Major League Baseball Futures Betting

This time of the baseball season, as we come around the Memorial Day turn, is always a good time for baseball bettors to make money. The prerequisite though is a willingness to think long-term and challenge conventional thinking.

There have been enough games played that the market's impressions of teams are starting to harden. Yet there's still four months to go and if history teaches us anything it's that slow starters will turn around - and that means there will be some futures investments that will pay a good dividend come October.

What we'll do here is outline several betting opportunities that offer realistic ways to challenge the favorites, in all six divisions, in both leagues and for the World Series title itself. I want to stress here that we're not recommending that you bet all of them - or even any of them for that matter. What I do want to stress is that these are all propositions that we're looking seriously at for our clients and whether you call us or try to pick winners yourself, they represent the kind of outside-the-box thinking that savvy handicappers do.

Let's start by looking at the divisional races...

AL East: This is a tight race in the standings with the Red Sox and Orioles running neck-and neck, and everyone else still in very reasonable striking distance. But the market seems to have decided that Boston is far and away the team to beat. Their odds to win the division are 20-23. Meanwhile, you can take both Baltimore (7-2) and Toronto (8-2) and come out ahead if either one wins it.

AL Central: The Indians still trail the White Sox, who have started to fade, but Cleveland is already the favorite of Las Vegas. It seems hard to believe the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals, loaded with young talent in the lineup and a farm system that can obtain trade deadline help are sitting at 21-10 just to outlast Cleveland and Chicago. But there the Royals sit.

AL West: Texas is the nominal 11-10 favorite, with Seattle not far behind at 13-10. You have to take some chances here if you want to try a longshot. Can Houston and the Los Angeles Angels really be as bad as they've played thus far? The Astros are 9-1, the Angels are 11-1 and it's hard to see either of the co-favorites as an imposing frontrunner. Keep in mind - no one was thinking about Texas at this time in 2015, yet it was the Rangers who ultimately surged and cashed in.

NL East: This is probably the worst division to try and make money on futures right now. The Nationals are 10-13, the Mets are 11-10 and while the Marlins and Phillies are nice stories, to think either one will beat out both teams to win a division title requires a confidence that's not justified.

NL Central: Las Vegas seems to be begging for someone to bet against the Cubs. Chicago is such a monster favorite (1-14) that steady contenders in Pittsburgh (10-1) and St. Louis (14-1) can both be bet on, and the profit margin is substantial.

NL West: It's another division where value is tough to find. San Francisco is the favorite and challenging them with the Dodgers at 9-5 doesn't offer much value. Given the quality of the Giants, it's better to see if a situation develops where Los Angeles could be paired up with another challenger. We're not at that point yet.

See anything you like there? If not, there's always the races for the AL & NL pennants to look at. These wagers, along with the World Series title itself are ones that many bettors prefer. Not only is the payout bigger, but there's hope that a darkhorse that can just scrape out a wild-card berth could go on a magic run...

American League: Boston is a solid 4-1 favorite and there are plenty of options to challenge them. If you believe the market that Seattle, Texas and Toronto---all at 6-1 - are the best challengers, you can grab two of these and still have a profit margin. Or you can pick just one and add Kansas City at 8-1. Or start with the Royals and add two other teams from the rest of the field, starting with the Orioles at 9-1.

National League: Chicago is the runaway favorite again and there are lot of good teams available at good prices. San Francisco is next at 4-1. It's not a great number, but it's high enough to use the Giants as a break-even hedge and then choose between the Mets and Nationals as the profit-making alternative.

Now we come to the World Series, where the Cubs continue to hold firm as the top-heavy favorite. They're so top-heavy that you can take the six teams immediately behind them and come out ahead in any event - that would be San Francisco, Boston, Washington, the New York Mets, Seattle and Texas. In this, as in all other cases, it goes without saying that if you believe in any of the down-ticket teams even more you can substitute them in for any other challenger and make even more money.

A lot of bettors make the mistake of waiting until the postseason to bet baseball. In fact, the time to bet the postseason is right now, when the numbers are ripe on the futures market.