Oakland Athletics 2024 MLB Preseason Win Total is Historically Low

Oakland Athletics 2024 MLB Preseason Win Total is Historically Low article feature image

Photo Illustration by Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network

The Oakland Athletics enter the 2024 MLB season in unprecedented territory. While their playing location beyond this season remains in flux, they're also expected to be the worst team in the majors – to a historic degree.

Across six different sportsbooks as of Feb. 24, the Athletics' win total over/under is set between 56.5 and 58.5 — and only one of those six sportsbooks is set at that highest number.

At 56.5 or 57.5, it would be the lowest preseason win total for any MLB team since at least 1990, according to the database at Sports Odds History.

For updated MLB odds on all 2024 futures at a variety of sportsbooks, be sure to visit and bookmark our MLB odds page.

What is the Oakland Athletics 2024 Win Total?

The Athletics' 2024 win total ranges from 56.5 to 58.5 across the six sportsbooks we looked at. Of the two that list 56.5, DraftKings is offering the best price toward the under at -105, while bet365 is -110 in either direction, giving that book the best value if you're looking to bet the over.

FanDuel is the outlier here with the total listed at 58.5, but it has juiced the under to -122, while you can get the over at even money. Essentially, if you're betting the under with FanDuel, you're paying 12 cents for one extra win of buffer room — as opposed to the 57.5 offered at ESPN BET, Caesars and BetMGM — or you're paying 17 cents against the best price on the under of 56.5 at DraftKings.

How Does the Athletics' 2024 Win Total Stack Up Historically?

At FanDuel's number of 58.5, the 2024 Athletics would merely be tied for the second-lowest preseason win total since 1990, alongside the 2019 Orioles and 2021 Pirates. However, at any of the other five sportsbooks' number, it would be the lowest win total on record.

The record is currently held by the 1993 Marlins, which you may know was the first season in that franchise's history. In fact, two of the nine lowest preseason win totals came from expansion teams, as the 1993 Rockies also made the list with a preseason win total of 60.

As a nod toward the present state of MLB and its tank-happy ways, two teams from last season made the list: these very same Athletics in addition to the Nationals, who both came in at 59.5.

It's also worth noting that six of the nine lowest win totals went over their preseason total, including those expansion Marlins of 1993. The three teams to go under their total were last season's Athletics, the 2019 Orioles and the 2013 Astros.

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What Do Projection Systems Think of the 2024 Athletics?

Action Network MLB betting analyst Sean Zerillo broke down how he's betting Athletics futures in his MLB betting preview.

From Zerillo:

After losing 112 games last season, the public projection (range 63-71) loves the Athletics to bounce back in their likely final season in the Bay Area. Although I'm only slightly optimistic about the A's (projected 59 wins), the composite projection would recommend the Over up to 59. You can find as low as 56.5 — which I'm much more comfortable with.

Oakland played much better in the second half of 2023 (25-45; 57.8 win pace), and its pitching (5.17 xFIP; 30th in MLB) should be better in 2024.

Zerillo's Athletics Bet: Oakland Athletics, Over 55.5 (-110, 0.5u) at Superbook

Why are the 2024 Oakland Athletics Expected to be So Bad?

The Athletics have a proud history. The organization has existed since 1901, first in Philadelphia and later Kansas City, and has been in Oakland since 1968. They have nine World Series titles in total, including four since relocating to Oakland (1972, 1973, 1974 and 1989).

Even in recent history, the A's have been one of the more successful franchises in the American League. They won 86 games as recently as 2021, have made the playoffs 11 times since the turn of the century and have only posted eight losing seasons in that same time frame despite routinely running bottom-of-the-league payrolls.

Their process of remaining competitive despite this fact was made famous in the 2004 book Moneyball, by Michael Lewis, which was later made into a 2011 movie starring Brad Pitt that was nominated for six Academy Awards.

Owner John Fisher, who Forbes reported this year is worth $2.9 billion, has been seeking a new stadium for his team for about 20 years as the Oakland Coliseum deteriorated beyond the norms of a professional sports franchise. (Editor's note: The Oakland Coliseum has gone through a number of name changes over the years, but for the purpose of this article will be referred to as the Oakland Coliseum, or the Coliseum).

The Athletics' lease with the Coliseum ends after the 2024 season, and in December 2023, MLB owners approved a plan for the franchise to relocate to Las Vegas, with a ballpark plan expected to be completed at the site of the Tropicana hotel and casino by the start of the 2028 season.

While facing loud and boisterous protests and demands to sell the team, Fisher has gutted the franchise ahead of relocation, running a 2023 payroll of $62 million, $9 million lower than the next-lowest club (the MLB average was $165 million). This year, the Athletics' projected payroll will be $45.5 million, a full $32 million less than the 29th-ranked Pirates.

As another point of reference, there are 16 active MLB players whose 2024 salaries will exceed $30 million. The highest salary on the 2024 Athletics is expected to be the $9.25 million paid to 34-year-old journeyman pitcher Ross Stripling.

There's further drama in the Athletics' relocation story. As mentioned, the Vegas stadium — which is still not yet guaranteed to be completed — wouldn't be ready until 2028. The Athletics' lease with the Coliseum ends after the 2024 season. At present, the A's have no home for the 2025-27 seasons. Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league needs to know by this summer where the A's will play next season. Temporary locations, including Salt Lake City, Sacramento, San Francisco (sharing Oracle Park with the Giants) or even coming to terms on a temporary extension with the Coliseum, have been floated.

However, one important caveat (particularly to Fisher and his coffers) is that the Athletics have a media rights deal that pays them approximately $70 million annually. That deal would not pay out if the team does not play in the TV network's broadcast territory.

Likewise, as alluded to above, the stadium deal with Las Vegas is far from certain. Fisher secured $380 million in state government financing as part of the agreement to build a stadium on the Las Vegas Strip last May. However, the stadium is expected to cost around $1.5 billion in total, and Fisher is still looking for financing to cover most, if not all, of the remaining costs. (Again, as a reminder, Fisher is worth $2.9 billion.)

Additionally, Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman said recently the team should find a way to stay in Oakland, and a lawsuit was filed by the Nevada Teachers' Union – which has been staunchly against using public money to finance privately-owned stadiums – arguing that the bill approving the original $380 million figure was unconstitutional.

While all that has little to do with the performance of the 2024 Athletics on the field, it's a messy story that goes to show how little Fisher cares about the success of his baseball team this season. He's feuded with the city of Oakland for two decades, is set to end a 50-plus year relationship with the city and has put the team where it is today: with historically low expectations ahead of what will likely be its last year in the city.

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