Ironically, Astros bettors will be keeping their eye on the ball in April
I believe it's a timing issue. The gap between the Super Bowl and NCAA College Basketball March Madness couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Houston Astros breaking story of their confirmed cheating scandal during the 2017 post-season MLB playoffs.
Who would have ever thought signal stealing would cause such an uproar in the U.S. sports community? We've dealt with the "steroids era", various drug-related problems and of course domestic abuse cases that have plagued other sports as well. But somehow, the Astros sign stealing headlines have created a monstrous stir of controversy, fueled by rival players and other team management.
A week has gone by during the sports calendar and sports betting calendar's "dead period". That is the fallout time after the Super Bowl and the six weeks before the NCAA Tournament begins. The question remained how can we fuel some betting interest into the gap? Thank you, Houston Astros, for a minor portion by contributing 2020 Cheating Revenge Props.
William Hill created two prop bets on Monday for how many times Astros players will be hit by a pitch this season. The bets were in response to many MLB players on-record comments how angry they were receiving the confirmed news. Also, how dissatisfied they seemed with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s judgement and punishment to date. In response, in a 45-minute sit-down interview, Manfred said he intends to release a memo to the other teams, warning them of severe punishment for hitting Astros players.
The season total for how many times Astros players will be plunked at WH opened at 83.5, and for those interested in betting on the exact number of instances, the range of 81 to 90 leading the way as a +300 favorite.
"The trading team and I are always looking for unique angles that we think will interest sports fans," William Hill’s Director of Trading Nick Bogdanovich said in a statement. "The Astros are the talk of baseball, so we wanted to make props that we felt were relevant and timely."
I don't have the exact stats on how often batters get hit per game. However, doing the math for a 162-game season, projecting an Over/Under of 83.5 or roughly one batter every other game seems rather excessive. Keep in mind a player is awarded first base for a hit by pitch and while many baseball games are close, this seems unordinary. Perhaps hitting two or more in a bench-clearing rout of the Astros keeps the number flowing.
If indeed you do want to attack this wager and bet over, I would jump in ASAP as like any other Totals wager, the public will likely drive this number up as publicity and anger continues. And like any other wager, it's best to shop around for value. For example, if you want to bet over, I noticed preferred sportsbook, BetOnline has the total listed for this wager currently at 80.5.
Bad Guy Betting
A large majority of the backlash is being vented from New York and Los Angeles where both the Yankees and Dodgers players and management have not been shy venting their feelings. Both teams strongly feel their fortunes might have changed in those 2017 playoffs and World Series meetings with a fair shake.
The Yankees are not convinced the systematic ploy of stealing signs didn't improve further for the Astros last season. You may remember Astros infielder Jose Altuve's memorable sixth game walk-off home run that ended the series and sent the Yankees back to New York.
For those bettors that are way too impatient waiting through an entire season to cash, the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas initiated a first Astros player to get hit by pitch in the 2020 regular season prop. Here is their current list. Check the list of top online sportsbooks for the likely suggestion of a very similar proposition wager.
|Player to be hit first||Odds|
|Field (All others)||50/1|
No direct wagering recommendation here. However, Altuve would be the likeliest target, at least intentionally. According to rumor, during that AL Championship sixth game walk-off home run celebration, he loudly warned Astros teammates NOT to tear-off his jersey, fearing it would expose a hidden buzzer device. During questioning Altuve mildly admitted he was simply ashamed of exposing a bad tattoo on his chest.
Note the Astros' first road series begins on March 30 against the Oakland Athletics, featuring Mike Fiers. You may recall it was Fiers who was the whistle-blower on the entire sign-stealing scandal.
The final prop bet asks if an Astros hitter will charge the mound after being hit by a pitch this season. Yes has -400 odds while No has +300 odds. Although I haven't spotted it yet, watch for a prop bet of "where that HBP will occur". Will it be at the batter's head, his back or pinpoint genitalia? One thing is a lock . . . both benches will empty in a punch frenzy free-for-all to be shown 1000 times later during ESPN Sports Center.
Here's hoping something interesting happens in the world of sports over the next four weeks before the start of the NCAA Tournament as we enter March Madness. Until then, focusing headlines upon baseball sign stealing is about as interesting and compelling as a scandal involving midget wrestling. Excuse me, I guess it's called Little People Wrestling now.