Aaron Judge Opens At +600 to Lead American League in Home Runs

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Posted on: February 21, 2023, 01:20h. 

Last updated on: February 21, 2023, 02:26h.

New York Yankee Aaron Judge set the bar incredibly high last season, breaking Roger Maris’ team — and the American League record — for home runs in a season with 62. Anybody who witnessed it recalls exactly where they were when No. 62 went over the wall in Arlington, Texas, in game No. 161 last season for the Yankees.

Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge connects on his 62nd home run. (Image: NPR)

Well, spring training has arrived, Judge has spoken, and odds have been posted at New York’s legalized sports gambling books. Judge is listed at a generous +600 at Draft Kings to lead the American League in home runs after he finished with 16 more than anyone else last season.

Judge was voted the American League MVP after breaking Maris’ record, set in 1961. Judge’s 131 RBIs tied the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso for most in the majors, and Judge’s .311 batting average was second in the AL. After becoming a free agent, Judge agreed to a nine-year, $360 million contract to stay with the Yankees.

For New Yorkers willing to travel across state lines, Judge is +450 to win American League Most Valuable Player at BetRivers.com, and for those disinclined to make bets in neighboring states, FanDuel is offering a +400 line on the Mets or the Yankees to win the World Series. Those are nice odds because both could be trade destinations for San Diego’s Manny Machado, who dropped a big piece of news last week, saying he plans to opt out of his 10-year, $300 million contract with San Diego to become a free agent.

Which New York Team Had a Better Off-Season?

Want to get New Yorkers talking about something other than bail reform, lingering COVID culture, and out-of-control subway crime? Just ask them this question: which ball team had the most productive off-season?

Yes, New Yorkers are aligned either with the team from the Bronx in pinstripes or the team in orange and blue from Queens. And while the Yankees kept Judge after he took a gamble on himself and earned that $360 million contract, Steve Cohen went out and signed three-time Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander from the defending champion Houston Astros. That gives the Mets arguably the top starting pitching staff in the majors, as Verlander joins Max Scherzer and Japanese import Kodai Senga.

The Yankees, meanwhile, re-signed 1B Anthony Rizzo. Their most notable outside move was signing SP Carlos Rodon in MLB Free Agency. They inked the All-Star left-handed pitcher to a six-year, $162 million contract this off-season as they try to end a championship drought that dates back to 2009.

Here are the odds on both New York teams winning the World Series at New York’s nine licensed sportsbooks:


  • DraftKings: +750
  • FanDuel: +800
  • BetMGM: +750
  • BetRivers: +700
  • PointsBet: +650
  • Caesars: +750
  • WynnBet: +700
  • Resorts World: +650
  • BallyBet: Unavailable


  • DraftKings: +750
  • FanDuel: +800
  • BetMGM: +750
  • BetRivers: +800
  • PointsBet: +750
  • Caesars: +800
  • WynnBet: +800
  • Resorts World: +750
  • BallyBet: Unavailable

The Mets are coming off a 101-win season while the Yankees won 99. Given the amount of postseason success each would have to achieve, the line on Judge leading the AL in homers is especially enticing. The 30-year-old jumped from 39 to 62 homers last season, but in 2017 he hit 52 and won the AL Rookie of the Year.

The Rest of the Futures Markets

Again, New Yorkers will have to cross state lines if they want to wager on Most Valuable Player or the Cy Young Award. That’s because the Empire State’s gambling laws don’t allow betting on those awards, which are voted on. But New Yorkers are mobile, and whether they load up the EZ-Pass or opt for the PATH train to Hoboken or Jersey City, or I-95 to Connecticut, they’ll be able to bet on these awards when the odds are most enticing: during spring training.

At BetMGM, Judge is second behind Shohei Ohtani (+200) of the Los Angeles Angels for MVP, while Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is +1400 to win the NL Most Valuable Player. For the Cy Young award, Yanks ace Gerrit Cole is the +600 co-favorite, along with Mets defector Jacob deGrom, who went to the Texas Rangers. Verlander is the +600 third choice behind the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara and Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes. BetRivers has Cole at +800 and Verlander at +550 for the two Cy Young Awards, and Judge at +450 and Alonso at +1400 in the MVP futures markets.

At PointsBet, Alonso is +1500.

At 40, Verlander is an interesting wager. The same is true with Judge at 30.

And, if the possibility of getting Judge at +600 doesn’t improve the mood of a good number of New Yorkers on this particular rainy Tuesday, perhaps nothing will … and y’all can join the exodus of folks who have relocated to Texas, Florida, or Tennessee. (The official number is 65K defectors, by the way, but anyone who’s spent time in Manhattan and has seen how it still resembles a ghost town would guess that the real number is higher.)

But no matter where those Mets and/or Yankees fans are located, there’s no escaping the fact that these lines are going to shift lower within two weeks of Opening Day. That’s if this season resembles last season, aside from the enlarged bases and pitch clock countdown. If you like Judge or Verlander or Alonso or Cole, there’s no arguing with the fact that the time to wager is now.


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