Betting Pick for Every MLB Team's Over/Under Win Total Before Spring Training

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2020

Betting Pick for Every MLB Team's Over/Under Win Total Before Spring Training

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    Mike Carlson/Associated Press

    Baseball season is nearly upon us. If you hold a catcher's mitt up to your ear, you can hear the not-too-distant crack of bats and pop of leather.

    As we await actual MLB action, let's examine the win-total betting projections for all 30 teams and make our picks on whether to take the over or the under.

    Over/under figures come via Caesars Palace, and our picks are based on what teams did or didn't do to improve from last season, as well as a sprinkling of informed gut feelings.

American League West

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

    Houston Astros

    Over/Under: 94.5 wins

    The Houston Astros have had a tough offseason. They lost ace Gerrit Cole to free agency and were embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal that led to the firing of manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.

    They hired veteran skipper Dusty Baker who should be a steadying force and retain much of the core that won them a World Series in 2017 and an American League pennant in 2019.

    There will be distractions aplenty and the loss of Cole strings. But for a team that won 107 games last year, we're taking the (slight) over here.

    Pick: Over

             

    Los Angeles Angels

    Over/under: 85.5 wins

    Signing third baseman Anthony Rendon was a huge coup for the Los Angeles Angels. He'll join AL MVP Mike Trout to form a potent offensive combo.

    But did they adequately upgrade a pitching staff that ranked 25th in baseball with a 5.12 ERA by adding Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran? Meh.

    The Halos will almost surely improve on last year's 90-loss campaign. But we're betting their win total will be in the low-80s.

    Pick: Under

       

    Oakland Athletics

    Over/Under: 90.0 wins

    The Oakland Athletics didn't do much to improve the roster this offseason and lost a few notable players in Blake Treinen, Jurickson Profar and Tanner Roark.

    They won 97 games last season and should again be a factor in the AL West. But with other teams in the division, most notably the Angels, much-improved, look for a significant win-total drop-off for Oakland.

    Pick: Under

            

    Seattle Mariners

    Over/under: 67.5 wins

    It's been a quiet winter in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto, known for engineering headline-grabbing swaps, hasn't made any major deals.

    The M's won 68 games last year and could plausibly do so again or even win one or two more. Rolling the dice on such a razor-thin margin is a high-risk play, but Seattle didn't get measurably worse and boasts bounce-back candidates such as third baseman Kyle Seager and lefty Justus Sheffield.

    Pick: Over

           

    Texas Rangers

    Over/under: 79.5 wins

    The Texas Rangers added right-hander Corey Kluber in a major trade with the Cleveland Indians. Assuming the Klubot rebounds from injuries and regains something close to his Cy Young-caliber form, that'd be a huge upgrade.

    The addition of Todd Frazier could boost the offense, though he's entering his age-34 season and is mostly a one-dimensional power hitter who managed a ho-hum 21 home runs in 2019.

    The Rangers won 78 games last season. Will they win 80 or more in 2020? Maybe. But don't bet on it.

    Pick: Under

American League Central

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Chicago White Sox

    Over/under: 84.5 wins

    The Chicago White Sox added catcher Yasmani Grandal, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and left-handers Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez. They also re-signed first baseman and clubhouse leader Jose Abreu to a three-year deal.

    Marry that to a rising young core and more talent in the pipeline and the ChiSox appear poised to take the leap, especially in a division that will allow them to feast on multiple rebuilding clubs. Take the over.

    Pick: Over

              

    Cleveland Indians

    Over/under: 86.5 wins

    Not trading star shortstop Francisco Lindor despite multiple rumors they would do so was probably the Cleveland Indians' biggest (non-)move of the offseason.

    They also dealt two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers after an injury-marred season and got a decent return: right-handed reliever Emmanuel Clase and outfielder Delino DeShields.

    The Tribe could move Lindor at the July 31 trade deadline to optimize his value, though they may hold until next winter since he's not set to hit free agency. Either way, they seem to be inching toward a rebuild/retool. They won 93 games in 2019 but missed the playoffs. This is a tough call, but we'll opt for the under.

    Pick: Under

             

    Detroit Tigers

    Over/under: 57.5 wins

    The rebuilding Detroit Tigers added respectable but unspectacular veterans such as right-hander Ivan Nova, first baseman/designated hitter C.J. Cron and second baseman Jonathan Schoop. They didn't have any top-tier trade assets and obviously weren't going to be in on any of the major free agents.

    In 2019, they won 47 games. A modest improvement is certainly possible as their young talent develops, but 10 games of improvement feels like a stretch. Go with the under.

    Pick: Under

          

    Kansas City Royals

    Over/under: 65.5 wins

    The rebuilding Kansas City Royals won a scant 59 games in 2019. They re-upped outfielder Alex Gordon and signed third baseman Maikel Franco to a one-year contract this offseason.

    That doesn't feel like enough for more than a six-game win-total uptick. Take the under.

    Pick: Under

       

    Minnesota Twins

    Over/under: 92.5 wins

    The Minnesota Twins signed star third baseman Josh Donaldson to improve an offense that hit an MLB-record 307 home runs in 2019. Opposing pitchers should be shaking in their cleats.

    The Twins also re-signed Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda and brought in Rich Hill and Homer Bailey. They could have used a proven ace and more bullpen help, but they're still favorites to repeat as AL Central champs.

    They won 101 games last year, and it's tough to see how the addition of Donaldson will lead to a nearly nine-game backslide in a fairly weak division. Go with the over all the way.

    Pick: Over

American League East

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    Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

    Baltimore Orioles

    Over/under: 55.5 wins

    The Baltimore Orioles have lots of up-and-coming talent in a farm system Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter ranked No. 12 in the game.

    A lot of that talent is likely a year or more away, however. And otherwise, the O's did basically zip to improve a roster that went 54-108 in 2019.

    Could they improve by two wins in 2020? Of course. But we're not going to take the over on a big league club this woeful.

    Pick: Under

               

    Boston Red Sox

    Over/under: 84.5 wins

    The long-rumored Mookie Betts trade has finally been consummated, per ESPN's Jeff Passan. The Sox will acquire outfielder Alex Verdugo, along with shortstop Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong. L.A. will also accept veteran lefty David Price and cash considerations, per Passan.

    The Sox shed arguably their franchise player as well as an expensive but still-useful veteran hurler. They added talent and salary-relief, but it's unlikely they'll be better than they were in 2019 when they went 84-78.

    We're going with the under and betting the Sox continue with a retooling project to stay under the luxury tax threshold and restock the farm.

    Pick: Under

               

    New York Yankees

    Over/under: 102.5 wins

    The New York Yankees signed Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million pact, a record for a pitcher. It might look ugly on the back end. But for now, the Yanks did what they needed to do by adding a proven ace.

    They've already got a deep, potent lineup and a stout bullpen despite the loss of Dellin Betances to free agency. Plus, they play in a pretty weak division, with the Tampa Bay Rays serving as their only real competition.

    The Yanks won 103 games in 2019. Barring serious injuries (which is a possibility for every team), they should do even better in 2020. Take the over on the reborn Evil Empire.

    Pick: Over

              

    Tampa Bay Rays

    Over/under: 90.0 wins

    The Tampa Bay Rays added pop to a lineup that ranked 21st with 217 home runs last season by acquiring Jose Martinez from the St. Louis Cardinals and Hunter Renfroe from the San Diego Padres, as well as inking Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.

    Their pitching staff paced the AL with a 3.65 ERA in 2019. Along with Oakland, they are the ultimate small-market success story. 

    They almost surely won't catch the Yankees. But after they won 96 games and earned a wild-card slot, a six-game regression sells them short. Go with the over.

    Pick: Over

                

    Toronto Blue Jays

    Over/under: 75.5 wins

    Signing 2019 MLB ERA leader Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.32), intriguing Japanese right-hander Shun Yamaguchi and veteran Tanner Roark boosted the Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff.

    More excitingly, fans north of the border can dream of rising second-generation stars such as third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and shortstop Bo Bichette, who could be ready to break through the stratosphere soon.

    The Jays remain a few rungs below the Yankees and Rays on the AL East ladder. But we'll take a flier and say they exceed expectations. Take a risk with the over.

    Pick: Over

National League West

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Arizona Diamondbacks

    Over/under: 84.5 wins

    The Arizona Diamondbacks signed ace left-hander and playoff legend Madison Bumgarner and acquired toolsy center fielder Starling Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates, among other moves. Obviously, the Snakes intend to contend.

    They went 85-77 in 2019. Marte brings speed and power and can still capably man center field. Bumgarner is only 30 years old and logged 207.2 innings last season with a 3.90 ERA and 203 strikeouts for the San Francisco Giants.

    This one's close, but we'll take the over.

    Pick: Over

              

    Colorado Rockies

    Over/under: 74.5 wins

    After finishing 71-91 last season, the Colorado Rockies have done little of note this winter. 

    Worse still, they ticked off franchise third baseman Nolan Arenado by failing to either trade him or do what it would take to build a winner.

    The odds of Arenado demanding a trade by the July 31 deadline are at least decent. That would net the Rockies a haul of prospects but do nothing for their chances in 2020. Go with the under.

    Pick: Under

               

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    Over/under: 101.5 wins

    The Los Angeles Dodgers won 106 games in 2019, yet they were bounced in the division series by the eventual champion Washington Nationals. Hence the deal that landed Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox, which makes them even better in 2020.

    Even without Betts, they had a team that could come close to replicating last year's regular-season performance despite losing Hyun-Jin Ryu (they did reel in right-hander Jimmy Nelson).

    There's no telling if L.A. will finally hoist its first Commissioner's Trophy in 32 years even with Betts, but opt for the Dodgers logging 102 or more victories.

    Pick: Over

               

    San Diego Padres

    Over/under: 83.0 wins

    The San Diego Padres made some decent additions, including outfielder Tommy Pham and infielder Jurickson Profar by way of trade.

    They've got rising stars on the MLB roster, including shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., and a stout farm system, though they could use more pitching to upgrade a staff that finished 18th with a 4.60 ERA at hurler-friendly Petco Park.

    Overall, a jump from 70-92 to 83-78 is a bit much. Go with the under.

    Pick: Under

                  

    San Francisco Giants

    Over/under: 68.5 wins

    The San Francisco Giants lost Bumgarner within the division and have made a ton of ancillary moves, none of which figure to move the needle all that much coming off a 77-85 season.

    They're not completely rebuilding with a lot of virtually untradeable veteran contracts on the books. Oh, and they did bring back franchise favorites Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence.

    Still, there's little chance the Giants won't finish way below .500. Somewhere around 69 wins sounds right. But we'll flip a coin and take the (barely) over.

    Pick: Over

National League Central

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Chicago Cubs

    Over/under: 85.5 wins

    The Chicago Cubs didn't do much to upgrade themselves after finishing 84-78 and whiffing on the postseason in 2019.

    Yeah, maybe they're saving their money to re-sign, extend and make escalating arbitration payments to key members of the core that won them a title in 2016.

    The Cubs have enough talent to possibly contend in the top-heavy National League Central. But given their lack of activity, a repeat of last season's performance seems most likely. Take the under.

    Pick: Under

              

    Cincinnati Reds

    Over/under: 84.5 wins

    Where the Cubs were inactive, the Cincinnati Reds showed they want to be a factor in the division by signing infielder Mike Moustakas away from the division-rival Milwaukee Brewers and inking versatile veteran Nick Castellanos and Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama.

    Plus, they added Pedro Strop to help the bullpen and netted Wade Miley to shore up the back end of the rotation.

    They've already got a strong starting corps and ample young talent on the roster and in the pipeline. The Reds could be serious contenders. Go over.

    Pick: Over

                 

    Milwaukee Brewers

    Over/under: 82.5 wins

    Losing catcher Yasmani Grandal and Moustakas hurts the Milwaukee Brewers. And they didn't add a proven ace to the rotation, though they signed veteran lefty Brett Anderson.

    They did strengthen their lineup with the additions of Avisail Garcia, Justin Smoak and Ryon Healy. They won 89 games in 2019 and, while they might fall shy of that mark, winning at least 83 contests seems quite doable for the Brew Crew. Opt for the over.

    Pick: Over

                  

    Pittsburgh Pirates

    Over/under: 69.5 wins

    The Pittsburgh Pirates went 69-93 last season, and the only notable thing they've done this winter is shipping Starling Marte to Arizona.

    They will almost surely be the cellar-dwelling punching bag in an otherwise stacked division and could easily lose 100 games. Take the under.

    Pick: Under

                 

    St. Louis Cardinals

    Over/under: 88.0 wins

    The St. Louis Cardinals lost outfielder Marcell Ozuna to free agency and haven't added any major pieces to a club that won the division last season but could have used more pitching and maybe another big bat. Instead, all they've really done is bring back 38-year-old franchise lifer Adam Wainwright.

    That said, the Cards are perennial contenders and will do battle in what should be a fascinating NL Central race.

    This one's a tossup, but we'll go slightly under on St. Louis.

    Pick: Under

National League East

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Atlanta Braves

    Over/under: 91.0 wins

    The Atlanta Braves lost third baseman Josh Donaldson but added outfielder Marcell Ozuna. They also inked closer Will Smith, as well as veterans Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez to fill out the starting rotation.

    With bushels of young talent on the big league roster and lots more waiting in the minor league wings, the Braves are poised to win a third consecutive NL East crown.

    They won 97 games last year, and a drop to 91 seems a tad extreme. Go over.

    Pick: Over

                 

    Miami Marlins

    Over/under: 64.5 wins

    The Miami Marlins added semi-notable players such as Jonathan Villar, Corey Dickerson and Matt Kemp. None will lift the Fish out of the bottom of the division.

    They went 57-105 last year. They could go up by a few wins given their signings and factoring in the development of young players. But an eight-win improvement? We're not buying it.

    Pick: Under

               

    New York Mets

    Over/under: 87.0 wins

    The New York Mets lost right-hander Zack Wheeler within the division to the Philadelphia Phillies. But they added a formidable late-inning arm by signing free agent Dellin Betances away from the New York Yankees and took a flier on 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, who posted a 5.52 ERA in 2019 with the Red Sox.

    They also employ reigning back-to-back NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom and hard-throwing righty Noah Syndergaard atop a deep rotation. The offense has holes, but NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso swatted an MLB-leading 53 home runs in 2019.

    The Mets won 86 games last year. A modest improvement is within reach. Opt for the over.

    Pick: Over

              

    Philadelphia Phillies

    Over/under: 85.5 wins

    The additions of infielder Didi Gregorius and Wheeler increase the Philadelphia Phillies' chances of taking Bryce Harper back to the postseason.

    Despite the arrival of Wheeler, the Phils could use more pitching to improve a staff that finished 17th with a 4.53 ERA yet are one of four teams with a reasonable shot at the division.

    They went an exactly mediocre 81-81 in 2019. They could and should do better than that...but we're not quite convinced.

    This one's another coin toss, but we'll flip it and take the under.

    Pick: Under

             

    Washington Nationals

    Over/under: 89.5 wins

    After losing Anthony Rendon, the Washington Nationals brought in guys such as Eric Thames and Starlin Castro and extended right-hander Stephen Strasburg for seven years and $245 million.

    The defending champs also have emerging stars like Juan Soto to fill the void, and they employ right-hander Max Scherzer, one of the best pitchers in baseball.

    Still, the Nats lost their team leader and arguably their best hitter. They'll be contenders, no question, but we're taking the under on a 90-win season in a rough division.

    Pick: Under

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