Sometimes all you can do is look forward because the past is irrelevant. That’s the position the Washington Nationals are in as they head into the 2022 MLB season. Looking back on 2021 doesn’t help because the roster has undergone so much turnover.
This is a team in a rebuild they haven’t had the guts to call a rebuild, but here it is less than three years after winning the World Series, staring at an uncertain future and coming off two last-place finishes.
Fans still have star 23-year-old outfield Juan Soto to marvel at, but unfortunately, this isn’t the NBA, where one superstar can make a team playoff-worthy. The Nats are headed to another last-place finish, most likely, but a smart MLB betting strategy for this team could grow your bank account and help you enjoy the baseball season.
This season, Nationals fans will be able to place wagers at a retail sportsbook at Nationals Parks that was opened by BetMGM. Maryland online sports betting still has not been launched, but the retail sportsbook at Nationals Park is one of many retail sportsbooks in Maryland where sports bettors can place their wagers on baseball this season.
Another place to wager: Bingo World awarded Maryland sports betting license
Juan Soto MVP Betting Odds
Last season, Soto finished second in National League MVP voting, to former Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.
Soto has had a historic run over the last two seasons, slashing .322/.471/.572 in that time. In each of his four MLB seasons, Soto has posted an OBP north of .400, and he’s led baseball in getting on base in each of the last two campaigns. His ability to reach base so frequently at such a young age is unheard of.
Most Seasons of .420+ OBP, Through Age 22 (since 1900)
- Ted Williams — 3
- Juan Soto — 2
- Mel Ott — 2
- Jimmie Foxx — 2
- Willie Wells — 2
Every other player on that list other than Soto is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, sportsbooks don’t offer futures bets on Hall of Fame induction, but we can wager on Soto’s age 23 season and look at his MVP chances and other MLB betting opportunities:
- Soto to Win NL MVP in 2022: +360 (FanDuel)
- Soto to Lead MLB in Home Runs: +3000 (Caesars)
- Soto to Lead MLB in Runs Scored: +800 (BetMGM)
Raking in the cash: Maryland casino revenue reached nearly $163 million in February
Old Man Nelson Cruz
The oldest player to win the home run title was Darrell Evans, who was 38 when he led the American League with 40 HR in 1985. Nelson Cruz, who turns 42 in July, is projected by Baseball Reference to hit 31 homers in 2022. Could Old Man Cruz swing his way to history? People have been counting out Cruz for years.
You can get +5000 on Nelson Cruz to win the NL home run crown at Caesars Sportsbook.
Cade Cavalli: Rookie of the Year Candidate
The Nats 2022 rotation is patched together with a few veteran arms after No. 1 Patrick Corbin, who lost 16 games last season. The team was so desperate that it invited veteran Anibal Sanchez back for another go-around. Add in the uncertainty of Stephen Strasburg, who has toed the rubber seven times in the majors the last two seasons, and you have a very hazy, scary-bad rotation that could leave the underwhelming bullpen in bad shape game-after-game.
An ace up the Washington sleeve is Cade Cavalli, the franchise’s top pitching prospect. The 23-year old is angling for a spot in the rotation, but the front office might decide to have the right-hander start the season in Triple-A. Cavalli has a fastball that’s been clocked at 97 miles per hour, and he complements his heater with a nasty slider.
The “Tulsa Tornado” doesn’t need to make 30 starts to be a Rookie of the Year candidate. Even 15-20 good starts could put him in the mix. While many experts will have their eyes on Hunter Greene in Cincinnati, and MacKenzie Gore of the Padres, the hopeless Nats might be the best place for a rookie pitcher to germinate in 2022.
Currently, FanDuel lists Cavalli as +4000 to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award. That’s worth a $20 bet that, if it wins, would pay $800.
Prediction For The Nationals In 2022
The season wins total market has the Nationals at around 69.5 for 2022. I think this team will lose more games than they did in 2021, probably topping the 100-loss mark.
Soto is baseball’s best all-around hitter. If he wished to be more aggressive and swing at borderline pitches, he could challenge for the triple crown, but he’s bound to take 140+ free passes. As he matures and fills out, even more, his power will only get scarier.
The sportsbooks have it right. Soto is the favorite to win the NL MVP. With odds of +360 at Caesars, you won’t break the bank on a $100 wager this early in the season, but it’s a smart bet.