In only 10 days we will finally have the start of the MLB Season. What seemed like something that would never happen, will finally come to fruition. Although there aren’t the standard 162 games to gamble on, there is still a 60-game slate that we can look forward to.
The 60 games schedule brings a new wrinkle to betting the over-under win totals for each team.
In a normal season, each team plays 76 games against their division rivals, which makes up almost 47% of their schedule. In this new format they will play 40 of their games versus their division rivals or roughly 66% of their games.
Enough of the statistics, what does this mean for the win totals?
Essentially, with this emphasis on division rivals it is going to come down to which team is strong in a weak division or vice versa.
Without further ado, here are my best over-under win total bets for the 2020 MLB season.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates – Under 25.5
This win total is very odd to me. Last year the Pirates were 69-93 (.426). In their division they were 29-47 (.381). The oddsmakers have the win total set at 25.5 which means they expect them to win 42.5% of their games. I see the Pirates being closer to 15 wins then 25.
Last year they had Jamison Taillon and Chris Archer at the top of their rotation. This year their “ace” is Joe Musgrove. This is due to injuries to both Taillon and Archer Not trying to diminish Joe Musgrove, but he is not what is considered to be a front-end starter. He had a 4.44 ERA last year, and a below .500 record. If you think their bullpen could save this pitching staff, you thought wrong. They did have a stud closer last year in Felipe Vazquez, but he has now been arrested on 21 charges. With Vazquez the Pirates had the 6th worst bullpen in the MLB, and now that he is gone it’s going to get a lot worse.
Well maybe they have a solid enough lineup to carry this team to 26 wins. Once again, that is not the case. I looked through their lineup and the only name that is worrisome would be Josh Bell. The young 1B has a lot of pop in his bat (37 HR in 2019), and hit .277 which is solid, but not enough to carry a lineup whose only other notable player is Gregory Polanco, who is coming back from an injury-riddled 2019 season where he only hit .242 in 42 games.
My exact prediction for Pittsburgh: 19-41
2. Baltimore Orioles – Under 20.5
If I have the Pirates winning less than 20 games, it should come as no surprise that I think the Orioles, who are one of, if not the worst team in the MLB will be under 20.5 wins. Last year they won a pathetic 54 games which ends up being a win percentage of 33.3%.
It should be mentioned that last year the Orioles top players included Jonathon Villar, Trey Mancini, Dylan Bundy, and Andrew Cashner. All of those players mentioned have since left or are on the IR for the entire season.
So, let’s look at who they do have on their roster. Well…they have Jose Iglesias. Chris Davis is a notable name, but mostly because he had one of the longest streaks of not getting on base in MLB history last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if no one on this team hits about .250. Seriously, it’s that bad. Now if you look at their pitching staff, they have some good…decent…pretty terrible options. Their pride and joy of their staff, the ace, the best they have to offer is Josh Means. Heard of him? I doubt it, and I’m not surprised. He is expected to have an ERA around 4.85.
Let’s get back to the win-totals for this team. The oddsmakers have it set at 20.5, and this might be my favorite line I’ve ever seen. They expect them to win over 33% of their games this year with a team that is notably worse than last years. Also, they have to play 40 games against their own division (they won only 31% of their division games last year). Well maybe their other 20 games are going to be easy, maybe they have easy opponents. Nope, they play the NL East, which is arguably the toughest division in baseball. The Mets, Braves, Phillies, and Nationals are all serious playoff, and World Series contenders, and the Marlins have enough young talent in their pitching staff and lineup to not be taken lightly.
My exact prediction for Baltimore: 11-49 (I would like to put 0-60, but even the worst teams win a game here and there)
Do the smart thing, and hammer the Orioles under.