Wilson: 3 MLB Win Totals I’m Betting in 2019

Wilson: 3 MLB Win Totals I’m Betting in 2019 article feature image
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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

On the first Monday of 2019, I found myself in Las Vegas working on a final list of props for the national title game between Clemson and Alabama.

Around the same time The Action Network’s Chalk Talk was filmed from the Westgate SuperBook, I received an email from a software recruiter with the subject line “Short-term contract in Camelback Ranch.”

As a baseball junkie, my fate was sealed in weekly business trips to Phoenix, debugging code from the bleachers of Surprise, Mesa and Scottsdale for Spring Training.

While college football has been my gambling forte for over a decade, MLB has my full attention through the spring and summer. I was raised on a heavy dose Ric Flair and Braves baseball on WTBS while scampering the steps of Kauffman Stadium for the Royals 1980 World Series run.

I had success betting MLB last season, thanks in large part to the Action Network App, and generally MLB win totals have treated me well. 

I consider a number of different factors before getting down on a win total, starting with a team’s Pythagorean Win Total, which is a calculation that ueses total runs scored versus runs against to give you an idea of a team’s under-or-over-achievement from the year before.

I also consider Stanley Rothman’s Win Percentage, which is based on a slope that may give you nightmares about ninth-grade Algebra, but it does have functionality for betting.

Lastly, it is important to know the team’s direction, based on the commentary from management.

Below are three teams that fit the profile for 2019.

Chicago Cubs 

  • 2018 Record: 95-68 (+2.3 units), 81-82 ATS (+1.1 units)
  • Over/Under Record: 73-88-2
  • World Series Odds: 12-1
  • Win Total: 88.5

The Northsiders fell off the table offensively post All-Star break in 2018, allowing the Milwaukee Brewers to take possession of the Central Division in a tie-breaking 163rd final game of the season.

Offseason rumors included the departure of Joe Maddon, Kris Bryant turning down a reported $200 million dollar deal, while chairman Tom Ricketts said the Cubs were out of money.

The Cubs pythagorean number is one win shy of their total wins over the past two seasons, but it is the PECOTA projection that spells doom for the 2019 season.

Personally, I fall in the same boat as Joe Maddon on PECOTA projections.

My 2015 Kansas City Royals were projected for 72 wins before a 95-67 record en route to their second World Series. Still, it is worth noting what the other teams in the NL Central have added. The entire division has added more WAR with offseason acquisitions than the Cubs.

Yasiel Puig and Paul Goldschmidt will have plenty of September battles against a Chicago bullpen that ranked 25th in strikeout to walk ratio (2.07) in 2018.

If the Cubs are truly strapped for cash, a depleted farm system could prevent Chicago from adding the pieces needed to win the division.

Pick:  Under 88.5

Toronto Blue Jays 

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