Zerillo: Updated 2021 MLB Win Totals, Divisional Odds & World Series Projections After Trade Deadline
Eric Espada/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Yankees standouts Anthony Rizzo, left, and Joey Gallo.
In February, I provided my initial projections for the 2021 Major League Baseball season and used those as a guide to betting win totals and futures for the upcoming campaign.
I updated those projections after the All-Star Game. I wanted to provide one final update in the wake of a busy trading deadline. Plus, we’ve seen significant injuries to NL Award frontrunners Jacob deGrom (previously up to -800 for NL Cy Young) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (-275 for NL MVP) as well.
Below, I’ll take a look at my updated projections and discuss: (1) how teams are tracking against their preseason win totals; (2) how teams compare in true talent relative to the start of the season; and, (3) divisional and World Series futures value.
Updated 2021 MLB Standings Projections
These projections combine the current standings with updated team projections to formulate prorated end-of-season win totals.
These projections do not reflect true talent over a 162-game schedule, as a preseason projection would show.
To see how these teams compare in true talent both against one another and relative to their own preseason projections, please see the “Changes in True Talent” section below.
Win Total Tracker
Certain teams like the Boston Red Sox (+12.4) and San Francisco Giants (+20.3) are in the “safe zone” for Over bettors. That also goes for teams like the Diamondbacks (-16.4) and Minnesota Twins (-17.6), who are equally likely to finish Under their preseason win totals.
However, the majority of the league is tracking closely with the preseason market and their performances over these final 58 games (or so) will determine the outcome of most win-total wagers.
Here’s how my updated projections (above) track against the listed regular-season win totals for all 30 teams (positive indicates “Over,” while negative indicated “Under”):
Changes in True Talent
My updated projections show the expected end-of-season win projections for all 30 teams.
However, even though I have the Giants finishing with 96 wins and the Diamondbacks finishing with 58 wins, that doesn’t mean that the true talent gap between those clubs is actually 38 wins apart. In fact, I make the talent gap between those teams less than half that difference at 15.6 wins.
What follows is my current power ranking for the 30 MLB clubs and how each of them has either improved their projections or fallen off relative to the preseason.
If the regular season restarted tomorrow, these would be my projections for a 162-game season (current injuries included):
The biggest fallers include deadline sellers, like the Cubs (-8.3) and the Washington Nationals (-14.6), while the Milwaukee Brewers (+10.6) have ascended all the way to the No. 4 spot in my power rankings, ahead of the Padres.
The injuries to deGrom and Tatis Jr. take a big bite out of those two NL contenders, with the Brewers seemingly the only team with enough pitching depth to match the reigning world champions.
A couple of odd takeaways: I currently rate the Diamondbacks as a better team than the Cubs, Nationals and Seattle Mariners and I have five AL teams rated ahead of the Chicago White Sox.
Divisional & World Series Value
The teams that currently offer futures value are those I mentioned in my preseason and midseason futures previews: the Astros, Brewers, Mets, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees.
I rate both Tampa Bay (sixth) and the Yankees (third) as substantially better clubs than the Red Sox (12th), based upon current roster talent. Plus, I project the Rays to win the AL East by 2.5 games even without starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow.
I bet the Yankees both to win the AL East and the World Series during the All-Star break and I still think there’s value on those bets to +750 and +1500, respectively. My tickets look much better now, with latest arrivals Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo in tow.
I like the Rays in both markets as well, with them moving down to +110 and +1200, respectively, and I’ll be shopping for the best numbers on Tampa Bay over the next couple of days.
I have Astros and Brewers futures at much longer prices from the preseason, but their World Series futures odds still offer value down to +550 and +900, respectively.
Those teams have all but locked up their playoff spots. They rank second and fourth in my power rankings, compared to second and eighth in the World Series odds market. So, the Brewers offer more value from that perspective, but they’re more likely to go through the Dodgers at some point.
The Mets are a potential World Series bet at +1100 or better, but you’re banking on deGrom returning to full health with that ticket and you know how the Mets love to implode around this time of year.
That being said, I don’t think the Philadelphia Phillies did enough at the trade deadline to close the gap in the NL East. They only upgrading their team by a half win in my power rankings. And the Braves (81.9 to 82.3) plugged holes, but didn’t move the needle up any further.
To recap, I don’t see much value in the divisional market, aside from the Rays and Yankees in the AL East. I also show value on those two clubs in the World Series market, in addition to the Astros and Brewers.
I’ll delve into the player awards market — particularly NL MVP and NL Cy Young — once odds become widely available again. Most sportsbooks pulled those offerings after the recent injury news.