By: Travis Pulver
Best Bets for MLB Most Hits Odds: Batter Up!
This is going to be an interesting season for baseball and baseball fans, especially the stat nerds. With only 60 regular-season games, hitters will not have time to warm-up or recover from a slump or two. They have to hit the ground running.
Usually, guys have time to struggle and fall into a slump or two–but not this year. This year there will not be time to recover. At the same time, if anyone happens to heat up for a sustained period, an unexpected player could lead the league in hits this year.
So—what does that mean for gamblers? It means you cannot just look at the usual suspects. Those guys will likely be in the running like they always are. No, this year, you have to consider just about everybody.
But, thankfully, sportsbooks are not giving every player odds.
MLB Most Hits Odds: Who is It Going to Be?
The hard part here is figuring out where even to start. Should you target guys with high batting averages? Not necessarily because they might not have had as many at-bats, which could inflate his batting average.
How about guys who do not face a lot of star-studded pitching rotations? Again—not necessarily. A low ERA does not necessarily equate to fewer hits. It could, but it could also mean a pitcher is backed up by incredible fielders.
What about factoring rotation changes? Or hitter-friendly parks?
You could study the data sheets and crunch the numbers until they drive you nuts. If that happens to be your thing, then go for it. But in the end, you will come back to who the best and most reliable hitters are—guys like Jose Altuve (+1200; odds via DraftKings).
The thought of betting on a member of the Houston Astros may sound ludicrous. But with or without trash cans, Altuve is a proven hitter. He’s won three batting titles (yes, one was during ’17, but that wasn’t his most productive year). Since 2014, he has hit .300+ every season but last year (when he hit .298).
Teams are going to be throwing their nastiest stuff when they face the Astros this season. That could make it tough on Altuve this season, but he could also be motivated to prove himself this year.
Last season’s champ, Whit Merrifield (+1200), is certainly worth considering. He has hit right around .300 the last two seasons and recorded an MLB-best 206 hits last year. If he can match the rate he had last season through 60-games (73), he will be in the conversation this season.
Had DJ LeMahieu (+1500) played in more than 145 games last season, he could have been the hits champ. In the games he did play, he hit 201. It is not unreasonable to think he could have gotten at least ten more hits in 17 games.
MLB Most Hit Odds: Will Some Former MVPs Have a Chance to Grab the Crown?
Through 60 games last season, he had 69 hits.
Last year’s NL MVP, Cody Bellinger (+5000), will probably be a popular choice. Pitchers can’t pitch around him with the lineup the Dodgers have, and he did hit .400 through the first 49 games last season (67 hits). Through 60 games, he had 79 hits.
However, since he finished with 170 hits and a .305 average over 162 games, we know that he is prone to streaks. His previous two seasons he hit in the .260’s. So, was last year the new norm or an isolated event?
Colorado hitters could be popular choices since they are in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the league. Sure enough, two of them finished inside the top ten for hits last season, Charlie Blackmon (182) and Nolen Arenado (185). Arenado is one of the favorites at +1200; Blackmon’s odds are a bit longer, +3300.
Rafael Devers (+1300) is worth a look since he did record the second-most hits last season (201). But in his short career, he has not shown a lot of consistency. However, he did have 72 hits in the first 60 games last season (with 40 coming in May).
Anyone that finished inside the top ten last season is worth considering. Xander Bogaerts finished the year in fourth with 190 hits for Boston and has pretty good odds this season (+2200). Ozzie Albies (+2000) could lead the league if the young second baseman can continue improving. He went from 167 hits in ’18 to 189 last season.
Ketel Marte (+1500) recorded a respectable 187 hits last year and hit .329. But when you look at the rest of his career, last season seems to be the outlier.
Francisco Lindor (+1500) has been a consistent hitter for the last four seasons, with 170-183 hits each year. Trea Turner (+2000) hit at a pretty good rate last season (.298), but since he only played in 122 games, he wasn’t really in the race last season (155 hits).
Leaning towards proven hitters is one way to go, but you may be overlooking some promising and up-and-coming hitters in doing so. We knew Mookie Betts was a solid hitter during his second season in Boston, but we did not think he would record 214 hits and lead the league.
When it comes to who might record the most hits, the bottom line is that the race is wide open. Three guys are tied for the best odds at +1200, which only gives them a 7.69 percent chance. What does this mean?
Simple— anyone can win.