Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bryce Harper.
- The 2019 MLB season is upon us and Mark Gallant decided to make some bold predictions for the first time in his life.
- Included in the predictions are bold claims such as the Orioles being more profitable than the Red Sox, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. going under all of his props and the Reds being the most profitable team in baseball.
Bold predictions … I’ve never written any of these before. From what I’ve gathered in my life experiences, these articles are just an excuse to say ridiculous sh*t without any consequences.
But while some of my statements may come off as ridiculous, I do believe they’re all somewhat possible. In fact, I’ve even bet on a few of them to come true, which is something I doubt other bold prediction authors have done.
Are they likely outcomes? Not really. They wouldn’t be “bold” if they were likely. They’re semi-realistic outcomes, however I still fully expect to go 10/10.
1. The Baltimore Orioles are more profitable than the Boston Red Sox.
Woahhh! Coming hot out of the gates with a blistering take.
Last year, the Orioles were an absolute trash heap. The Red Sox won the World Series. They were on the very two extreme ends of the spectrum when it came to possible results for a team in a single season.
At 108-54, the Sox had the best record in baseball and won 18.6 units. Seems kind of low for 108 wins, but since they’re such a popular team and frequently command the large majority of bets (they received 70+% in 81 games, less than 50% 17 times), books are going to shade their lines. Same goes for the Yankees and Astros, who were both actually unprofitable despite winning 100 and 103 games, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Orioles won just 47 games and broke the record for most unprofitable team we have on file dating back to 2005 at -51.9 units …
They received more than half of moneyline bets just 21 times all year and were at 30% or below 83 times. Understandably, nobody wanted to bet on them.
As far as public betting trends go, expect more of the same this year. That’s why this prediction will come true!
The Red Sox (my favorite team) will not win 108 games this year. Probably not 100, either. If they end up around their win total of 94.5 or below it, they’ll probably end up a handful of units in the red. Maybe even more than that, something the 91-win Indians experienced last year when they were down nearly 20 units.
The Orioles won’t lose 115 games again. They just won’t. Obviously they’re bad, but if they win 60ish games, oftentimes with beefy payouts of +200 or higher, they’ll be close to a break-even team. For example, the Marlins were down only a handful of units despite winning 63 games last year. If the Orioles somehow manage to push for 70 wins, they could actually be very profitable.
2. Unders continue to hit thanks to shifts, openers and strikeouts.
Baseball has entered a strange era. Baseball teams and players are getting smarter, which has led to new strategies that are actually pretty darn effective. Most hitters get shifted to at least some degree, and as we saw with Bryce Harper this spring, teams are starting to get even more extreme. The Rays successfully utilized their “opener” strategy last year and it appears more teams will begin using it, too. This should also bode well for unders.
Over the past four years, unders have steadily been hitting at a higher rate. This may surprise some considering ding-dongs are being jacked at a steroid-era rate, but more of these homers are coming with fewer men on base. The shifts and league-record strikeout rate last year caused a league-wide batting average of just .248 — the lowest since 1972. The strikeout record has been broken every year in a row since 2008. Launch angle or bust, baby! I have no reason to believe this will stop, and since most bettors like taking overs, I imagine the oddsmakers don’t have much incentive to actively combat this trend.
3. The Brewers have a losing record.
This sounds bold, but based on their win total of 86.5 and their Fangraphs projection of 83 wins, it’s really not all that bold. The Brew Crew are a bit of a trendy team and are coming off a very good season, but they certainly have some concerns in my mind.
You may or may not be aware of the fact that I expect some major regression for their MVP Christian Yelich. Their starting pitching has depth, but no front-end arms. Maybe one of their youngsters blossoms into one, but that’s something for another day.
Their bullpen has already been dealt a tough hand, as Corey Knebel is dealing with UCL troubles (hello, Tommy John?) and Jeremey Jeffress was shut down with shoulder weakness.
The Cubs and Cardinals will be right there with the Brewers fighting for the NL Central crown, while the Reds and Pirates could both be winning ballclubs, too. Don’t be shocked if the surprising team of yesteryear slips below .500 in 2019.