It’s time to take a look at MLB season win totals.
The Atlantis in Reno is usually the first spot to open with these each year but a couple of others have numbers out now like the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas and TopBet.
Here’s a quick look at where the numbers stand for some of the more popular markets and my OVER/UNDER picks for them:
Chicago Cubs, 95.5 wins
The Cubs have a higher season win total this year than last year (92.5) but their odds to win the World Series are longer at 4-1 versus more like 3-1 last year. Chalk that up to the fact it’s just really tough to win the World Series two years in a row.
The Cubs lost Dexter Fowler at the top of the batting order, which hurts them but they really won with pitching last season. Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta led a unit that ranked No. 5 in ERA in the majors while the bullpen ranked an impressive seventh.
Chicago also had the No. 1 run differential in baseball in 2016 at +252, a key betting stat in modern-day handicapping. Because of high juice, though, it only helped them earn a profit of about $300 on the season for the $100-per-game bettor.
Chicago White Sox, 68.5 wins
This is the second-lowest win total on the whole board ahead of only the Padres after the Sox opened last season with a win total of 80.5. Yikes.
That’s what happens when you lose a pitcher like Chris Sale, who now belongs to the Red Sox. Sale is worth +12 wins easy in my books. The White Sox are in full rebuild mode after also trading away Adam Eaton and they are in for a rough season.
Boston Red Sox, 92.5 wins.
The only team in the American League with a higher win total is the Cleveland Indians at 93.5 – and with good reason.
The Red Sox lose David Ortiz in the order but they gain Chris Sale in the rotation, who has some of the best stuff in the majors. This is a big jump of six wins from last year’s preseason odds of 86.5 and I’m wondering if the hype has things overblown here.
The Red Sox face excellent hitting teams in the Blue Jays and Orioles in their division and the winner of the AL East has won the pennant with just 93 wins in each of the last two seasons. This number seems aggressive to me with the loss of team leader Big Papi, even with the addition of Sale.
Keep in mind it was tough to find betting value with the Sox last year even though they won their division. They lost $11 for anyone who put $100 on every Boston game in 2016.
Toronto Blue Jays, 85.5
I’m a Blue Jays fan and I always come into the season with optimism. But this number seems too high to me.
The Blue Jays ranked fifth in runs and third in home runs last season and they owned the best ERA in the majors with a 3.78 mark. On paper, that sounds like enough to win a World Series but it wasn’t nearly close enough for anyone who watched them last year.
The bullpen was the biggest disaster in the majors last season and it needs to be fixed in a hurry to get over this win mark. The Jays lost arguably their best bullpen arm in Brett Cecil but they did sign J.P. Howell and Joe Smith. They also lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency and when you put it all together, I think the Jays are going to struggle to get to 86 wins.
Cleveland Indians, 93.5
The Indians have the highest win total in the American League and rightfully so. They were the best bet in the majors last season with a profit of $1053 for the $100 unit bettor and it took the Cubs seven games to defeat them in the World Series.
Now the Indians add one of the best all-around hitters in the majors in Encarnacion and they are going to be tough to slow down. The Indians had the No. 2 ERA in baseball last season and it’s also a young team that will likely only get better.
One overlooked factor of this team is just how good its defense is. They ranked eighth in the majors in fielding percentage and Francisco Lindor is an incredible young shortstop who makes you earn your hits.
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