MLB Free Futures Picks
Each Monday during the 2017 season, we will review free MLB Futures value picks. These picks will use consensus World Series, League and Division win odds compared to our projected probabilities from 50,000 simulations of the rest of the season for each team to find valuable plays. Futures picks have consistently represented some of our most valuable information. Check out all the picks below.
Where there is value:
Elite teams that are off to relatively slow starts have value early on in this reactionary market. The Dodgers present the clear best World Series value at this point. As +750 (or 15/2) to win it all, one would only need 11.8% confidence to bet LA in hopes of reaping the solid payout. Our projections of the rest of the season show the Dodgers have a 16.6% chance, which is not far behind favorites the Chicago Cubs (17.8%) and Cleveland Indians (16.8%).
The Dodgers are just 7-6 to start the season, yet they have outscored opponents on the year by 30 more runs than the Colorado Rockies who lead the NL West through two weeks. Thus far, when the Dodgers have won, they have generally won easily and when they have lost, it has been in a close game. All six of their losses have come by four runs or fewer and four of them have come by one or two runs. With the likes of strike-throwing Kenley Jansen, Sergio Romo, Grant Dayton and Pedro Baez in the bullpen, LA will usually have the upper hand in close games (they already lead the majors in ERA as relievers after doing the same in 2016 as well).
Offensively, the Dodgers have scored the sixth most runs in the league and have the seventh best OPS. Before the season started, we deemed LA as the best offense overall. Though Adrian Gonzalez and Joc Pederson are off to relatively slow starts, there is little to suggest that the Dodgers' lineup will not consistently produce throughout the year.
Starting Pitching does remain a concern for LA. Kershaw is dominant and Brandon McCarthy and Rich Hill have been solid. Hill is hurt with yet another blister, but he is likely to soon be replaced by elite prospect Julio Urias. Some natural regression back to better-than-serviceable status for Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu, plus the likely addition of Urias to the rotation should help solidify this issue.
In addition to the Dodgers, the Cubs (6-6 to start the season) and Astros (who are hot at 8-4, yet still underrated) have very strong value on Divisional Futures, but at a price. While we project Chicago to win the NL Central 94% of the time, it costs -500 (83% confidence needed) to play them. Houston is +120, which provides a nice return, given their 85% likelihood of winning the AL Central, while bigger payoffs with current value include the Marlins at +1400 and Yankees at +550 to win their respective divisions.
Where there is not value:
The Cincinnati Reds are off to a strong start. The Reds began the year 7-2 (and are now 8-5) and have outscored opponents by 15 runs thus far. Bryan Price is using his bullpen efficiently and young pitchers like Amir Garrett and the now injured Brandon Finnegan have looked promising. Before the season started, the Reds were +12000 (100/1) to win the World Series, +6600 to win the National League and +3300 to win the NL Central. The Reds are now +5000 to win World Series and +2500 to win the NL. Their odds have been cut in half (and then some) and they are now viewed as more likely to win the NL than they were to win the NL Central before the season. Only the Twins, who are 7-5 in a weaker division, have seen their odds drop more.
While we loved the OVER (70.5) on the Reds (and the OVER on the Twins for what it's worth) win total before the year, futures are about winning divisions, leagues or the championship and Cincinnati does not have a realistic chance to do so. The Reds are actually just one of three teams that does not even win the World Series at least 25 times (0.05%) in the 50,000 simulations of the rest of the year, representing the worst current futures value.
Offensively, the Reds have been solid thus far, sporting a wOBA of .333, which ranks third in MLB. However, that team wOBA is higher than the career wOBA of literally every player on the team with at least ten plate appearances on the season besides Joey Votto. With the pending return of Devin Mesoraco, maturation of Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall and Jose Peraza and a solid bench, this offense should be improved from 2016, but anything close to what has happened thus far on the season is likely unsustainable.
And then there is the rotation or the Reds... Cincinnati as a team has already seen the major league debuts or SIX players. This includes three starting pitchers - Rookie Davis, Amir Garrett and Sal Romano. It does not include Bronson Arroyo, obviously, yet he had not thrown in the major leagues for over 1,000 days (things have not gone well in his starts this year - 8.03 FIP in two losses). The rotation as presently constructed includes Scott Feldman (4.38 career ERA and FIP), Amir Garrett (12 MLB innings pitched), Sal Romano (three MLB IP), Arroyo (4.21 career ERA and 4.54 FIP) and... uh... Cody Reed (6.42 career ERA, 5.62 FIP)? ... Robert Stephenson (5.98 career ERA, 6.21 FIP)? ... Tim Adleman (3.91 career ERA, 5.21 FIP)? Eesh. That may be as bad as it gets on the year, but it's still not a rotation at any point in the season that would likely coincide with winning at division (or more), especially not THAT division with the World Series favorite Cubs.
We're still projecting the Reds go OVER their season win total by winning more than 70 games, but the team has just a 0.3% chance to win the NL Central.
The Atlanta Braves, who have a seemingly bright future and who we currently project to win 75 games this year, and San Diego Padres, who are projected to win a league-worst 68 games and have less than one percent chance of making the playoffs as of right now, are the other teams that do not even win the World Series 25+ times in the simulations. At +10000 and +20000, they are priced far more appropriately. Other teams who currently have less than one percent chance to win their respective divisions include the Phillies, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Brewers.
Win Total Update:
Comparing PredictionMachine.com's season over/under win total picks (54-19 on "normal" or better plays all-time) to updated projections through games on April 16, has the Predictalator going undefeated on its nine opinions with greater than 57% confidence ("normal" or better). That's likely the case early on in the year since the numbers the Predictalator is using are fairly similar. We will update throughout the year. At this point, the Mariners UNDER (85.5) and Marlins OVER (76.5) look strong, while the top play that is not projected to win - the Baltimore Orioles UNDER 80.5 - looks like a likely miss with the team's MLB leading 8-3 start.
The Play Value assumes a "normal" $50 play. This allows us (and you) to better account for the significant "juice" or "vig" that can be applied by books to consensus lines. If you are getting different odds and/or have a different normal play value, please click on "Calc" to review the play in the Play Value Calculator. Odds are displayed in their +/- format. For instance, +600 is the same as 6/1 odds.
|Team||Projected %||% Needed||Odds||$||Calc|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||16.6||11.8||750|
|New York Yankees||4.2||3.8||2500|
|Boston Red Sox||7.4||13.3||650|
|New York Mets||3.6||9.1||1000|
|San Francisco Giants||2.5||3.8||2500|
|St. Louis Cardinals||0.9||2.9||3300|
|Toronto Blue Jays||0.7||2.9||3300|
|Kansas City Royals||0.3||2.0||5000|
|Los Angeles Angels||0.2||2.4||4000|
|Tampa Bay Rays||0.1||1.5||6600|
Win League Futures Picks (Based on Games Played 50,000 times - Print Table):
|Team||Conference||Projected %||% Needed||Odds||$||Calc|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||National||28.4||20.0||400|
|New York Yankees||American||10.1||8.3||1100|
|Boston Red Sox||American||17.2||25.0||300|
|New York Mets||National||8.8||15.4||550|
|San Francisco Giants||National||5.5||7.7||1200|
|Toronto Blue Jays||American||2.0||5.9||1600|
|St. Louis Cardinals||National||1.5||9.1||1000|
|Kansas City Royals||American||1.0||3.4||2800|
|Tampa Bay Rays||American||0.5||2.9||3300|
|Los Angeles Angels||American||0.5||4.8||2000|
|Chicago White Sox||American||0.1||1.3||7500|
|San Diego Padres||National||0.0||1.0||10000|
Win Division Futures Picks (Based on Games Played 50,000 times - Print Table):
|Team||Division||Projected %||% Needed||Odds||$||Calc|
|Houston Astros||American West||85.4||45.5||120|
|Chicago Cubs||National Central||93.8||83.3||-500|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||National West||82.1||67.7||-210|
|New York Yankees||American East||32.0||15.4||550|
|Miami Marlins||National East||8.3||6.7||1400|
|Washington Nationals||National East||60.5||60.0||-150|
|Minnesota Twins||American Central||3.8||3.4||2800|
|Cleveland Indians||American Central||79.8||80.0||-400|
|Boston Red Sox||American East||48.6||63.6||-175|
|New York Mets||National East||29.1||38.5||160|
|Detroit Tigers||American Central||12.9||15.4||550|
|Baltimore Orioles||American East||10.9||11.8||750|
|San Francisco Giants||National West||9.9||29.4||240|
|Colorado Rockies||National West||7.1||10.0||900|
|Seattle Mariners||American West||7.1||26.7||275|
|Toronto Blue Jays||American East||6.0||19.0||425|
|Oakland Athletics||American West||3.4||6.7||1400|
|St. Louis Cardinals||National Central||3.4||15.4||550|
|Kansas City Royals||American Central||2.8||12.9||675|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||National Central||2.5||10.5||850|
|Tampa Bay Rays||American East||2.5||5.3||1800|
|Texas Rangers||American West||2.4||25.0||300|
|Los Angeles Angels||American West||1.6||11.8||750|
|Atlanta Braves||National East||1.2||5.9||1600|
|Philadelphia Phillies||National East||0.9||4.8||2000|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||National West||0.9||5.9||1600|
|Chicago White Sox||American Central||0.7||3.8||2500|
|Cincinnati Reds||National Central||0.3||2.9||3300|
|Milwaukee Brewers||National Central||0.1||2.9||3300|
|San Diego Padres||National West||0.0||2.0||5000|