Major League Baseball and commissioner Rob Manfred have no one to blame but themselves for the creation of the “Retaliation Prop” by William Hill US. In the wake of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal that has dominated the headlines ahead of Spring Training, and the subsequent lack of discipline against the players involved by the league office, the books feel that many teams will take matters into their own hands this season.
With each passing day, we are treated to another absurd attempt to avoid taking responsibility by not only Astros star players, but by owner Jim Crane. With every ludicrous attempt to avoid telling the truth the outrage among fans and opposing players continues to grow.
Manfred has reportedly already met with several teams, warning against any sort of retribution against Houston players during Spring Training. "It's dangerous and it is not helpful to the current situation," Manfred said. However, it's likely most of the fireworks won’t actually begin until the regular season commences and the eyes of the baseball world are more readily focused.
Retaliation is going to happen. With every new series, each team will step up and take their aim at perhaps the biggest cheating scandal ever uncovered. Players such as Las Vegas native Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs have been quite vocal, even taking it as far as to exclaim that the Astros' high-tech method of cheating was actually worse than the use of a banned substance. “I personally think it’s worse than steroids,” he said. “Steroids you still have to compete and hit the ball.”
At William Hill US, one of the largest sportsbooks in the country, they have posted an over/under on the total number of Astros batters hit by a pitch this season at 83.5.
For those of you looking to bet the over, I would jump in now as the public will most assuredly drive this number, and the juice, through the roof. Those who are looking to back the under, be patient. Let this number artificially inflate thanks to insane public steam and then pounce.
My lean is the league will overreact and hand out lengthy suspensions for pitchers who take aim, lending serious value to the under on this prop.
If you'd like to wager on which Astros player gets beaned first, there's a prop for that too.
MORE FROM SI: