MLB Season Is Nigh…Win Totals Edition

Tonight is the return of the first games for one of the “Four Majors” since the Covid pandemic began. I’m sure it will be weird–no fans, no spitting (yeah right), etc–but a return nonetheless.

In a shorted season with just 60 games, and no idea if this whole thing can stay on the rails or not, looking at futures and projections is, by and large, a futile exercise this year. You know, like the bench press.

Anyway, I’m not above being futile. So, like I do every year, I sit down and average some of the projected win totals, along with sportsbook’s over/unders to get a somewhat consesus-ish take on where team expectations are pre-season.

This year’s projection average includes Draftkings Sportsbook, Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, ZIPS and Davenport.

AL West

Astros–35.57
Athletics–32.02
Angels–30.35
Rangers–28.13
Mariners–23.9

Over/Under Pick–Astros U35.5. Because screw them, that’s why.

AL Central

Twins–34.25
Indians–32.43
White Sox–30.45
Royals–25.3
Tigers–24.03

Over/Under Pick–White Sox U31.1. BetMGM reported this week 100% of their best on Chicago was on the over. I’ll fade the public all day when I see a percentage like that. And I even like what the White Sox have done, but I’ll still fading 100%.

AL East

Yankees–36.17
Rays–33.32
Red Sox–30.25
Blue Jays–27.47
Orioles–21.03

Over/Under Pick–Yankees U37.5. Tied with the Dodgers for the best Vegas number. I have to fade one of them, and I choose the Yankees this year.

NL West

Dodgers–37.15
Padres–30.83
Diamondbacks–30.52
Rockies–27.8
Giants–25.07

Over/Under Pick–Giants U25.5. In a race for worst team in baseball. If there was ever a year to tank, this is it. Not like it will kill attendance. Padres have become a popular over pick this year, but that number feels about right, right now.

NL Central

Reds–31.87
Cubs–31.83
Brewers–31.08
Cardinals–30.82
Pirates–26.25

Over/Under Pick–Reds O31.5. Welcome to the most tightly bunched division, with four legit contenders. I was tempted to take the Under on St. Louis, just because I know my audience here and hate to not meet expectations, but the Reds over is a popular pick I actually like.

NL East

Nationals–33.4
Braves–32.48
Mets–31.78
Phillies–29.97
Marlins–25.45

Over/Under Pick–Marlins O24.5. I like fading the extremes. Only reason here. 24.5 is the lowest total in the NL.

Now that these are out there, bring on the interrupted spring, late start, small sample-season, pandemic-induced DL trip shenanigans. Who will be the team to have a -20 run differential, but go 8-1 in one-run games and win their division? Who will be the team who has a bullpen wrecked by positive test? Will Mike Trout return after his kid is born? Who don’t freaking know, do we? People want to put an asterisk on this season, but don’t pretend this won’t be a fun ride.

Futures Bets

I’m actually not making many futures bets, simply because I don’t want to tie money up for 3 months in such a volatile situation. This could all get voided out and mean nothing. I do have a couple in already though.

Diamondbacks to win the NL West +900. Not likely, but that number had some value.
Kyle Schwarber to hit most home runs–+5000. I’ll take 50/1 and a reason to root by my giant manbaby BeefBoy.

Play ball! And wear a mask.

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