Predicting If Each MLB Team Will Go Over or Under Its Preseason Win Projection

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2021

Predicting If Each MLB Team Will Go Over or Under Its Preseason Win Projection

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The final month of the Major League Baseball season will be full of on-field drama with a handful of playoff spots up for grabs.

    There will also be plenty of betting drama surrounding most of the 30 teams in regard to their projected win totals.

    If you bet the over on the San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays, you are sitting pretty with extra cash on your side. San Francisco has exceeded expectations more than any other team, as the over on its win total cashed in mid-August. Tampa Bay is one win away from cashing its over.

    Most of the win total bets across baseball were not that easy, and they will be sweated across the country over the next few weeks.

    For example, the New York Yankees' over/under at DraftKings Sportsbook was 95.5. That total appeared to be unreachable for most of the campaign, but their recent surge put that in play if another strong month happens.

    Below is a look at the prospects for the Yankees and many other teams on which side of the over/under bets they will land on.

    All of the preseason win totals can be found here on DraftKings. FanGraphs' updated win totals can be found here. The current FanGraphs total listed as the current projection in every slide is there to give you an idea of the pace each franchise is on.

American League East

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Tampa Bay Rays

    Current Record: 86-50

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 85.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 100

    Tampa Bay went over the projected win total during its three-game series with the Minnesota Twins this weekend.

    The Rays had a nine-game winning streak snapped Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox. Since August 16, Kevin Cash's team owns a 15-3 record that has helped it keep a safe distance between it and the surging New York Yankees.

    The trade deadline acquisition of Nelson Cruz and Wander Franco's call-up bolstered the team's offense. The Rays produced eight or more runs in 14 of their August games.

    If they keep hitting at that rate, they should hold on to the No. 1 seed in the American League ahead of the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros.


    New York Yankees

    Current Record: 78-57

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 95.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 95

    The Yankees' recent surge put them back in the playoff hunt, but they still need a superb September to reach their projected win total.

    Aaron Boone's squad can make a push toward 96 wins during the first half of the month in which it faces Baltimore, Toronto, Cleveland and Texas at home and visits the New York Mets.

    The nine-game stretch to end the season at Boston and Toronto and at home against Tampa Bay will decide where the Yankees finish in the playoff standings and whether they can reach the projected win total.

    While the Yankees should get close to 95 wins, their recent four-game losing streak against the Athletics and Angels put a dent in the hopes to reach that mark in a comfortable manner.

    Prediction: Under


    Boston Red Sox

    Current Record: 79-59

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 80.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 92

    The Boston Red Sox just need two victories in the next month to cash the over on their projected win total.

    Boston's six-game homestand against Cleveland and Tampa Bay could aid in the push to 81 wins.

    In the worst-case scenario, the Red Sox can use the next home stretch with three games against the Orioles to hit the over.

    That is the least of Boston's concerns right now as it fights to stay alive in the postseason hunt. The Red Sox are 3.5 games above Oakland for the final wild-card position.

    Prediction: Over


    Toronto Blue Jays

    Current Record: 72-62

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 86.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 88

    Toronto had high expectations entering the season, but it has not kept pace with the other strong teams in the AL East.

    The Blue Jays' inconsistent August may do them in when it comes to the over on their win total and the wild-card race.

    Toronto won three games in a row only twice since August 7. It split four games with the Los Angeles Angels, lost a two-game series to the Washington Nationals and went 3-3 versus the Detroit Tigers in that span.

    Toronto has 14 games left with the Orioles and Twins, which will help its position in the wild-card race. There are 14 games against Oakland, the Yankees and Rays in September as well.

    If the Blue Jays can win close to half of the contests with the other playoff contenders, they can hit their win total and make a late push into the playoff hunt.

    Prediction: Under


    Baltimore Orioles

    Current Record: 42-92

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 64.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 53

    If you are sitting on an under ticket for the Orioles' win total, you are close to cashing in.

    Baltimore needs 23 victories to hit the over, and nothing about the team's play this season tells us it will go on a September surge.

    The more realistic goal for the Orioles is to just get to 50 wins and salvage an awful season that included a 19-game losing streak.

    Prediction: Under

AL Central

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Chicago White Sox

    Current Record: 79-57

    Projected Win Total: 91.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 93

    The Chicago White Sox have run away with the AL Central.

    Despite some hiccups against the Athletics and Rays in mid-August, the White Sox possessed a 9.5-game lead over Cleveland heading into Saturday.

    The White Sox have a clear path to 92 wins since Oakland and Boston are the only teams left on the schedule that are in the postseason hunt.

    The only concern regarding the White Sox's win total is how much they rest their top players ahead of the postseason.

    Chicago should clinch the AL Central before the final week of the regular season, and it may be more cautious with its stars since Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert spent time on the injured list and Tim Anderson, Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito are all currently sidelined.

    The White Sox have a 33-33 road record, and they have an 11-game road swing against Texas, Detroit and Cleveland in which they could drop some unexpected results while not at full strength.

    Tony La Russa's team will win the division, but it will be a sweat to get to 92 wins.

    Prediction: Under



    Current Record: 67-66

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 81.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 81

    For Cleveland to reach its win total, it needs to keep up its strong record against the AL Central.

    Cleveland holds a 35-22 division record, which is only two games worse than the White Sox.

    There are 19 divisional games left on Cleveland's slate. The five that are against the White Sox come at Progressive Field, where it has a 35-30 mark.

    Cleveland's pitching should be the key to reaching that total. Since August 15, it held opponents to three runs or fewer in nine of its victories.

    Prediction: Over


    Detroit Tigers

    Current Record: 64-73

    Projected Win Total: 68.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 75

    Detroit's form on the diamond has slowed down, but it has done more than enough to reach its projected win total from the start of the season.

    The Tigers reeled off a seven-game winning streak out of the All-Star break, and they had another three-game winning run at the end of July.

    Since then, Detroit has only won more than two games in a row once, and it is competing for third place in the AL Central.

    The goal for the Tigers is to play well in September to create momentum ahead of the 2022 season, when top prospect Spencer Torkelson could arrive and the young pitchers will carry more experience.

    Prediction: Over


    Kansas City Royals

    Current Record: 60-75

    Projected Win Total: 72.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 73

    Kansas City set a blistering pace in April by posting a 15-9 record.

    Over the last few months, the only thing about the Royals that has been consistently hot is Salvador Perez's bat.

    Kansas City will face a tough time getting to 73 wins to hit the over because of the 14 road games it faces in September.

    Kansas City has one of the worst road records in the American League at 27-40. The road games are not difficult, with Baltimore and Minnesota on the docket, but the Royals were swept on their travels by Cleveland and Texas earlier in the summer.

    Prediction: Under


    Minnesota Twins

    Current Record: 58-77

    Projected Win Total: 88.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 72

    If you bet Minnesota's under, you have already cashed your ticket.

    The Twins' trade deadline firesale allowed that ticket to safely cash.

    Minnesota won more than two games in a row once since the start of August, and the Twins lost four of their last five games.

    The Twins appear destined to land at the bottom of the AL Central because they have eyes on next season, and they face the Blue Jays on seven occasions on top of their regular divisional foes.

    Prediction: Under

AL West

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    Houston Astros

    Current Record: 79-56

    Projected Win Total: 86.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 95

    Houston is on its way to winning the AL West and eclipsing its projected win total.

    The Astros held a 5.5-game lead over the Athletics going into Saturday, and they need eight victories to cash in on over tickets.

    Houston should reach that point, or get very close to it, during a 10-game run against AL West opponents Seattle, Texas and Los Angeles. A three-game home set with Arizona should put the Astros over the hump.

    That should avoid any potential sweat for Astros bettors. They have one of the most difficult final stretches in the majors with six games against Oakland and three at home with Tampa Bay. The latter could be a playoff preview.

    Prediction: Over


    Oakland Athletics

    Current Record: 74-62

    Projected Win Total: 87.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 88

    Oakland's pursuit of a playoff spot should help with its attempt to get to 88 victories and cash in on the over.

    A majority of the team's September victories should come from a nine-game stretch against the Royals, Rangers and Angels.

    After that, the A's play 13 games against the Astros and Mariners. They have a series against each team at home and on the road.

    Oakland needs to improve on its 8-16 record against Houston and Seattle to make up ground on Boston and keep Toronto and Seattle off its heels in the wild-card race.

    The poor record against the Astros and Mariners is a concern for the over, but if they can beat up on the below-.500 teams on their schedule, the over should be in good shape.

    Prediction: Over


    Seattle Mariners

    Current Record: 74-62

    Projected Win Total: 72.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 86

    Seattle hit the over on its preseason win total with a 6-5 extra-inning victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday.

    Just under half of the Mariners' 73 victories have come against AL West opponents. Seattle is 36-24 against divisional foes. Only Houston has more divisional victories with 37.

    Seattle will be in the mix for the second wild-card spot throughout September. It can make up ground on Oakland in seven remaining head-to-head clashes, four on the road, three at home.


    Los Angeles Angels

    Current Record: 68-68

    Projected Win Total: 83.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 80

    Shohei Ohtani has been the bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for the Los Angeles Angels.

    The Angels' plans for a successful season were derailed by Mike Trout's long-term injury and some not-so-great bullpen production.

    If the Angels had a favorable schedule, they would have had a chance to ease the over with a red-hot September.

    However, the Angels embark on a brutal eight-game road swing against San Diego, Houston and the White Sox that starts on Tuesday.

    Prediction: Under


    Texas Rangers

    Current Record: 47-88

    Projected Win Total: 66.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 58

    Texas sits in the same position as Minnesota.

    The Rangers will take any positive results in September while preparing for the 2022 campaign.

    Adolis Garcia has shown promise in the heart of the order, and manager Chris Woodward should use the next month as an opportunity to evaluate the talent on his roster.

    Texas has a chance to play spoiler against the Yankees, Astros and Athletics. Even if the opponents were easier, it's hard to imagine a path to a ton of victories.

    The Rangers won consecutive games on two occasions in August, and they had three losing streaks of four or more contests.

    Prediction: Under

National League East

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press


    Current Record: 71-64

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 91.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 86

    Atlanta's win total was affected by Ronald Acuna Jr.'s season-ending injury and the quality of teams in the other two NL divisions.

    After Acuna went down on July 10, Atlanta failed to win multiple games in a row until August 3 and 4.

    Atlanta stabilized its winning ways through the additions of Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario at the trade deadline.

    However, the power bats have not been enough to get past the best teams in the NL. The current NL East leader was just swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers. It also fell in two home games with the New York Yankees.

    Atlanta's biggest concern on the schedule is its final road trip of the season. It plays San Francisco, San Diego and Arizona in that stretch.

    If it deals well with that stretch and dominates a nine-game homestand with Washington, Miami and Colorado, Atlanta could make a late push to hit its over.

    That bet could come down to how well the team performs on its final West Coast swing. If the Dodgers series is an indicator of success, it may hurt the team's winning percentage.

    Prediction: Under


    Philadelphia Phillies

    Current Record: 69-66

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 80.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 83

    Philadelphia will likely go over its projected win total, but it may have some trouble catching up to Atlanta in the NL East.

    The Phillies failed to take advantage of their opening game in south Florida against the Marlins on Friday. Atlanta lost later in the night against Colorado.

    The biggest problem lately for Joe Girardi's team has been the inability to defeat lesser teams. It lost four of seven games with Arizona and dropped the first game of what was perceived as an easy three-game set on paper.

    Philadelphia has Colorado, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and the Chicago Cubs left on their home schedule.

    Even if they win 75 percent of those contests, the Phillies should have enough wins to combine with a few road victories to cash the over.

    Prediction: Over


    New York Mets

    Current Record: 68-68

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 90.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 82

    Unless the New York Mets have one of the best Septembers in MLB history, they should cash in on under tickets.

    New York plummeted out of the NL East over the last two weeks. It recently crept back in because of Atlanta's struggles in Los Angeles.

    The Mets can pick up momentum in their playoff chases with five games in a row against Washington and Miami.

    However, their home schedule is the opposite of Philadelphia's slate at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets host the Yankees, Cardinals and Phillies from September 10-19. That stretch could officially secure the under.

    Prediction: Under


    Washington Nationals

    Current Record: 56-79

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 84.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 67

    Washington possesses one of the largest differences in projected win totals between spring training and now.

    Any bettors who picked the Nationals' over at 84.5 wins ripped up their tickets at the end of July when the team sold off every big name except for Juan Soto.

    Washington is in full rebuild mode, and there has been a drastic drop in quality since then as all eyes are on 2022 and beyond.

    Prediction: Under


    Miami Marlins

    Current Record: 57-79

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 70.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 68

    Miami was not expected to be a good team this year, and its record backs that up.

    The Marlins are competing with the Nationals to be the worst team in the NL East. They have six head-to-head meetings that could decide that title.

    Even if Miami won all six of those games, the path to 71 wins is bleak at best since Miami is 6-11 in its last 17 contests.

    Prediction: Under

NL Central

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Milwaukee Brewers

    Current Record: 83-54

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 82.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 97

    Similar to the White Sox in the AL Central, Milwaukee will cruise into the postseason as the first-place team in the NL Central.

    Milwaukee went over its preseason win total with its victory over St. Louis on Saturday.

    The Brewers entered Saturday with a 10-game lead over Cincinnati in the NL Central. They will be the No. 2 seed in the NL playoffs unless they make up ground on the NL West winner. The Dodgers had four more wins going into Saturday.

    If you are in possession of a Brewers' over ticket, have fun with the winnings on Labor Day weekend or use them for Week 1 of the NFL season.


    Cincinnati Reds

    Current Record: 73-64

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 82.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 85

    Cincinnati surged into the playoff discussion through a solid month of August and some struggles out of the Padres.

    The Reds entered Saturday with a half-game lead over San Diego, which is the best-case scenario for their over bettors.

    Instead of languishing to the finish line 10 games behind the Brewers, the Reds will be motivated to keep pace, or better, the Padres, Cardinals, Phillies and Mets in the wild-card race.

    The key to Cincinnati's September success will be nine games against the last-place Pirates. Add in four home matchups with Washington and you have a clear path to 83 wins and the over cashing.

    Prediction: Over


    St. Louis Cardinals

    Current Record: 69-65

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 86.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 83

    While the Reds caught our attention in the wild-card race, the Cardinals were busy making up a similar amount of ground.

    The Cardinals went 15-11 in August, which was aided by a six-game winning streak against Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

    Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the abundance of easy matchups dried up with the exception of seven games against the Cubs.

    St. Louis has a critical seven-game homestand against the Dodgers and Reds. The Cardinals have eight games left with the Brewers, a road series with the Mets and a home set with the Padres.

    Prediction: Under


    Chicago Cubs

    Current Record: 62-75

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 79.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 72

    The Cubs have an 18-game gap between their current win total and their projected win total from March.

    Given the way the Cubs' season has gone, it is surprising that the disparity is not larger.

    To their credit, the Cubs have produced five straight wins, including two 6-5 victories over the Pirates.

    Chicago's two purposes over the next few weeks are to keep building for next season and to play spoiler. From September 6-19, the Cubs have three games each against the Reds, Giants, Phillies and Brewers.

    Prediction: Under


    Pittsburgh Pirates

    Current Record: 48-88

    Projected Win Total: 59.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 59

    To Dennis Green, the Pirates are who we thought they were.

    Pittsburgh is tracking a half-game beneath its projected win total from the start of the season.

    If you are holding on to a Pirates' over-59.5 ticket: 1. Bless your heart. 2. There's still a chance.

    Pittsburgh has six games against the Nationals and Marlins, and there are three games in the final week versus the Cubs.

    Even then, the Pirates need to pull off a few wins as likely underdogs to hit 60 wins.

    Prediction: Under

NL West

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    Current Record: 86-50

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 101.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 102

    To quote the previous slide, the Dodgers also are who we thought they were, but just on the opposite side of the standings.

    The Dodgers should be the favorite to come out of the NL in the postseason, and they appear to be getting better with each game.

    Los Angeles swept San Diego and Atlanta to tighten the NL West race with the Giants. If the Dodgers win on Saturday and Sunday, they will be the clear favorite to win the division over the surprising Giants.

    With Max Scherzer leading the rotation and a lineup led by Trea Turner, Max Muncy and Mookie Betts, the Dodgers are the best all-around team and should have a shot at repeating their World Series title.

    Prediction: Over


    San Francisco Giants

    Current Record: 86-50

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 75.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 100

    If you bet on the Giants' over, you collected your winnings on August 15.

    The Giants have been the best story in baseball all season long, and they have shown no fear against the Dodgers.

    San Francisco fought out a 3-2 victory on Friday night, and it is 9-8 against the Dodgers in the season series.


    San Diego Padres

    Current Record: 72-64

    Projected Win Total: 94.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 86

    At one point in the season, we were talking about the Padres being involved in a three-horse race for the NL West title with the Dodgers and Giants.

    Now we are concerned about San Diego's playoff hopes since it sits a half-game back of Cincinnati in the wild-card race entering Saturday.

    If San Diego stabilizes its play over the next few weeks, it will have a chance to claim one of the two wild-card positions.

    With the dip in July and August, the over on the team's projected win total is dead.

    Prediction: Under


    Colorado Rockies

    Current Record: 63-73

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 64.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 73

    Colorado is two wins away from exceeding its preseason expectations.

    The Rockies have their home-field advantage at Coors Field to thank for that. They are 45-23 at home and 18-50 on their travels.

    Colorado has 13 home games left on the schedule. Getting three wins from that group of games seems easy.

    Prediction: Over


    Arizona Diamondbacks

    Current Record: 45-92

    Preseason Projected Win Total: 74.5

    Current Projected Win Total: 57


    That's really all we have here to describe the Diamondbacks.

    They have been awful all season long, and they play in the worst division to have an awful season since the Dodgers, Giants and Padres have ganged up on them all year.

    Arizona will come nowhere close to its preseason projected win total and is in a fight with Baltimore to earn the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB draft.

    Prediction: Under