As the Super Bowl was being played this week in Glendale, Arizona, Guardians and Reds players were starting to arrive a few miles away in Goodyear to begin loosening muscles for the 2023 MLB season.
And the arrival of spring training has special significance in Ohio this year, as it’s the first time legal futures bets can be placed on how the state’s two teams will fare.
The state’s 17 mobile sportsbooks don’t need to see any performances by players on either team at Goodyear Ballpark to post odds on how many games the teams will win and their chances for postseason play. Those betting options are already up, and naturally — based on their levels of success last year — one team is rated far more highly than the other.
The question for Ohio bettors is, first, whether the oddsmakers have erred in judging one of the teams too favorably or harshly, and second, whether it’s worth tying up money for a potential payout seven-plus months from now.
Also, the odds serve as a good reminder of how it’s valuable to be a customer of multiple sportsbooks in order to take advantage of their differing opinions on the teams. OH Bets has done the work of scouting the sites to examine their variations to save you time, as we explain below — with further reports on the teams and odds to come before they start their MLB seasons on March 30.
Guardians set up for repeat in Central
The Guardians surprised everyone last year by going 92-70, winning the AL Central, and nearly winning a divisional series against the New York Yankees. That was despite being the youngest team in baseball.
Cleveland Guardians AL Central +160 pic.twitter.com/fcARuLhM2Z
— Anfernee Simons (@tonymoneybagg) February 10, 2023
Considering what they have returning in the way of talented youngsters with seasoning under their belt — plus two veteran additions — Cleveland won’t be surprising anyone if it does well this year. That’s true even if the preseason over/under on its win total doesn’t match up to last year’s number of victories.
That o/u is mostly 86.5, but it’s up to 87.5 at BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, Barstool Sportsbook, and BetJACK. Those sites are thus best avoided by those confident the Guardians can at the very least come close to matching last year’s win total and who want to bet the over.
And there’s one site best of all for those bettors: SuperBook. It is the only sportsbook listing 85.5 as Cleveland’s number, with fair pricing at -110 either way.
To win the World Series, the Guardians are given the 12th-best or 13th-best odds by the various sites, with SuperBook again offering the best price with a return of 40/1, trailed by Caesars at 33/1. Many competitors, including PointsBet, are at 30/1 and some return even less on a successful championship bet.
SuperBook makes Cleveland 20/1 to win the AL pennant and Caesars has 16/1.
The most interesting futures bet to follow day in and day out could be on the Guardians as the near-universal favorite — though not by a large margin — to repeat as AL Central champions. BetMGM joins SuperBook in having them tied with the Chicago White Sox at odds of +160, while others give Cleveland an edge — commonly with odds of +140 to +150. FanDuel is the biggest believer in Terry Francona’s club, listing it at +125 compared to +200 for Chicago.
Whether or not you bet, all of this should bode well for Guardians fans hopeful for dominant seasons again by consistent MVP candidate Jose Ramirez and ace hurler Shane Bieber, supplemented by free agent acquisitions Josh Bell and Mike Zunino to add punch to a lineup full of should-only-get-better youngsters like Andres Gimenez, Steven Kwan, and Oscar Gonzalez.
Reds look for a rebound
OK, so coming off a 100-loss season that was the worst in decades for the franchise, Cincinnati is a different story when it comes to postseason ambitions. The nice thing about over/under win total propositions is that to be profitable for backers, a team doesn’t need to be good — it just needs to be a little better than what the oddsmakers predict.
And with an over/under most commonly listed as 65.5, the Reds have among the lowest forecasts for win totals in all of baseball. The over for them can be bet at that number with standard -110 vig at multiple sites, including FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet, and MVGBet.
To reward bettors, the Reds would still have to be a little better than last year’s 62 wins. They return their three pitchers who were among 2022’s top rookie hurlers — Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft — but any could face sophomore slumps and uncertainty abounds in the everyday lineup.
Joey Votto, recovering from a shoulder injury that ruined his 2022, returns in the last year of his guaranteed 10-year, $225 million contract, to be joined by veteran free agent outfielder Wil Myers as a lineup mainstay. Outfielder Nick Senzel will also be trying to avoid injuries that have hampered his career.
Meanwhile, a lot of unproven players will necessarily be part of the lineup — with top prospect Elly De La Cruz waiting his turn to take over at shortstop.
The sum of all that adds up to odds beginning at 150/1 on the Reds to win the World Series, with SuperBook the best outlet for that bet by going all the way to 300/1. FanDuel and BetMGM follow at 250/1.
Even just to win the NL Central, in which the St. Louis Cardinals are the odds-on favorite, Cincinnati is rated no better than 60/1, with SuperBook offering 80/1.
Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images