Home Sports What bettors need to know about 60-game baseball season

What bettors need to know about 60-game baseball season

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LAS VEGAS — Just when it looked as if baseball would fall into the abyss, the owners and players have agreed to play a 60-game season, giving us a diversion, hope and a chance to make some money.

How will the amended schedule and rule changes impact the odds and betting? The first adjustments we made at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas were on the World Series futures. Teams such as the Marlins, Orioles, Tigers and Royals that were 1,000/1 at the time of the shutdown are now 300/1 to 500/1 at most.

Baseball is such a streaky sport, and in such a condensed season with an expanded playoff format, more teams will be live for most or all of the season. If the four teams I just mentioned get off to solid starts, they will be in the hunt. It could work opposite, too. Consider the Nationals last year when they started the season 19-31 and wound up winning the World Series. Obviously, that first 50-game record likely would eliminate them this year.

Here’s another factor: Though the divisions will remain intact this season, teams will only play their division opponents and those in the same region in the other league. Pay close attention to this because strength of schedule will be a considerable factor. Even though there have been trades and free agent signings, note that there were seven combined teams in the Eastern divisions that played .500 or better ball last year. Only five Central and four Western teams filled that bill.

Another immediate adjustment will be on game totals — the combined runs scored by both teams in an individual game. With the designated hitter, we post American League Overs/Unders slightly higher than National League matchups on average. This season, all teams will play with a DH and we’ll adjust accordingly.

Professional bettors look to play underdogs more often than casual bettors do. With the condensed schedule and every game having more importance, we should see pitching aces go on regular rest and less time off for position players. Underdogs will be alive and personally I’ll lower the prices on favorites on a day-to-day basis.

Now let’s take a couple of questions:

With Tom Brady out of Foxborough, I think the division is wide open. What are the betting numbers for Gang Green? — Eileen M. from Staten Island

Brady’s departure from New England has certainly generated opinions by bettors — and that’s good for business. We have written plenty of tickets on all AFC East teams. We posted the futures in February and the Jets have seen action, especially since the draft. As of this writing, they are 100/1 to win the Lombardi Trophy at the South Point, 50/1 to win the AFC. If you think they will make the playoffs, you can get +375 (the “No” is -475). Their season win total is 6.5 with the Over priced at -120, Under is Even. I think this will be an entertaining division this year.

I’m very excited to see the Giants in prime time in Week 1 against the Steelers. What’s the number, Vinny? — Carl in The Bronx

Yes, Carl, the first game of the “Monday Night Football” doubleheader, which we love on my side of the counter! The Steelers are four-point favorites at my shop with an Over/Under of 48. This will be one of the highest bet games of Week 1 given its position in the rotation.

By the way, like the Jets, we currently have the G-Men 50/1 and 100/1 for the conference and league titles. Their season win total is set at six with the Over at -130, Under at +110 and their odds to make the playoffs are also the same as the Jets above. You and Eileen in Staten Island can go head-to-head for a steak dinner.

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