After 99 days, the Major League Baseball lockout will end as the owners and MLB Players' Association have agreed to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement. The regular season will begin Thursday, April 7 -- the first day of the Masters! -- and the full 162-game schedule will be played. Spring training games will start March 17. Expect a free-agent frenzy as soon as tonight. Players can report to spring camps as early as tomorrow with a mandatory reporting date of Sunday.
The original Opening Day was to be March 31, and in order to get the full 162 games in the back end of the season will be extended three days with a few doubleheaders for each team mixed in. They will be nine-inning doubleheaders. Regular extra-inning rules return, meaning no runners starting on second base – that had a huge effect on betting MLB totals. There also will be a universal designated hitter. The playoffs expand from 10 teams to 12.
Transactions will unfreeze upon ratification, which is expected to come as early as today, meaning free agents can sign and trades can occur. There is going to be an unprecedented free-agent frenzy with the likes of Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, Kris Bryant, Trevor Story and Clayton Kershaw (likely back to the Dodgers) still available.
Needless to say, MLB win totals haven't been released yet by the sportsbooks but should be out very soon once the schedule is clarified. The Dodgers are +600 favorites to win the World Series and LA being favored isn't going to change (actual number might). One prop I like is whether there will be a first-time winner of the World Series: No at -450 and yes +350.
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