The build up to the start of the baseball season is always a lot of fun for many reasons. Maybe you love fantasy baseball, or maybe you just love the sounds, smells and feelings that come with baseball. The start of the season brings something for everyone, and that includes the gamblers among us. Last week as a staff we looked at some of our MVP and Cy Young picks. If you are looking to have a bet on those markets you can find our feelings there. Instead I will focus on the season win totals and try to identify some juicy over/under bets for you to take advantage of.
I will start with the Red Sox but there is not really a bet to be had. The starting line is set at 94.5, a whopping 13.5 wins less than they had last season. However, when you look closer at elements such as the Pythagorean win total (103) and their record in one score games (25-14) there is room for regression in that total. Add in the lack of a lock down closer and a win total in the mid-90s is a very likely outcome.
Houston Astros Over 96.5
It may seem aggressive to project any team to win more than 96.5 games, but the Astros have the talent to do it. They are perhaps the best all-around team in the American League and their division rivals often blow hot and cold. Last season they won 103 games, but their Pythagorean total was even higher at 108. Additionally, that record came despite just being .500 in one run games. The combination of the Pythagorean total and the one-run record suggest to me the Astros could get over 100 wins once again this season.
Milwaukee Brewers Under 86.5
2019 is a fascinating season for the darlings of the 2018 season. The Brewers stunned the league and nearly made it all the way to the NLCS. However, the fact that were a surprise package means there are question marks for 2019. Their rotation lacks both ace level upside and struggles for depth. They also play in a division which has quality from 1-5, which could make repeating their 96 win season tough. Equally their Pythagorean win total was five lower at 91, and their record in one run games was a whopping 33-19. Both of those numbers scream regression, and combined with my other concerns I think the Brewers slip back to a .500 baseball team this season.
Los Angeles Dodgers Over 93.5
Another super aggressive projection for a relatively high win total. However, they were actually relatively unlucky to only win 92 games, as their Pythagorean win total was up at 102 wins. No team in the majors had a bigger difference between those two totals. The Dodgers have lost some quality offensively, but they still have a ton of talent. In addition, their rotation has both the high end skill and the depth that you want from a major contender. The Dodgers will be right there come playoff conversation time this season.
Baltimore Orioles Under 59.5
To end let’s bring this back to the AL East, the 2018 last placed team overall. The Orioles finished the season with 47 wins and they may actually have been lucky to get that many. The Orioles won an incredible 70% of their one run games in 2018. If that regressed back towards 50% this season they could struggle to reach 45 wins. However, they were slightly hard done by last season if their Pythagorean win total of 55 is to be believed. The issue there is that even if that was true they would still have been four wins below their over/under this season. A team that was that bad, and actually lost talent during the season, is a prime candidate to be bad again.
Image credit: Sports Illustrated