After an excruciating few weeks filled with proposals, Major League Baseball is finally set to begin its 2020 season.
The MLB Players Association’s (MLBPA) and the owners’ return-to-play plan includes a 60-game schedule due to the limited time to get players back in camp.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement:
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon. We have provided the Players Association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with baseball again soon.”
Outside of the potential issues in the collective bargaining agreement next year, the mandated schedule at least means we’ll be getting baseball.
As long as the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t get in the way, the MLB will begin play on July 24. Players will report to spring training by July 1.
Teams will be training at their home stadiums instead of the typical spring training complexes. The Toronto Blue Jays are hoping to do the same, but they may have to find somewhere inside of the US.
Major League Baseball will have a few new rules for the 60-game season:
- For the first time, the National League will use the designated hitter for every game.
- Teams will begin extra innings with a runner on second base.
- Active rosters will expand to start the season and teams can have a taxi squad of possible fill-ins with up to 60 players.
- The schedule will consist of 40 games against divisional opponents and 20 games against interleague opponents in the same geographical region.
These rules will change the game a bit. And the shortened season already makes betting on future props more difficult.
Betting on the 2020 MLB season
While single-game betting should remain the same, betting on World Series or League Championship odds could be trickier this year.
For one, the typical 162-game schedule in baseball allows for things to even out across the season.
While teams go through good and bad stretches, we can usually depend on the best teams to make it to the postseason. Well, that won’t be the case in 2020.
We’ve seen even the worst teams have 60-game stretches that could make the postseason. That should open bets up and allow better chances for dark horses to make a run.
The new rules will create a new dynamic. The main one is the NL having a designated hitter. Adding another lineup spot for teams to fill with a bat could be a major factor for clubs who don’t have as much depth. NL teams who sometimes bench a strong bat for fielding purposes will no longer have to worry.
Atlanta Braves odds
After the heartbreaking first-round loss in the 2019 playoffs, the Braves will look to break their drought in the shortened 2020 season.
Their main additions in the offseason were Marcell Ozuna and Cole Hamels. The addition of Ozuna will allow the Braves to get creative with their outfield depth and the designated hitter.
Atlanta was already viewed as one of the best young clubs in baseball, and the odds are following suit.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Braves at +1,300 to win the World Series.
Only the Dodgers, Astros and Yankees have better odds. The Braves come in at +600 to win the National League pennant, trailing only the Dodgers at+170.
The fear with betting on the Braves is the strength of opponents in the NL East and AL East. With all 60 games coming against those two divisions, it could be a tight and difficult race to make the playoffs.
The Nationals, Mets and Phillies come in with the third, fourth and seventh best odds to win the NL pennant, according to DraftKings, showcasing the strength of the division.