World Series props

By: Chuck Harter | Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Alex Rodriguez is favored to be the World Series MVP.

After hammering away at sides and totals since April, it’s great to finally handicap some proposition wagers now that the World Series set to begin on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

The change of pace has also done wonders on a domestic level for yours truly, who’s been neck-deep in websites, spreadsheets, and my MLB digital cable package since the World Baseball Classic. That’s because my significant other can actually relate to some of the props on the board for the Fall Classic.

Mainly, how many times will Kate Hudson be shown during the Game 1 broadcast? The blond starlet would figure to get plenty of screen time if she simply decided to show up in the plush seats behind the Yankees dugout. But let’s remember this is A-Rod’s squeeze we’re talking about here. I like the under (+225) on the 2 1/2-times number set by oddsmakers. However, if Rodriguez lights it up in the opener, FOX could glue the camera to her.

On to baseball-related props available for bettors, and there’s plenty of them out there if you’re willing to shop around. Some World Series prop wagers grabbing my attention appear below.

Who will have a lower ERA?

Cliff Lee is a +120 underdog in his matchup with CC Sabathia (-150) for this prop, and there’s value considering Lee has a 0.74 ERA in the playoffs. That’s the best mark ever for pitchers with at least three starts in the postseason. Sabathia is rolling with a 1.19 ERA so far in the playoffs, but he shouldn’t be the chalk here. Yes, Lee hasn’t faced the Yankees lineup yet, but Sabathia hasn’t matched up with the Phillies, either.

Pedro Martinez is also priced as a +120 dog in his pairing with A.J. Burnett (-150), and the former looks like the better bet. Martinez has pitched on the big stage before, and could only get one start in the series. Pedro shut out the Dodgers over seven innings in Game 2 of the NLCS, and while he’ll allow New York to score on Thursday, he still pitches effectively when rested. Burnett will likely have to throw on three days rest in Game 5, and has a 4.42 ERA in the postseason.

Will there be a blown save?

If Lee and Martinez are going to have a lower ERA than Sabathia and Burnett, how are the Yankees going to win the World Series? The advantage New York has in the bullpen (not to mention in Andy Pettitte’s start against the struggling Cole Hamels) is how.

The Phillies’ relievers have been surprisingly stable in the playoffs, putting up a 3.23 ERA. Having said that, count on Brad Lidge or someone else blowing at last one game for Philadelphia backers in the Fall Classic. So, at +225, there’s too much value in the prop to pass it up. Mariano Rivera could also blow a save for the Yankees, but peace in the Middle East could theoretically happen this week as well.

Who will be World Series MVP?

Picking the MVP is a function of capping the winning team. If you’re leaning towards the favored Yankees, Rodriguez is the obvious choice as a +350 chalk. That’s pretty good value for someone hitting .438 with five big flies and 12 runs batted in so far in the postseason. That said, don’t you want to see A-Rod go through an entire playoffs without choking before trusting your money with him?

ALCS MVP Sabathia (+650) is a sharper play, and you’d have to think he’d be huge if New York goes all the way. If you’re looking for value, Robinson Cano (+1200) and Johnny Damon (+1400) are good options.

Lee is on the board at +1200, but he’s fools gold because he’s likely to pitch only twice. Even if he continues his dominance, there’d have to be a dearth of offense for the rest of the series to see Lee win the award.

NLCS MVP Howard is the favorite among Phillies regulars at +650, but what about the guy hitting in front of him? Chase Utley (+1000) hasn’t been stellar in the playoffs, but he’ll see plenty of good pitches with the big fella behind him. Utley is Philadelphia’s best player, and he’ll need to play that way for the Phils to cash the upset. 

 
 
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