We’re now in that deep lull between the NCAA tournament and the MLB season where we’ve got little to bet outside of the NHL and NBA. But with yet another NHL bet biting the dust for me yesterday, I’m not going to try this, especially not on what’s normally Three-Play Thursday.
Instead, I’m going to dive into MLB Futures plays for each division, starting with the AL East. It goes without saying, but don’t spend your money on the Orioles. There’s four talented teams in this division, and then there’s Baltimore, which might be a playoff team if it were relegated to Triple-A East. It’s simply not going to happen for them in 2022 and probably not for a few years.
But beyond them, there’s a lot to unpack. Here are my recommendations for futures bets to play now and futures bets to wait on until later in the year.
BET NOW: NEW YORK YANKEES, +240
You are never going to see better value on the Yankees this season than you will on Opening Day. New York’s schedule is tissue-soft in the opening months, as the Yankees will open with homestands against Boston and Toronto, go to Baltimore and Detroit and host Cleveland and Baltimore before making the trek to Kansas City.
New York will not face a road game against a decent team until May 2 in Toronto, and the Yankees get another seven against the Orioles plus the Rangers at home in the year’s second month. The schedule amps up considerably after the All-Star break, as the Yankees will see visits to Seattle, St. Louis and Milwaukee, as well as facing the Mets, Astros and their division rivals. Throw in that the Yankees are one of the public’s most popular teams, and any value on this team will be gone by April 30. If you like the Yankees in the AL East, do not wait for Opening Day.
BET LATER: TORONTO BLUE JAYS, +185
Be patient. The Blue Jays’ early schedule is simply brutal. Before May 2, they’ll see the Red Sox seven times, the Astros six and the Yankees four. They get five more meetings with the Yankees in May, they’ve got a May trip to face the Cardinals and Angels (and nobody else), and they come home to close out May by facing the White Sox.
But the road get much easier for Toronto in the second half. Over the final two months of the season, they’ll see the Orioles 15 times, as well as the Pirates, the Cubs, the Guardians and the Rangers, all of whom should be out of contention. They’ll play the Rays nine times in that stretch, but they’re a more talented team than Tampa Bay and should be able to add at the deadline. I’d wait for this to get to +250 or even +300, as you should get better odds on the Jays in a month. This is the most talented team in the division; it’s just likely to start slow.
WAIT AND SEE: BOSTON RED SOX, +475
For Toronto, I know I want to make a play on the Blue Jays once they’re through the difficult games. A lineup as potent as what the Jays have with Springer, Bichette, Guerrero and Chapman will hit at some point. I’m not so sure on Boston. The value is there at +475, but I think it’s going to get better with how many early road games the Red Sox have. I want to see if Trevor Story can adjust to Fenway Park and if Boston’s pitching staff can hold up. I think there’s enough value here already that I can wait and still get the Red Sox at a good price.