Spring training games begin on Sunday and, for MLB fans from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh there’s no better time for unrestrained optimism.
Well, optimism is probably arriving in a much more limited supply for Pirates fans.
The sports-betting fans celebrated the arrival of the Major League Baseball regular-season win totals, diagnosing teams’ chances and making some early financial commitments.
What follows are five intriguing opportunities, given the offseason changes and projected performances for 2021.
There is plenty to discuss on baseball’s projected win totals, per William Hill numbers, as baseball springs to life.
(The minimum number of regular-season games played for action for these win totals is 150.)
2021 MLB Win Totals
Totals from William Hill as of Friday, February 26.
- Los Angeles Dodgers 103.5
- New York Yankees 96.0
- San Diego Padres 93.5
- Atlanta Braves 91.5
- Chicago White Sox 90.5
- New York Mets 90.0
- Minnesota Twins 89.5
- Houston Astros 87.0
- Toronto Blue Jays 87.0
- Oakland Athletics 86.5
- St. Louis Cardinals 86.0
- Tampa Bay Rays 86.0
- Washington Nationals 84.5
- Milwaukee Brewers 83.5
- Los Angeles Angels 83.5
- Philadelphia Phillies 81.5
- Cincinnati Reds 81.5
- Cleveland Indians 81.5
- Boston Red Sox 79.5
- Chicago Cubs 79.0
- Arizona Diamondbacks 75.5
- San Francisco Giants 73.5
- Kansas City Royals 73.0
- Miami Marlins 72.5
- Seattle Mariners 71.5
- Detroit Tigers 68.0
- Texas Rangers 67.5
- Colorado Rockies 63.5
- Baltimore Orioles 63.5
- Pittsburgh Pirates 58.0
Los Angeles Dodgers 103.5
Bookmakers likely already were fearful of a boom in the “OVERs” market, given the Dodgers seemingly unending financial resources. And then, star pitcher Trevor Bauer shunned the New York Mets to sign with the Dodgers (he is a UCLA guy, after all) and the total grew.
Reason for OVER: It’s clear this team has everything it needs to become a repeat champion, and after taking stock of its shortcomings in August, the Dodgers won’t hesitate to trade for reinforcements at the deadline. Adding Cy Young winner Bauer was a nice start.
Reason for UNDER: While the 19 scheduled games against their National League West Division rivals could be a good thing – the Colorado Rockies will be pretty bad – this could work against LA Not only do the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants figure to be better in 2021, the San Diego Padres could well challenge the Dodgers for the division title. And that’s 19 games’ worth of battles.
Early in the betting, William Hill reported that no team had drawn more “UNDER” tickets than Los Angeles and the number has moved south from 104.5.
Seattle Mariners 71.5
The offseason was moving quietly, with the team riding the optimism of a surprisingly efficient 2020. Then the CEO thing happened (at a luncheon, team president Kevin Mather said some incredibly stupid and disrespectful things directed at his players and subsequently resigned).
Reason for OVER: The 2020 season, which included a Rookie of the Year award for Kyle Lewis. The team also brought back James Paxton to bolster the starting rotation and will welcome back Mitch Haniger, who has the potential for return to his All-Star level of a couple of years ago.
Reason for UNDER: The discord could continue, since those beliefs espoused by Mather are considered by some to be shared by current Mariners execs. And the team’s youth at key positions – and in the rotation – is always a danger.
Cincinnati Reds 81.5
Fans of the Cincinnati Reds probably see red flags (not the baseball kind) everywhere.
The warnings for a steep drop range from All-Star right-hander Trevor Bauer’s departure to the team trading away closer Raisel Iglesias.
But is it all doom and gloom?
Reason for OVER: It’s the division, of course. Only the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers, at 86 and 83.5, respectively, are projected to be better than .500. And with the Chicago Cubs in rebuild mode, the Reds also have 19 games against the Pittsburgh Pirates — likely to be the worst team in baseball.
Reason for UNDER: The fans are right. Cincinnati’s offseason moves do not signal much promise for the 2021 season and Joey Votto isn’t getting any younger. Pitching? After Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo, the Reds plan to trot out… Wade Miley?
PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus tabs the total wins at 78.8 games. And there’s no ignoring this betting trend: The Reds have finished “under” their betting total eight consecutive seasons, the longest stretch in the majors.
New York Mets 90.0
Let’s bet the Mets, whose active offseason involved the purchase of the team and the acquisition of a generational shortstop talent, Francisco Lindor.
Reason for OVER: Expectations are high. The systems say “OVER” as evidenced by FanGraphs (91 wins), Davenport (93) and 94.2 games by PECOTA. The experts have spoken. The stability that Lindor brings with his talent is perhaps eclipsed only by his enthusiasm and potential for leadership. And he brought along former Indians teammate Carlos Carrasco, who delivered a 2.91 ERA in 68 innings pitched last season.
Reason for UNDER: A jump to 91 wins would hit the “OVER” but most things would have to break right. Carrasco likely won’t sustain his sensational 2020 numbers over the long haul, and the Mets must face 38 games against powerful Atlanta and pitching-heavy Washington.
New York Yankees 96.0
The early action, according to William Hill, was on the “UNDER” originally set at 98.
The Yankees, obviously, have similar financial reserves to those of the Dodgers and will be well-positioned for adding value in-season.
Reason for OVER: Key players such as D.J. LeMahieu return to a team that already has Gerrit Cole. Aaron Judge, Luke Voit and Giancarlo Stanton are set to provide the punch, and Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez figure to bounce back strongly.
Reason for UNDER: The team signed two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, who threw exactly one inning last season before injuring his shoulder, and Jameson Taillon, who is coming off a second Tommy John surgery. And Judge and Stanton are perennial injury risks.
The post MLB Win Totals: Dodgers, Yankees and More Betting Opportunities first appeared on Betting News.