Ohio’s two MLB teams, the Cleveland Guardians and Cincinnati Reds, are going into the 2023 season with very different expectations from their fan bases … and from oddsmakers.
Thanks to the launch of Ohio sports betting statewide on Jan. 1, baseball fans in the state will, for the first time, have the opportunity to wager on their favorite MLB teams inside state lines. Ohioans can place wagers using several online or retail sportsbooks operating in the Buckeye State.
With MLB’s Opening Day coming up on Thursday, March 30, here’s a look at the futures market at Ohio sportsbooks for both the Reds and Guardians, from the odds on the teams making and winning the World Series to the odds on individual player awards.
Ohio baseball fans hoping for the best after 2022 seasons
Cleveland enters the season with a lot of hope and with it good value when it comes to Guardians odds. Coming off of a surprisingly successful 2022 campaign in which 17 rookies made their major league debut that’s not a surprise. Cleveland’s young team handily won the American League Central last year and they went on to win the Wild Card playoff series against Tampa Bay before losing to the Yankees in their Division Series matchup.
Anchored by superstar third baseman José Ramírez, the Guardians are returning much of its young core, while adding power hitter Josh Bell and veteran catcher Mike Zunino to the mix in the offseason.
This year, fans betting on the Reds can only hope to see the kind of surprising success the young talent on the Guardians generated last season. Since the end of the 2021 season, Cincinnati has been firmly in rebuild mode, trading away every experienced player of value outside of the team’s cornerstone vet Joey Votto.
The Reds ended the 2022 season with 100 losses, tying Pittsburgh for last place in the National League Central division. It was only the second time in franchise history that the team had notched 100 or more losses.
In the “everything must go” frenzy, the Reds picked up some good young prospects to go with some of the promising young talent already in their system.
Young pitchers Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene showed promise during their first extended stints in the majors last year, while shortstop Elly De La Cruz’s explosive batting performance in the minors has Reds fans salivating to see what he can do with the big league squad.
Reds, Guardians face very different win total over/unders
In 2022, Cleveland won the AL Central with a 92-70 record. The sportsbooks see the team doing pretty well this season, though perhaps not quite as well as they did last year.
FanDuel has the odds that Cleveland will win under 86.5 games at +104, with the over at -128. DraftKings and BetMGM both have -115 odds the Guardians will win under 86.5 games and -105 odds they’ll win over that amount.
In 2022, the Reds won just 62 games to go along with those 100 losses.
The sportsbooks seem to think Cincinnati will do ever-so-slightly better this year.
On most of the major sportsbooks, the over/under on the Reds’ regular season win total is at 65.5 games. DraftKings and BetMGM have the Reds’ win-total over odds at -120 and the under at +100.
Cleveland has good odds to make the playoffs
Sportsbooks seem to think the Guardians have a good chance of making the playoffs again this season, either by winning the AL Central again or by claiming a wild-card berth.
Before spring training, most sportsbooks had the Guardians and White Sox with even odds to win the division this season. But Cleveland has since moved ahead to become the favorite. The Twins have also gained some momentum, with the odds of Minnesota winning the division currently better than the Sox’s odds.
It’s looking like it’ll be a three-way battle for the division crown. BetMGM currently has the Guardians’ odds of winning the AL Central at +140, followed by the Twins (+200) and White Sox (+240).
On a straightforward bet of “yes” or “no” on whether the Guardians make the playoffs, most sportsbooks have good odds that Cleveland indeed makes it back into the postseason this year. FanDuel has odds at -150 that Cleveland will make the playoffs and +122 odds that the team will not play beyond the regular season.
Will Cleveland win the World Series for the first time since 1948 this season? The Guardians are in the middle of the pack when it comes to World Series victory odds, well behind favorites like the Astros, Yankees, Dodgers, Padres and Mets.
DraftKings currently has Cleveland’s odds of winning the World Series at +2200, while FanDuel and BetMGM put the odds at +2500. PointsBet Sportsbook, Caesars and BetRivers have the Guardians’ odds of being World Series champs at +3000.
Cincinnati making the playoffs is a long shot that’s not likely to pay off
The Reds have far longer odds of playing beyond the regular season, of course. But for those who want to take a chance on a long-shot, Cincinnati’s odds of winning the NL Central this year are at +6000 on FanDuel and DraftKings. Meanwhile, BetRivers and Caesars have odds at +10000 that the Reds will win the National League pennant.
If you want to take the Reds to win it all, FanDuel and BetMGM have Cincinnati with +25000 odds of claiming their first World Series title since 1990. They’re among the lowest of underdogs, with only Colorado, Washington and Oakland having longer odds.
Guardians in the mix for individual player awards
The anchor of the Guardians team, José Ramirez, dealt with a hand injury last year that hindered his numbers in the second half of the season. But Ramirez appears to be back at full strength.
If he stays healthy this season and lives up to expectations — which are bolstered even more by him hitting in front of newcomer Josh Bell in the lineup — Ramirez could have a legit shot at American League MVP.
While Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Judge and Mike Trout currently have the best odds of winning the AL MVP, Ramirez isn’t too far down the list from them.
FanDuel and DraftKings have Ramirez’s AL MVP odds at +1500.
Three AL Cy Young Award winners in the past decade have come out of Cleveland. Corey Kluber (now with the Red Sox) claimed the award in 2014 and 2017, while the team’s current ace, Shane Bieber, added “Cy Young winner” to his resume in 2020.
Bieber is currently among the favorites to claim the AL Cy Young in 2023. DraftKings has Bieber’s odds at +950 to win the honor, good for fifth best odds overall among AL pitchers.
Bieber’s teammate and the Guardians No. 2 starter Triston McKenzie has also been in the mix this preseason as a possible AL Cy Young winner. The young McKenzie has +2500 odds at BetMGM to become a first-time Cy Young winner at the end of the season.
In the race for the AL Rookie of the Year trophy, Guardians catcher Bo Naylor (younger brother of Cleveland first baseman Josh Naylor) has the best shot, according to the sportsbooks. Though he’s behind free-agent signee Mike Zunino on the depth chart and is scheduled to start the season in Triple-A, Zunio has the 13th best shot to be AL ROY according DraftKings, which has his odds at +3000.
Reds player awards odds not so rosy
Reflective of the overall dismal view of the 2023 Reds’ chances, few Cincinnati players are in the conversation for individual awards going into the season.
No Reds are anywhere near the top of the list of NL MVP favorites. Reds veteran Joey Votto (who won NL MVP honors in 2010 and just missed winning again in 2017) and 2021 NL Rookie of the Year Jonathan India both have +20000 odds of winning NL MVP this season at Caesars.
Reds Opening Day starter Hunter Greene and No. 2 starter Nick Lodolo are Cincinnati’s best shots at having their first NL Cy Young winner since 2020, when Trevor Bauer won it. But they’re far from favorites. BetMGM has Greene and Lodolo both at +4000 odds of winning a Cy Young this season.
The Reds have a better chance of having an NL Rookie of the Year winner this year. The Reds No. 1 prospect, Elly De La Cruz, is on the injured list and will start the season in the minors again. Still, the exciting young Red currently has +1500 odds of winning NL ROY honors at DraftKings and BetMGM.
Following an impressive showing in spring training, Spencer Steer is looking like he’ll be the Reds everyday third baseman. Steer is also in the NL ROY mix; BetRivers has him at +1400 odds of winning the ROY trophy, while Caesars and FanDuel currently have him with +2500 odds.