MLB Betting: League Announces 60-game Season, Bettors Begin to Prep
Major League Baseball just announced that there is a tentative plan for a 60-game regular season starting late July. There are still aspects that need to be ironed out given the tenuous state of the league’s relationship with the Players Association. For bettors, based on what we know, there’s a lot to digest. Let’s take a look at some things to consider from a betting perspective.
1. Is there enough time to properly prepare?
It depends. It’s safe to assume most players have been doing what they can to stay in shape. Some may have had access to other players and/or facilities while others didn’t. Camp is slated to open July 1 in teams’ home cities. It’s unlikely starting pitchers will be fully stretched out by the time the season starts. This could force teams to use more of an “all hands on deck approach” the first few weeks. We may see more “bullpen” games with four or five guys throwing two innings apiece. Keeping track of daily pitch counts and velocity will be paramount. A rested-and-ready staff vs. a taxed one will undoubtedly be a key handicapping angle.
2. How do teams handle players who contract COVID?
No matter what steps the league and teams take, it’s going to occur. And if it occurs during camp, it can have a big ripple effect. Let’s say a teams no. 2 starter tests positive and must quarantine for 14 days. What now? How will they continue to work out? What if multiple players test positive? Will there be enough players to field a competitive squad which brings us to our next point…
3. What about the farm system?
The minor league system is already in a state of flux. Adding to it is that there are only so many players in each organization ready and capable to effectively compete at the MLB level. What happens if a team gets hit with a bunch of positive tests and needs to dip into its talent pool? There are talks of expanding rosters and essentially have players in waiting — working out and playing intra-squad games. What’s almost certain to happen — whether it a result of COVID or a more condensed schedule — is that teams will be forced to play players who under normal circumstances wouldn’t sniff the field.
4. Who is going to sit out?
There’s already a few players taking a pass on the proposed NBA season. Why risk injury during an all but lost season when you’re set to become a free agent? There’s no word on an MLB players taking this route but don’t be surprised if a few do.
5. Holy rule changes!
As if bettors don’t have enough to digest, the league has proposed multiple rule changes to accommodate the unique situation. Most notably is a universal DH which is going to cause havoc on past park factor and database numbers. They’ve also discussed allowing subbed out players the ability to reenter and allowing ties.
All told, there’s a lot of moving pieces and more will inevitably be brought to the table in the coming weeks. In the meantime, be sure to check out all of BettorIQ’s MLB previews — all of which were written post-COVID under the assumption the season would be modified. We’ll be covering the lead up to the MLB season more in the coming weeks with more articles and podcasts.