There's nothing quite like the stretch run in baseball. For players, it's a prelude to the race for a coveted World Series.
For fans and MLB bettors, September represents a chance to watch futures bet cash. And if those markets you were so keen on in April have faded, the last five weeks of the season offer a chance at new lucrative opportunities.
MLB Futures: 3 Markets To Watch In September
As the odds will tell you, several MLB futures markets are still wide open.
NL MVP Odds: Betts vs Acuna Jr.
This is my favorite market right now. The odds differ from sportsbook to sportsbook, but the line could currently look something like this:
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||+110|
It's a two-man race right now, and while some oddsmakers have Acuna narrowly favored, Betts' momentum is pulling him away — but not by much.
On March 30, these sluggers were both at +900 to win NL MVP, so a thousand roses for you if that bet hit your pre-season radar. But to project who will win this award, we need to take a look back.
As I combed the NL MVP voting archives, I discovered that slugging is king, at least lately. There have been some tight NL MVP races in years past, but the final vote often saw the hitter with the greater slugging percentage (not OBP or WAR) win the hardware. This year, that's Betts, whose .606 SLG and 35 HRs beat Acuna's marks of .572 and 29, respectively.
The NL MVP race has taken a WILD turn 👀— ClutchPoints Betting (@CPBetting) August 28, 2023
Three weeks ago:
Ronald Acuna Jr.: -1000
Mookie Betts: +4000
Mookie Betts: -145
Ronald Acuna Jr.: +165 pic.twitter.com/kFOwrbNOJd
That's not to say things can't change. Acuna could surge past Betts in slugging, though homers might be tough. The Braves star is also on pace to threaten the record for most single-season stolen bases (Jose Reyes, 78, set in 2007) in the last 20 years.
My sagest advice? Find a sportsbook where Betts is the slight underdog and pump your bankroll into it. You'll be sweating through early October, but the Dodgers star can take it home.
Pick: Betts To Win NL MVP
Blue Jays To Make or Miss Playoffs
|Date||Make Playoffs||Miss Playoffs|
|Current Odds (Aug. 29)||-115||-115|
It wasn't supposed to be this difficult, but this is Toronto's reality. A deep AL wild-card race has pushed the Jays to the fringes, and without the dominant offense of years past, Canada's club is on the outside looking in.
The Toronto Blue Jays are 2.5 games out of a playoff spot. 😬 pic.twitter.com/CNNDgF9f5R— theScore (@theScore) August 27, 2023
The dream isn't dead yet, though. The pick'em line is well-placed, as Baseball Reference estimates the Blue Jays (2.5 games back) have a 53.6% chance of making the postseason.
Kudos to you if you bet the Jays to miss the playoffs back in March; that bet is sitting pretty right now. If you're gung-ho about placing a new bet, I'd wait for the market to simmer. Wait for the Blue Jays to kick up in one direction, and then bet the opposite. If Toronto wins a few, fade them. If they lose, back them.
But you guys want answers, I imagine. So, right now, with pick'em odds, I'd recommend betting Toronto to miss the playoffs.
Pick: Blue Jays To Miss Playoffs
AL West Odds
Currently, the Astros (+135) are narrow favorites to win the AL West, followed by the Mariners (+150) and Rangers (+200).
Keep an eye on Seattle.
|Date||Odds To Win NL West|
Ooh-wee, Mariners fans, I hope you doubled down on your bets in July. It might've been hard to see all the positivity back then, as the M's were 10 games back on July 1, but Seattle has since erased the deficit and reclaimed the lead.
The Mariners are 37-14 since July 1, but they'll now have to stave off the Astros and Rangers the rest of the way. Texas is in a nosedive right now, but the 'Stros are always tough.
MLB players with at least 45 hits, 30 RBI, 15 XBH & 10 SB in a single month (since RBI became an official stat in 1920):— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) August 29, 2023
George Sisler, Browns (July 1927)
Julio Rodríguez, @Mariners (August 2023) pic.twitter.com/bdm4ZCAtSG
In the end, I'm still riding Seattle. Like the Blue Jays, the M's pitching staff is excellent; it was always a matter of how the offense chipped in. Since July 1, Julio Rodriguez has a 1.010 OPS, while J.P. Crawford, Cal Raleigh, and Eugenio Suarez are all toting an .820 OPS or higher. Everything is clicking at the perfect time.
Pick: Mariners To Win AL West