The sarcastic, sinister side of me has been lured in by the Detroit Tigers season-long prop bet with the Kansas City Royals. Anything involving the Tigers is a good thing.
"Coming up with head to head series bets we think will add a lot of spice to the baseball season," said Caesars Palace director of race and sports Chuck Esposito. "There are plenty of good rivalries that I think we captured that will attract a lot of action. The response has already been better for this one than our others thus far."
The Tigers opened at even against the Royals, then went up to +200 as the wiseguys poured the money in on KC. Hey, if the Tigers can just win this series. Who cares about the rest of the season!
The most popular rivalry wager, of course, involves the Yankees and Red Sox. And why not, the teams drew over 7,000 fans in Fort Myers for a meaningless exhibition game just because it’s the Yankees and Red Sox. Maybe Pedro would have thrown a ball at Giambi.
The Angels and Dodgers are involved in several matchups, as are the A’s and Cubs. Handicapping these props will be a challenge. Some might go back to past history, not a bad idea. But with teams changing so much from year to year thanks to free agency and trying to balance the team budget, it’s harder to put much faith into what occurred last season.
There are a few matchups that catch our eye, but baseball is pretty much playing hunches according to starting pitching and bullpen strength.
Red Sox vs Yankees: We like Boston. The two teams are so even that it’s worth the nice payout to take the dog. Boston’s pitching staff is a bit stronger and so is the passion. Of course, that doesn’t apply to the playoffs. In the regular season, the curse subsides. RED SOX.
Dodgers vs Padres: Los Angeles always seems to have trouble with San Diego and this season should be more of the same. The Pads have added David Wells to a pitching staff full of live arms. Brian Giles, if he stays healthy, is the stabilizing force in the middle of the lineup that San Diego has lacked. Plus, the new ballpark. That’s always a boost. LA may be a sleeper, but they’ll do better against San Francisco. PADRES.
Cubs vs Cardinals: This Cubs teams is on a mission that should carry them past the hated Cardinals, which always seems to get burned by injuries to the pitching staff. Prior and Wood are the best young 1-2 pitching combo in baseball and first baseman Derrek Lee was a steal coming over from the world champion Marlins. CUBS.
Phillies vs Braves: Boy, if the Phils don’t win the East this year Bowa is toast! This is the season to get the Braves, as they dumped some top players to ease their back account. Losing Sheffield and Javy Lopez will change to makeup of the offense. The Braves now go back to playing tight games, instead of winning with the longball. The Phils, on the other hand, have big-bopper Jim Thome and a new ballpark. Like the Pads, this will help. PHILLIES.