Football is over and sportsbooks aren’t waiting around for spring to get into the baseball mood. On Wednesday, CG Technology became the first sportsbook to release MLB win totals for the upcoming season at all of their Las Vegas properties.
Biggest Risers (2017 win total)
- Giants 81.5 (64) +17.5
- Mets 80.5 (70) +10.5
- Phillies 74.5 (66) +8.5
- Blue Jays 81.5 (76) +5.5
- Tigers 68.5 (64), Angels 84.5 (80) +4.5
The Giants added Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria to help out their anemic offense, which was 2nd-worst in the league last season. Meanwhile, the Mets hope to get their pitching staff healthy again for another run at a World Series, like they did two seasons ago. They also have high hopes for Amed Rosario, their young shortstop prospect.
Biggest Fallers (2017 win total)
- Marlins 64.5 (77) -12.5
- Dodgers 95.5 (104), Indians 93.5 (102) -8.5
- Diamondbacks 86.5 (93) -6.5
- Nationals 91.5 (97) -5.5
Nice start, Jeets! Since becoming an owner of the Marlins, Derek Jeter has traded away almost the entire team, including reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton and they have the lowest win total in the league. The remaining list of biggest fallers consists of overachievers mainly because oddsmakers don’t set MLB win totals much higher than the 93-94 range.
Of course, we could have a decent amount of movement based on where some key free agents sign. Six of mlb.com‘s top 10 free agents are still on the market and we’re about to enter spring training. CG Technology’s Matthew Holt admits they’ve had a rough time even setting these totals, so I’m sure bettors will have a tough time analyzing them.
It’s been as challenging a week making MLB season win totals as I can remember with so many key free agents still available. I suppose as guys get signed it will certainly spark some betting.
— Matthew Holt (@MatthewHoltVP) February 7, 2018
Here are a few teams that I believe have value at their current numbers.
St. Louis Cardinals: Over 84.5
The Cardinals underwent a bit of a face-lift this offseason. St. Louis acquired Marcell Ozuna to bolster their offense while ridding themselves of the inconsistent Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. They also have a few young pitchers that could be big contributors in Jack Flaherty, Luke Weaver, and the former #1 prospect Alex Reyes, who tore his UCL last spring training. They finished last season with 83 wins, underperforming by four wins according to their Pythagorean record. Fangraphs is currently projecting them to finish with 88 this season.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Under 76.5
While the Cardinals are moving up, the Pirates are moving the other direction. Pittsburgh had 75 wins last year and somehow have a higher win total despite trading Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. They’ll rely heavily on young talent like Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, and Austin Meadows, who are all fine and promising, but can’t carry a team. Not to mention they are a prime candidate to sell additional pieces at the deadline.
Baltimore Orioles: Under 77.5
The Orioles had 75 wins last season, which should really be a positive for them, considering they outperformed their Pythagorean record by three wins. Their best player, Manny Machado, is the ultimate trade piece if a contender wants to splurge at the deadline. According to Fangraphs, O’s pitchers are only expected to accumulate 6.2 wins above replacement—only ahead of the lowly Chicago White Sox. I expect the Orioles to fall anywhere between 68 and 72 wins.
Photo via Richard Mackson – USA TODAY Sports