Buying Dip On Mariners Highlights Three MLB Futures Bets To Consider

Is Seattle about to get hot?


May 23, 2023

As we prepare to turn the page on another full month of the Major League Baseball regular season, let’s examine three bets to make in the MLB futures market.

We start with one of the biggest underachievers so far this season: the St Louis Cardinals.

(All betting odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)

St. Louis Cardinals to win National League Central (+220)
Many (myself included) came into this season thinking the Cardinals could compete with the Mets, Phillies, Dodgers, Braves and Padres for NL supremacy. To say that vision has looked bleak would be an understatement — at least until recently. St Louis opened the season with an NL-worst 10-24 record. They have turned it around this month, though, as the Cards have won 11 of 16 and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. St. Louis has an impressive .262 team batting average and a 3.00 ERA while outscoring opponents by 36 runs in that stretch. Rockstar third baseman Nolan Arenado has been the catalyst of this turnaround. He’s hitting .328 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs over his last 15 games. Add reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt, who leads the team in hits, to the equation and you have a team gaining ground in the weak NL Central. Currently, both the Pirates and Brewers are ahead of the Cardinals in the division, but both of those teams have flaws and are hovering just above .500.

Seattle Mariners to make playoffs (+235)
Much like St. Louis, the Mariners are another team that has grossly underachieved so far this season. Last season, they surprised many by making it to the playoffs, earning a postseason bid as a wild-card team before beating the Toronto Blue Jays. They ultimately fell to the eventual world champion Astros, but with the experience garnered from that run, many (again, myself included) believed the momentum would carry over to this season. The early returns on that, however, have been disappointing. The Mariners are currently several games behind both the Rangers and Astros for divisional supremacy. Ultimately, I believe the Astros will win the West again, but I do think the Mariners will get hot and earn a wild-card berth. Seattle needs to get it going, though, if it is to cash that ticket. The Mariners have been mediocre lately, going 5-5 in their last 10 games. They’re just 11-12 at home and a game below .500 overall at 23-24. Still, there are reasons for optimism. Seattle has a .252 team batting average, a 4.34 ERA and is outscoring opponents by 13 runs over its last 10 games. Ace Luis Castillo just recorded his 1,000th career strikeout and looks like he’s regaining his dominant form. In the crowded AL playoff field, I like the Mariners to forge their way into the postseason.

Cleveland Guardians to win AL Central (+330)
The Guardians are the cardiac kids of MLB. Cleveland has played a league-high 22 one-run games so far this season, going 9-13 in those contests. They are seemingly in every game that they play, and as this long season wanes and the weather gets hotter, I believe the Guardians will start to win more of these close games. Although the Guardians are only 4-6 in their last 10 games and have a sub-.500 record, they play in arguably one of the worst divisions in all of baseball. The Minnesota Twins are at the top of the division, but they are amid a losing streak and only a few games over .500 overall. The AL Central ranks at the bottom of all the divisions in baseball for run differential at minus-161. If Cleveland is to catch the Twins, it must score more runs. Offensively, the Guardians are a bit of an anomaly. They have a 10-2 record in games where they have more hits than their opponents, but they are one of the worst offensive teams in MLB despite their ability to put the ball in play and their low strikeout rate. Last season, the Guardians won most of their close games en route to a 92-win season as divisional champs. I believe they will get back to that trend this season, as well. Although I don’t see 92 wins again this time around, I’ll still roll the dice on the Guardians to win the Central at plus-money.

Thumbnail photo via Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports Images

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