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MLB Season Recap

Rays Best for Bettors on 2012 Wins Futures, Jays Tops For Book

If the Tampa Bay Rays played in the American League Central this season, Joe Maddon's team would be the Central champs and headed to the playoffs for the third year in a row. However, Maddon's team is stuck in the big-money AL East and the Rays missed out on claiming one of two wild-card spots.

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But when the Rays beat the Chicago White Sox 10-4 last Saturday for their 87th victory, they became bettors' biggest MLB winners on over/under victory futures totals from back in the spring. Tampa Bay was posted at 86.5 wins and took more than 95 percent of the action on the over. The Rays, who finished third in the AL East, won this season with pitching as they led the AL in ERA by a wide margin. Tampa ranked near the bottom of the American League in runs and batting average.

The other big wins total result for bettors was on the Washington Nationals, who won the NL East and reached the playoffs for the first time since the franchise moved from Montreal. Washington finished with 98 victories and clinched the top seed in the NL playoffs with Wednesday's season-ending victory over the Phillies. Almost 85 percent of the spring action was on over 83.5 wins for the Nats.

For the book three vastly disappointing teams proved to be its biggest winners on wins totals. The top result was on Toronto, which was a chic playoff pick in spring training. The Blue Jays were set at 82.5 wins and took almost 95 percent on the over, but thanks to an injury-ravaged season, especially in the rotation, finished with their first 90-loss season since 2004. Entering the All-Star break, Toronto was at .500 but collapsed in the second half.

Other big winners on overs for the book were Miami at 85.5 wins (more than 90 percent of the lean) and Minnesota at 72.5 wins (95 percent). Philadelphia and the Yankees entered the season with the highest wins total, both at 93.5. The Yanks have exceeded that, while the Phils finished well under. Another big underachiever was Boston (90.5 wins). The biggest victory overachievers by far this season were AL playoff-bound teams Baltimore (69.5 wins) and Oakland (72.5). The only 2012 playoff team to finish under its posted wins total was the AL Central champion Tigers (91.5).

The Houston Astros entered the season with the lowest wins total at 63.5 and they couldn't even reach that in their final season in the National League (Houston goes to the AL West in 2013). The Chicago Cubs were the only other 100-loss team in MLB this season and the finished well under their 73.5 total. Houston and Chicago closed the season against one another and it was the first game(s) between 100-loss teams since 1962.

The NL Central made unwanted history this year with those two terrible clubs. It's just second time in baseball history one division had two 100-loss teams - the last was the 2002 AL Central with the Royals (62-100) and Tigers (55-106).

Division Futures Results

That Detroit won the AL Central was a good result for the book - the Tigers started the season as 1/4 huge favorites and closed at 6/5 in the most recent futures odds. Because of those short odds, the book wasn't exposed there. It was highly exposed on the White Sox, who led the Central for much of the season and were 12/1 in the spring, ahead of only the Twins.

The Reds (7/5) and Giants (13/10) were favorites in the NL Central and West, respectively, and their division wins were solid results for the book because they were so heavily favored.

Washington was a big win for bettors as the Nats started the year at 8/1, ahead of only the Mets in the East. Oakland's victory over Texas in Wednesday's regular-season finale paid out huge for futures bettors as the A's shockingly won the AL West -- it was the first time all season Oakland was alone in first. The book was very exposed on Oakland at 30/1 back in the spring. In fact, the only division winner on which the book was more exposed was Baltimore to win the AL East at a whopping 100/1.

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