Win Totals to Watch
March 27, 2014
By Kyle Hunter
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Even though the Major League Baseball season technically started last weekend in Australia, the official season gets underway in earnest this coming week though, and there’s nothing quite like Opening Day. The weather starts to brighten up, and the boys of summer get the long grind of the baseball season started.
One way I like to make money on the diamond is with regular season "Win Total" bets. I believe these are even easier to handicap than individual games, because there is much more of a margin for error.
Listed below are my top "Win Total" wagers for the upcoming season.
Chicago White Sox - Under 76 ½ Wins
Several books have the White Sox line at 76.5 wins, and I think that is several games too high. Remember, the White Sox won only 63 games a year ago. The American League Central used to be one of the easiest divisions in baseball, but that is no longer the case. Detroit is an elite team that will likely win at least 90 games this year, and the Indians and Royals are both very capable of winning more than 85. Somebody in the division is going to have to take their lumps, and I expect it to be the White Sox.
Chris Sale is a great starter, but behind him I’m not a bit impressed with this rotation. Felipe Paulino, Jose Quintana, Erik Johnson, and John Danks will be the final four starters for the White Sox. The bullpen is arguably even worse than the rotation. The closers role is still wide open even as there are just a few days until the regular season begins. Whoever gets the job will likely be unreliable.
The White Sox offense expects to get a boost from Jose Abreu this year, but I’m afraid there is too much on his shoulders. This is lineup full of guys who strike out way too much, and they have never been very good at hitting with runners in scoring position. My single favorite win total this year is the White Sox under 76.5 wins.
Washington Nationals - Over 89 ½ Wins
Just about everything that could go wrong for the Nationals did go wrong last year, and they still made it to 86 wins. Washington’s starting pitching depth is as good as anyone in the National League. Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, and Stephen Strasburg all have the stuff of a number one pitcher. The Nationals didn’t make a bunch of moves in the offseason, but they didn’t need to. Doug Fister is a big upgrade from Dan Haren in the rotation, and he’ll be a very good number four starter. The bullpen got a boost when the team signed Jerry Blevins as well.
The Braves are the only team who could compete with the Nationals in the NL East, and the Braves are having a multitude of injury issues this year. Philadelphia, New York, and Miami should lose quite a few games. All this equals a bunch of wins for the Nationals. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see this team win 95-100 games this year.
Cleveland Indians - Over 80 ½ Wins
The Indians definitely aren’t getting much respect from the oddsmakers this year. This is a team that won 92 games last year, and yet the oddsmakers set this line at 80.5 wins. What gives? Clearly, the oddsmakers think the Indians were one-hit wonders under Terry Francona last year. I disagree. While the Indians may not get to 92 wins again, seeing this team win 12 fewer games than last year is hard to imagine. Francona has established himself as one of the best managers in baseball, and there is plenty of talent here.
Keep in mind; the Indians are going to get to beat up on the Twins and the White Sox often this year. Asdrubal Cabrera had a down year in 2013, and I expect much better from him this year. Jason Kipnis should continue to become one of the better offensive second basemen in the league. The pitching rotation isn’t great at the top, but there is an abundance of depth. I think the Indians get to at least 85 wins.
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