Home runs are expected to fly at an elevated rate with Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber ready to join Anthony Rizzo for a full season in 2016.
So much so, online sports books have those three Cubs listed among the favorites to lead the major leagues in home runs. To be sure, we’re not encouraging betting here, but the lines on these things often reflect a distilled public opinion on which players are most likely to hit a whole lot of homers.
According to OddsShark.com, Giancarlo Stanton (7-1) of the Marlins opened with the best odds to win the regular season home run crown on January 19. But down the list, Kris Bryant (20-1), Anthony Rizzo (25-1) and Kyle Schwarber (33-1) represented a trio of Cubs lurking with decent odds that could lead to a favorable payout to potential wagerers.
However, the line has moved a bit since its opening.
As of January 24, BetOnline has improved Bryant’s odds to 16-1 — which puts him tied with Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion for the fifth best odds on the site. Clearly, the wagering public saw the kind of value Bryant possessed at 20-1 and bet him down to among the favorites.
There has been no early movement on the lines for Rizzo, who has led the Cubs in home runs in each of the last three years, or Schwarber.
For what it’s worth, Steamer projects Stanton and Chris Davis (12-1) to finish tied with 38 home runs in 2016 with Rizzo (32) finishing sixth, Bryant (31) tied for seventh and Schwarber (25) tied for 26th. Further, ZiPS’ recent projections have Schwarber and Rizzo projected to finish tied with a team-leading 32 home runs, while Bryant misses joining the 30-homer club by just one.
All things considered, having three batters projected to finish in the top 30 in homers in all of baseball is nothing to look past. Especially if you’re an opposing pitcher or someone who will spend their summer sitting in the bleachers.