the Mets, but he has been a stud since donning a Phillies uniform. He went 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA in just 71 innings during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but he only struck out 53 batters. Wheeler then had a 14-10 record with a 2.78 ERA in 213.1 innings while striking out 247 batters and posting a rather pristine 1.008 WHIP. With Jacob deGrom off the board, Wheeler may be on his way to being the No. 1 starter in all of baseball.

Glenn Clark

Chicago Cubs To Win The National League Central (+950)

Long-term bets are only really fun if there’s a chance to cash in big. The Cubs lack pitching depth and have too many questions in their lineup. But if offseason acquisitions Marcus Stroman and Seiya Suzuki perform at high levels, there’s still just enough talent here to see a path to the Cubs being competitive. There’s no reason a competitive major-market team couldn’t choose to fortify itself at the deadline.

San Diego Padres To Win The World Series (+1500)

The odds dipped a bit because of Fernando Tatis Jr.’s wrist injury, but this is still a seriously loaded roster with tons of starting pitching and a potential breakout star in C.J. Abrams on top of everything else. With new manager Bob Melvin leading the way, the Padres can be a real threat to the Dodgers in the NL again.

Adley Rutschman To Win American League ROY (+1200)

It’s going to be a long season. Why not have a little fun?

Jeremy Conn

Dodgers To Win The World Series (+470)

This team is loaded! The Dodgers have six of the top 35 hitters in all of baseball, and their pitching staff is still loaded. I hate betting the favorite, but they should have home-field advantage and a huge edge on the field.

Yankees To Win The World Series (+1200)

This is another team that has a ton of talent, and the Yankees are not afraid to make moves at the trade deadline to better their team. Everybody loves the Blue Jays, but I think the Yankees are the best play in the AL East.

Logan Webb To Win National League Cy Young (+1300)

I think this guy is a stud. He pitches in a great park and has the ability to keep runners off base. I think he takes another step forward this year.

Luke Jackson

Wander Franco To Win American League MVP (+2500)

Franco kicked off his big league career the right way in 2021, hitting .288/.347/.463 with 30 extra-base hits in 308 plate appearances while playing shortstop at a high level for Tampa Bay. Franco will kick it into another gear this year in his age-21 season for a Rays team that figures to compete for the top spot in the AL East. There’s one thing to be aware of here: If Shohei Ohtani stays healthy and productive, it’ll take an absolutely monster season for anyone to top him in the MVP race. Ohtani’s all-around contributions are unmatched.

Trea Turner To Win National League MVP (+1600)

Turner has been one of the best players in baseball for several years, first with the Nationals and then the Dodgers. Though it came in just 226 plate appearances, Turner hit .338/.385/.565 with 27 extra-base hits and 11 steals after being traded to Los Angeles last year. The Dodgers should win a ton of games again this year, and one of the top shortstops in the game figures to be a big reason why.

Alek Manoah To Win American League Cy Young (+2000)

Robbie Ray won the AL Cy Young Award with the Blue Jays last year, so why not keep it going in Toronto? In his first big league season last year, Manoah posted a 3.22 ERA in 111.2 innings while striking out 127 batters. I think he has a chance to take another step forward this year. Plus, Manoah should have a chance to pile up plenty of victories given the offense that will be backing him, though it should be noted that a gaudy win total isn’t nearly as attractive to voters as it once was.

Photo Credits: Kenya Allen/PressBox and Colin Murphy/PressBox

Issue 274: April/May 2022

Originally published April 20, 2022

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