Could the Washington Nationals go back-to-back after winning the first World series in franchise history? Will the perennially-powerful Houston Astros challenge to win their second title in the last four years after coming agonizingly close last fall? Could the Boston Red Sox win their second World Series title in three years or the New York Yankees top all of their American League counterparts after their big free agent signing of elite pitcher Gerrit Cole?
While the 2020 MLB regular season is still months away from getting started, baseball bettors everywhere can get an early jump on the new season thanks to the handful of MLB betting predictions that you’re about to get. Let’s get started with my MVP and Cy Young picks for both leagues, followed by my six division winners and quartet of teams to reach their respective league championship series.
Early 2020 MLB Season Betting Predictions
AL MVP – Mike Trout
While Trout hit under .300 for the first time since 2015, the five-tool superstar still managed to smack a career-high 45 home runs to go along with 104 RBIs and 110 runs scored in 134 games while leading the AL in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage to win his third career MVP Award. Until further notice, this award is Trout’s to win – again!
NL MVP – Christian Yelich
The Brewers superstar outfielder finished second in the NL MVP race last season despite playing in ‘only’ 130 games. Yelich won his second straight Aaron Award as the top hitter in the NL, by leading the league in average (.329) and OBP (.429), while also leading the majors in slugging (.671) and finishing fourth in the NL with 44 homers. After becoming the first player to win the NL batting title in consecutive years since Larry Walker in 1998-99, I’m going with Yelich to win the 2020 NL MVP award.
AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander
The ageless Verlander narrowly edged out teammate Gerrit Cole for last season’s AL Cy Young award, but I believe the Houston Astros’ staff ace could very well win it again after nonperforming in the postseason. Verlander led all of baseball in wins (21) while finishing second in the AL in ERA (2.58) and racking up a career-high 300 strikeouts. With Cole facing big pressuring after signing with the Yankees, I’m going with Verlander to go back-to-back.
NL Cy Young – Stephen Strasburg
The gifted Strasburg had the best season of his roller-coaster career by going 18-6 with 3.32 ERA and 251 strikeouts. While the veteran right-hander has never quite lived up to what were Hall of Fame expectations for the first nine years of his career, everything came together for the fire-balling former phenom last season and I believe his newfound success will lead to more confidence – and the 2020 NL Cy Young!
NL East – Atlanta Braves
Sure, the Nationals caught fire in the postseason to win it all in stunning fashion last season, but Atlanta won the NL East by four games and I believe they are poised to repeat based on the fact that Washington is going to have a hangover season and the Braves have a ton of young talent and veteran leadership starting with Ronald Acuna Jr. (.280, 41 HR) and Freddie Freeman (.295, 38 HR) first and foremost.
NL West – LA Dodgers
While no one likes to see the same team winning over and over again, that’s exactly been the case for the Los Angeles Dodgers who have won an insane, seven straight NL West division titles. Despite their postseason failures, L.A. is completely loaded and will win the NL West in 2020 for the umpteenth time.
NL Central – Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers finished two games behind St. Louis in the NL Central, but their superstar team leaders missed 32 games because of injury and I believe Milwaukee would have easily won the division had Christian Yelich been healthy. No matter, the Brew Crew are my pick to get it done in 2020 while Yelich wins the NL MVP award.
AL East – NY Yankees
I’m one of those lifelong Yankees haters, but that won’t stop me from making New York the smart pick to win the competitive AL East in 2020. The Yankees won 103 games last season and that was without Gerrit Cole on their pitching staff. Now that the Yanks have a new No. 1, I’m going to back New York to win consecutive division titles, even though I’m sensing another underachieving year from former superstar slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
AL West – Houston Astros
The Astros won the AL West by 10 games over Oakland to take their third straight division title. While Houston came up small against feisty Washington in the 2019 World series, they are still loaded with elite hitters and gifted pitchers. Even the loss of sterling right-hander Gerrit Cole won’t be enough to derail Houston’s chances of winning the AL West.
AL Central – Cleveland Indians
The tribe finished eight games behind Minnesota in the AL Central, but Cleveland also made a series of nice offseason moves that netted them young talent like fleet-footed center-fielder Delino DeShields and right-hander Emmanuel Clase among others. While I’m not expecting the Twins to just fall completely apart, I like Cleveland to narrowly take the division title.
AL Pennant Matchup
Yankees vs. Astros
- 2020 AL Pennant Odds: Yankees +150 / Astros +300
If these two rivals meet in the 2020 ALCS, I’m ultimately going with Houston because of their edge in experience and pitching and their ability to put runs on the board.
NL Pennant Matchup
Braves vs. Dodgers
- 2020 AL Pennant Odds: Braves +450 / Dodgers +300
In the NL, I’m going with the improving Braves to make the big leap to pennant winners this season after taking some tough lessons on the chin in last season’s playoffs.