William Hill posted a prop this week on how many times Astros batters would be hit by a pitch in the regular season, with the total set at 83½. That number had fallen to 82½ on Tuesday.
“The trading team and I are always looking for unique angles that we think will interest sports fans,” sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said on William Hill’s Twitter account. “Houston is the talk of baseball so we wanted to make props that we felt were relevant and timely.”
Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired after an MLB investigation found the Astros used cameras to steal signs during their World Series-winning season in 2017 and part of 2018. The team also lost draft picks and was fined $5 million.
However, no players were punished, and enough opposing players brought up the idea of hitting the Astros with pitches as a form of retaliation that new Houston manager Dusty Baker has asked Major League Baseball to step in and prevent further escalation.
The prop number is definitely higher than the league average. Only four teams were hit more than 83 times last season, and only 10 teams have been hit more than 83 times in the past five seasons. The Astros were hit 66 times last season and have not been hit more than 70 times in the last five seasons.
The Westgate put out its own spin on the prop Tuesday by asking which Astro will be the first to be hit this season. Alex Bregman was installed as the 7-2 favorite, followed by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa at 4-1.
“They’ve been the faces of this thing,” Westgate sportsbook manager Randy Blum said.
The book ended up giving Bregman a slight edge because he has been hit more than the other two in recent years “under normal circumstances,” Blum said.
Bregman has been hit 28 times in the past three seasons. Altuve has been hit 18 and Correa six, though Correa has played more than 100 fewer games than the other two.
William Hill also has a set of prices on the exact number of times Astros batters will be hit. The favorite is 81 to 90 times at 3-1, followed by 91 to 100 at +350. Going against the grain with 50 or fewer nets 20-1, and 151 or more is 75-1.