Spring is officially here, and the 2023 MLB season kick’s off in about a week. Are you wondering the best way to approach betting on teams so early in the season? At the GoldSheet, we took a dive into the MLB Schedule 2023 in April to determine what teams you may want to tail or fade to start their season.
For example, some teams, like the Mets, got hit hard with the injury bug this preseason, and the betting markets have already downgraded their win total and their odds of winning the NL East, the NL Pennant, and the World Series. If the Mets, who start out the season with tough matchups against the Brewers, Padres, Dodgers, and Braves, get off to a slow start, there may be an even better entry point for a futures wager.
Let’s take a look at some teams who we expect are going to have early season success, and other teams where waiting on their early results may be better for capitalizing on their futures market.
MLB Schedule 2023 Analysis – Teams to Back in April
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are the favorites to win the NL West, and according to DraftKings Sportsbook, they have the 2nd shortest odds of any National League team to win the World Series. So, while the market is already high on LA, we expect that Los Angeles will get off to a hot start, and their odds will continue to drop. The Dodgers open their season with eight games against the Diamondbacks, two games against the Rockies, three games against the Giants, six games against the Cubs, and three games against the Pirates. All five of those teams were under .500 last season, and none of those teams besides the Cubs and maybe the Diamondbacks are truly going to be better this season.
Of course, it is entirely possible that the Dodgers get off to a slow start, and some of these lesser talented teams start the season hot, but on a talent level, Los Angeles is significantly better than five of their seven April series. The teams that would give them trouble are the hobbled Mets and the Cardinals, which are tough games. Still, April should favor the Dodgers.
The Guardians are the odds favorite to win the AL Central, and they range from -135 to -175 to make the playoffs. After April, this number should rise. The Guardians open up with a tough four-game series against the Mariners; then they play them again three times, and then the Yankees three times. Besides those 10 tough games, the Guardians have a walk in the park with 17 games against teams who finished under .500 last year and may be worse this year. Cleveland gets to face off against the A’s, Nationals, Rockies, Tigers, Marlins, and Red Sox.
If Cleveland loses 3 out of four to a great Mariners team and their odds drop, that would be a great entry point to back Cleveland to win the AL Central or to make the postseason. The Guardians face the projected three worst teams in baseball within the first four weeks of the season, so getting in on their futures now would be a good idea.
MLB Schedule 2023 Analysis – Teams to Fade in April
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are not viewed very highly by the market – they are expected to finish 4th in the AL East, they are +2800 to win the AL Pennant, and they are +270 to make the playoffs. Boston does not have an overly difficult April schedule, but they will have to face stout teams like the Orioles twice, the Twins, the Brewers, and the Guardians.
Boston has a bunch of key contributors out to start the season as well, so, predictably, it could be a rough start for the Sox. With that being said, it could also be a great time to capitalize on Red Sox futures. While Boston may be a fade day in and day out, a bad April could lead to a fantastic entry point for the Red Sox in the futures market, especially if this team gets healthy.
Toronto Blue Jays
Quick disclaimer – I am not listing Toronto here because I think they are a bad team. I just think their price to make the playoffs or win the AL East will balloon too high after the first two weeks of the season. Toronto starts out against the Cardinals, Royals, Angeles, and Tigers. Unless the Blue Jays are ice-cold, they should start off the season hot.
However, after their series against the Tigers, Toronto plays the Rays, Astros, Yankees, White Sox, and Mariners. That is a night and day two-week stretch compared to who the Blue Jays face starting the season. My best advice would be not to jump the gun on any Blue Jays’ futures. Toronto may start the season 10-3, and instinctively, you may want to get in on them to win the AL East. But they would be due for regression as they play great teams afterward, so you would be paying a premium on their futures for no reason.
New York Yankees
The regular season is still a week away, but the Yankees are already dealing with a bunch of injuries to some key contributors. Harison Bader, Luis Gil, Tommy Kahnle, Micahel King, Frankie Montast, Carlos Rodon, Lou Trivino, and maybe even Nestor Cortes will not be ready for opening day. This is a huge blow for the Yankees to start the season.
To make matters worse, the Yankees have a decently difficult schedule to start off their 2023 campaign. New York starts with the Giants, but then they play the Phillies, Orioles, Guardians, and Twins. After a day off, New York then has the Angles, Blue Jays, the Twins again, then the Rangers in Texas. This is by no means an easy way to start a season.
The Yankees have the talent to make the postseason and beyond, but it may not be an as pretty start to the season for the Yankees as it was last year. This is great for bettors. The Yankees will certainly still be chalky favorites throughout April, so they will be a good fade to start the season. As April unwinds and the Yankees begin to get healthier, assuming they get off to a lackluster start, there will be a good entry point for Yankees future bets.
2023 MLB Futures Package and Betting Guide
GoldSheet has released eight futures bets for the 2023 MLB season, so you can get that package here. Also, GoldSheet teamed up with handicappers from WagerTalk and Sportsmemo to produce a 105-page MLB betting guide for the 2023 season. Check out team previews, stat logs, division odds, win totals, and more to help you prepare for the upcoming baseball season.
2023 MLB Transactions
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