2023 MLB Second Half Bets: The House Versus Straus

by Mark Strausberg
2023 NFL Futures Bets

Today is the last day of the All-Star Break and if it were not for the Genesis Scottish Open, I'd be absolutely jonesing for sports action. And that's where the 2023 MLB Second Half Bets: The House Versus Straus article comes in nicely.

Because I think I have SAD. No, not seasonal affect disorder, which is a very serious mental condition. No, I have sports absence disorder. I definitely start to get depressed and very anxious when there are no sports to wager on in this country. Thankfully there are still some futures I can bet on for the 2023 MLB second half.

I encourage you to look around. In addition to the bets I discuss below, there are some other bets I considered making especially on other sportsbooks. This is the slowest sports day of the year in this country. I'd be willing to bet your sportsbook is giving out some kind of bonus or promotion to encourage you to bet today!

In other words, be sure to shop around! Either way, let's get into some of the bets that caught my eye for the 2023 MLB Second Half.

*Note that all these props come from the DraftKings Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.

2023 MLB Second Half Bets: The House Versus Straus

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World Series First Time Winner: +270

This bet caught my attention and looks like a very "fun" bet to make. Who doesn't love to see a team FINALLY win the big one? And honestly, I'm not sure I like this bet but I'm very intrigued by it. We are essentially getting six teams to win it this year: Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and Tampa Bay Rays. (yep, per the tweet above, the Rays actually celebrated just making it to the Series in 2008)

You can throw the Rockies out, that's obvious. The Padres and Brewers are still sort of in the hunt for the wildcard, but I honestly can't see them beating out a suddenly hot Phillies team let alone the six NL teams who would be in the NL playoffs if they started today. Even if they can somehow sneak into the playoffs, I can't see them knocking off the Dodgers or the Reds, let alone the Braves. So ixnay on the NL side.

That brings us to the AL side. I do like Seattle to better their current .506 record and possibly jump over the Red Sox. But I don't see the current Wild Card teams Houston and Toronto giving up 46 win-percentage points to Seattle to allow them into the playoffs. Thus, that brings us to Texas and Tampa Bay. Both are currently leading their divisions. Perhaps they fall down to the Wild Card, but I think both make the playoffs.

And if my family's life depended on me picking one of two AL teams to represent the American League in the World Series? I'd pick Texas and Tampa Bay and my heart rate really wouldn't jump a single beat. And we know I have already made bets on the Rays to win the World Series.

The Braves and Dodgers meanwhile are +330 and +550 respectively to win it all, while the Rays are +600 and the Rangers are +1300 to finally get that elusive title. The Braves look like an absolute juggernaut right now. I'd say I have trouble seeing them losing to anyone in a seven-game series. But I remember the 1990 World Series where the Oakland As looked like twice the team that the Cincinnati Reds were. Not only did Oakland lose that Series, but they got swept as well. The point is upsets absolutely do happen.

So maybe the AL can beat the NL this year, even though the NL won the All-Star game this year? But here's the thing. Let's assume that the Rangers and Rays were both an even +600 to win the Series. We should be getting this bet more like +300. And I understand, the books are lowering the payout because they are allowing for the outside chance of those other couple teams who are not mathematically eliminated. But we are still talking about a negative EV in my calculations, especially with the Rangers at +1300.

The "first-timer" bet looks fun. But you'd be better off keeping your betting unit away from that bet and putting half a unit each on the Rays and Rangers to win the Series.

Ronald Acuna Jr. 40+ HRs and 40+ Stolen Bases: +175

Now this bet I like a lot more. I actually made it over a week ago when the odds were slightly higher and Acuna had not stolen 40 bases yet. He now has 41 and is halfway there.

We did know the HR part was always going to be the tougher part of this bet for Acuna. So is he on pace for 40 HRs? He has 21 HRs while having played 89 games, for a HR rate of .24 or just short of one every four games. The Braves have 73 games remaining. At his current rate, he should finish with 18 more homers, and he would therefore fall one short.

Uh-oh.

However, I think he actually improves on his season rate. He got off to a slow start in April, hitting just four that month. But he has eight HRs over his last 30 days (or 22 regular season games). That is a rate of  .36 HRs per game. We now multiply that rate by 73 games and we get 26.55 HRs and he finishes with 47 HRs.

I think that's a little optimistic. But he still has a series at Coors Stadium in late August, which is not going to hurt. My guess is he actually finishes with more like 42 HRs. But 42 makes it a winner. And given the extra 75 points over even money? I say make the bet.

But that's not the only bet involving Acuna I would make.

MLB Player Awards Parlay

I'd advise you to bet Acuna to win NL MVP as well, but at -330, there's not a ton of value in that bet. However, if you are one of those folks who can drop say $33K to win $10K, I'd say do it. But I'm not even dropping $330 to win $100.

Now, that might be because I have Acuna to win the NL MVP in a number of different parlays. And I would recommend you include that leg in a few different parlays to boost your payout. Unfortunately, DraftKings will not allow you to do that. But FanDuel will! With that in mind, how does this sound?

Parlay of Acuna NL MVP (-330), Zac Gallen (+250) to win NL Cy Young and Josh Jung AL ROY (+135): +971

So for $10, you can win nearly $100 by taking the frontrunners in each of the three award categories above. Unless you think Gallen and Jung fall off in the second half, that sounds like a pretty smart bet to me!

Or you could always round-robin it too at +428. For example, put $10 on all three combinations of any two of those happening (at a cost of $30) for a maximum payout of over $128. That requires all three to happen to win $128, but you will more than your $30 back if any two of those happen.

Or pump up your potential payout with a bet on Gunnar Henderson to win AL ROY at +290. Henderson was actually one of the preseason favorites. And while his stat line on the year is not as impressive as Jung's, Henderson has been much better since the start of June. He's slashing .303/.350/.578 and ranks among the AL leaders in homers, slugging and OPS. He was also voted the AL Rookie of the Month in June, so don't be surprised if he closes that gap.

Lots of options here, but there is just too much value not to make a MLB Awards Parlay as the 2023 MLB second half gets underway!


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