AL Future Best Bets
March 30, 2017
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Opening Day of the 2017 Major League Baseball season takes place this weekend and now that the lines have had at least a month to settle down, get dissected, and thoroughly investigated, it's time to break down some of the better wagers offered.
While many pundits out there envision a repeat of the 2016 World Series with the Chicago Cubs getting the better of the Cleveland Indians again, win total wagers don't concern themselves with who will go all the way and those looking to back the Cubs in this style of prop bet will have to pay a steep price to go over.
The Cubs have one of the highest season win totals ever released at 96.5, but this piece will focus on the American League teams and which teams are poised to improve/regress in 2017. So let's get right to the best bets:
AL Best Bet #1: L.A Angels Over 79.5 (-125)
The Angels had quite the down year as a team in 2016 as they only won 74 games. One could only imagine how bad their record would have been had they not had the AL MVP winner in Mike Trout on the field most days, but this organization has been hit hard by numerous significant injuries the past few years. Everyone enters 2017 healthy and some key depth additions like Cameron Maybin, Ben Revere, Dustin Ackley and Martin Maldonado should help provide a bit more consistent offense for this club.
The starting rotations is still a bit of an unknown commodity for the Angels this year, but they'll get #1 Garrett Richards back to lead the rotation and Matt Shoemaker will be back on the hill after having his 2016 campaign cut short by being hit in the head with a line drive. Tyler Skaggs has another year of MLB experience under his belt and hopes to build upon that, and Ricky Nolasco is a workhorse out there if he can pitch with consistency over the long haul.
As long as the key pieces on the Angels roster can stay healthy for the majority of the year, this is a team that should end up being in the conversation for an AL West title. They'd need to be well over the .500 mark to do so and with this total being below that point, there is a huge margin of error involved with this play. There is no question that Mike Trout will win a few games by himself for this club and with some simply average help from his teammates, an 80+ win season should be achieved.
AL Best Bet #2: Texas Rangers Under 85 (-115)
This play is a bit in correlation with the one above as the added wins the Angels are looking for are going to have to come from somewhere – especially within division play – and it looks like the team that's a prime candidate to regress would be the Texas Rangers.
Texas played well above their heads last year in terms of advanced stats as they finished the year with a 95-67 SU record despite only having a +8 run differential. They were extremely lucky in close games all year long and luck like that is bound to regress sooner than later. They were the only team in the majors with a plus-run differential below 10 and for comparison sake, the Angels finished with a -10 run differential and were 14 games below .500.
Add in the fact that their starting rotation isn't nearly what it has been in recent years as there are multiple question marks behind Darvish and Hamels, and even those two aren't exactly known to stay healthy for an entire season. The Rangers' run of being a playoff team comes to an end in 2017 as they'll struggle to even reach the .500 mark.
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