The long-shot MLB betting odds you should take a chance on

There's a saying in the betting community that most seasoned players know well, but might not be as widely apparent to beginners: "Sometimes you bet the odds, not the team or player."

That's what we're getting into today — betting long-shot odds that are simultaneously both juicy but also warranted. The key to these isn't just to bet on the wildest odds — we're not here to just bet on +8000 choices and call it a day — it's to find a happy medium between heavy juice and real-life evidence of, at the very least, a chance of it coming true.

Yeah, they're juiced up because they probably won't hit — but if they do ... well, that's why we're here.

Here are my favorite MLB long-shot odds to toss a small wager on for 2022.

Home Runs: Nelson Cruz +5000

So, they're really giving us +5000 odds on a slugger who hasn't hit under 30 homers in a full season since 2013 (with four seasons of 40+ home runs in there) and who will now be playing in one of the best hitter's parks in baseball?

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Sure, he's 41, but I can't say I care too much there. Cruz has been aging like fine wine, and you gotta think he's gonna be motivated playing alongside his younger Dominican compatriot and superstar, Juan Soto? I'll take Cruz hitting 38+ homers at +5000 odds any day of the week.

SBs: Byron Buxton +3500

I mean, he has to stay healthy for a full season (ehhh, call it 150 games) eventually, right?

I'm picking 2022 to be that year, when Byron Buxton — inarguably one of the fastest players in MLB — plays a full amount of games and steals over 35 bases. The last time Buxton played 140 games he stole 29 bags — that would've ranked fifth in 2021.

Last year's stolen-base leaders — Starling Marte, Whit Merrifield, Trea Turner — are all rightly favored in 2022 but their odds are pretty chalky. Even Myles Straw (he stole 30 last season) — who isn't a big name by any means just yet in his career — is at +1400. Buxton's odds are so juiced more than likely due to his injury history, so by taking him at this point in the offseason, you're betting on him staying healthy.

At +3500 that's a risk I'm willing to take.

Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton (25) has some solid stolen base betting odds
Health is the main reason why Byron Buxton's betting odds aren't better in 2022. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Wins: Charlie Morton +4000

Betting on a 38-year-old pitcher not named Max Scherzer (who's 37, actually) to lead the league in wins is as long-shot as it gets, but Morton has several things working in his favor.

For one, he is a top-of-the-rotation starter for the reigning World Series champs who will likely be one of the league's best teams yet again. For another, Morton has found the fountain of youth in recent years, compiling double-digit wins in every full season since 2017 (I'm not counting 2020 for obvious reasons).

The advanced stats believe in Morton's late-career resurgence too; his FIP hasn't been over 3.60 since 2015.

I don't think we'll have another 20-game winner in 2022. 15-17 games should be enough, and Morton is as good as any starter who's backed by an elite lineup and strong bullpen to get to that amount.

I also LOVE Julio Urias here at +2000 and will likely place a wager on him as well.

NL MVP: Kris Bryant +4000

C'mon, Coors Field! Do what you do, baby!

Let's look at what Bryant did when he won the NL MVP in 2016: .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs, buoyed by a 100-100 season.

Lofty numbers to be sure, and no one is comparing this current Rockies team to that Cubs squad. But is it so hard to believe that the Coors Field boost — plus the lack of pressure that comes with playing for a team clearly looking towards the future — won't allow Bryant to not only bounce back, but to come close, and maybe even surpass those individual numbers from 2016?

+4000 for someone who's already won the damn thing and is now going to play in the best hitter's park in baseball? A long shot for sure, but one I'm more than willing to take a chance on.

AL MVP: Kyle Tucker: +3500

I expected these odds to be higher for Tucker, maybe in the 4500+ area. So maybe oddsmakers are reluctant to juice up the odds because the reality of Tucker being the AL MVP isn't so farfetched.

The Astros' lineup is full of MVP-caliber hitters. Tucker could just be the best one of the bunch. After all, Tucker is a true five-tool player; he doesn't do anything at the Mike Trout level (yet), but he does do it all — that matters with MVP voting. It also helps that he plays for a perennial World Series contender, even if he (for some strange reason) isn't hitting higher in the lineup.

There's a near future where Tucker delivers a 100-100-35-25 season with a .290+ batting average. That future could be 2022.

NL Cy Young: Julio Urias +3500

I'm honestly shocked Urias' odds are this high. The man won 20 games last season and plays for the best team in baseball (on paper). He was arguably better than his running mate, Walker Buehler, whose Cy Young odds stand at +1000.

Last year was the first season Urias cleared the 150 innings-pitched mark. At just 25-years-old and with an even better lineup supporting him, I think the best is yet to come for the pitcher.

(I also like Sandy Alcantara here, at a less-long-shot-y +2500.)

AL Cy Young: John Means +5000

Stay with me here.

If not for the amount of homers given up by Means, the soon-to-be 29-year-old could be considered one of the best pitchers in baseball. But it's not easy to pitch in the AL East, to pitch in Camden Yards.

And while one of those things hasn't changed (the AL East might've gotten tougher), one has. Camden Yards is no longer expected to be a home-run, fly ball haven — you can learn more about its transformation here, with the incomparable Dalton Del Don explaining every team's park factors for 2022.

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Means has flashed moments of brilliance the past few seasons, and if this home-run issue will no longer be an issue in 2022, his odds of winning the award look more and more enticing.

My more reasonable pick here is Jose Berrios, but +2000 isn't long-shot enough for me in regards to this award.

WS long shot: Los Angeles Angels +2500

Close your eyes (maybe take a shot of your favorite spirit) and imagine this:

Imagine Mike Trout comes back and plays 150+ games and delivers a .300 average with 39 homers and a 1.000+ OPS.

Imagine Anthony Rendon returns and plays like he did from 2016-2019.

Imagine Jared Walsh and Jo Adell deliver on their potential.

Imagine Shohei Ohtani doesn't regress to the level everyone expects him to. And imagine Noah Syndergaard returns to form in his first healthy season.

That doesn't sound like a bad team, does it? That sounds like a team that, at worst, should be able to win a Wild Card berth. A team led by a great manager and solidified by one of the better closers in the game.

Sure, why not. Let's get wild.