A Walk Through The Early Over/Unders

We’re still six weeks from opening day, but the first sports book over/unders were released the other day, and while this is not an endorsement of gambling, it can be fun and informative to look at how the Vegas proprietors see each team stacking up before the season. So, let’s take a look at the early numbers.


Team O/U
Tigers 90
Dodgers 90
Nationals 90
Angels 89.5
Reds 88.5
Rangers 87
Yankees 86.5
Blue Jays 86.5
Braves 86
Giants 86
Rays 86
Cardinals 85.5
Athletics 83
D’Backs 81.5
Phillies 81.5
White Sox 80.5
Red Sox 79.5
Brewers 79.5
Royals 79
Pirates 79
Indians 77.5
Orioles 76.5
Mariners 76.5
Padres 74.5
Mets 74
Cubs 72
Rockies 71.5
Marlins 64.5
Twins 64.5
Astros 59.5

There’s no obviously absurd numbers in there, and overall, it matches up pretty well with my expectations. That said, there are definitely a few teams where I’d lean towards the over or the under.

Over

Boston: 79.5

This is the easiest call on the whole list for me. The Red Sox had a lousy 2012 season, but I just don’t see too many reasons to expect them to be a below .500 team. The offense should be well above average, and depending on how healthy Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz stay, Boston might be one of the better hitting teams in baseball. The questions are mostly in the rotation, but it’s not like Ryan Dempster, Clay Buchholz, and John Lackey have never been good pitchers. There’s a lot of risk in the group, but there’s some real talent there too, and the bullpen is deep enough to make them not carry to heavy a workload. Even in a tough division, I’d probably pencil Boston in for somwhere around 85 wins, which gives a strong cushion for an over here.

Toronto: 86.5

If you don’t buy into R.A. Dickey or Melky Cabrera, this is probably about right, but I think both Dickey and Cabrera are in for pretty solid seasons, and I’d have the Blue Jays closer to 90 wins. The divisional strength holds them back to some extent, but that can be overstated, as the division is more balanced than incredibly hard. There isn’t a monster 100 win team here that’s going to beat everyone else down, so while there’s not a patsy either, I’m not sure the AL East is dramatically better than other good divisions, and there might be too much of a drag on the top AL East teams here because of the perception of the divisional strength.

Cleveland: 77.5

I’m not counting on the Indians as division winners, but I’d put them as closer to an 81 or 82 win team than a 78 win team, and that’s a pretty decent margin for a comfortable over here. We’ve talked about how the Indians roster gives them significant match-up flexibility, and I think that could translate into an ability to outperform their individual talent levels. If there’s a team out there where the sum might be greater than the whole of its parts, it’s probably the Indians. They might be a 78 win team if you just look at the 25 guys by themselves, but with some platoons and maximizing each player’s strengths, I think they could finish with a winning record.

Chicago Cubs: 72

I’d be more confident in this one if I thought the Cubs would keep their current roster together all year. I like their rotation a lot, but it seems inevitable that Matt Garza is going to get traded once he proves healthy, and it’s possible that the team could end up moving other pieces at the deadline as well as they continue to focus on rebuilding with youth. I’d stil probably peg them for a few wins better than this, but I wouldn’t be too confident in the peg, knowing that the roster we see today probably won’t stay together all that long.

Unders

Los Angeles Dodgers: 90

There are only three teams in baseball with a 90 win O/U. The Nationals are the best team in the game and the Tigers play in the weakest division, so the the other two are understandable, but I’m not quite as sold on the Dodgers being at this level. There’s some serious star power at the top of the roster, but I don’t love the cast of role players around them, and I think both the Giants and Diamondbacks are going to provide some real competition for the division title. For a good-not-great team in a division with some other pretty decent clubs, a 90 win over/under just seems a little high. It’s not crazy, but I’d probably go 87 or 88, which makes this a slight under for me.

Chicago White Sox: 80.5

Looking at the White Sox roster, I just don’t see a lot of places where we should expect significant improvement. Alexei Ramirez should hit better, and Jeff Keppinger should be an upgrade over the black hole they had at third base last year, but those aren’t going to be monstrous gains, and I see more downside from guys regressing than upside from guys improving. Alex Rios should be worse. Paul Konerko will probably be worse. A.J. Pierzynski‘s career year will be replaced by guys who won’t match that production. Maybe getting John Danks back will improve the rotation a bit, but that could easily be off-set by worse seasons from Jake Peavy and Chris Sale, who don’t really have anywhere to go but down. I don’t hate the White Sox roster, but I’d have a hard time pegging them as a .500 team right now.

As always, treat these guesses as nothing but entertainment, and be wise with your money. Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer. The end.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


115 Responses to “A Walk Through The Early Over/Unders”

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  1. Otter says:

    I think the Sox are accurately pegged (sorry, White Sox). They were a Pythagorean 88 win team last year actually winning 85 games. They might be six games worse on paper, but then again, if they were closer to an 88 win team, then we’re talking about a 9 win swing. Plus they get to play the Twins a lot.

    I know this is crazy, but I think the Astros might be high. Switching leagues + Tougher Division + same to worse talent on paper… we might be looking at the 2003 Tigers here.

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    • Tim says:

      They got to play the Twins a lot last year, too. And while the Twins are still terrible, they should be slightly better than they were.

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    • Aaron (UK) says:

      I’ve taken 11/2 (+550 in American-style odds) about a team winning fewer than 50 games – I had the Astros in mind here though an injury to/trade of Stanton might put the Marlins in-play too.

      I’ve also taken 5/1 (+500) for a team to win a game from 9 runs down – I recall this happened at least twice last year – does anyone have stats on this going further back?

      More precisely on topic, I like the Nats, Indians & Dbacks over, and agree on Dave’s unders picks.

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      • Oasis says:

        How many times in the last 50 years has a team failed to win 50 games? Twice?

        I don’t think the Astros will lose as many games as you think they will. I think that was a suckers bet and you let your AL biases cloud your judgement. You should have gotten 20 to 1 odds at least …

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  2. Mike says:

    It’s been 4 years since the Braves won as few as 86 games – that seems like a pretty obvious over. 90 feels low for the Nationals too.

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  3. Goodbread says:

    Good to see the Orioles’ record in one run games in 2012 seems to have been accounted for in these over/unders — 76.5 seems about right.

    Largely agree with Dave’s picks (except 1, see below). Here are a few more potential opportunities, but first my quick framework:

    – quality and depth of starting rotation
    – effects of anomalies from 2012 season (like the aforementioned Baltimore in one run games)
    – expected health (or potential for health) of roster from previous year
    – FA additions/subtractions

    Using that as my guide, as a 2nd tier below Dave’s recs (maybe include the White Sox ‘under’ in this 2nd tier), I’d add:

    – Indians: Under 77.5. Primary reason: rotation
    – Phillies: over 81.5. Rotation
    – Royals: Over 79. Healthy, emerging core offense. Believe!

    Also, if you could assign WAR to managers, Bobby Valentine would have had a -9.7 WAR in 2012. At least.

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    • Brandon says:

      Had Baltimore gone .500 in its 38 one-run games, instead of .763, it would have been an 83-win club. I recognize the historic role luck played last season. They were very lucky to win 93 games. But I don’t think luck played so large a role in their winning 83 games. There will be regression, but with a full season of Machado and Reimold, improved depth, and better health, they won’t regress all the way to 76 wins.

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    • Chris says:

      Do you bet much? I’m just wondering because the bet on the under for the Indians looks like a truly awful bet, whether you do truly believe their rotation is going to be bad or not. Their offense has improved by A LOT this year. And with a few things going their way, they could win 85 games. They improved their left field situation by moving Brantley there (LF was essentially replacement level or lower all year). They now have someone who can hit at 1B. Stubbs will be a slight downgrade to Choo’s below average (for him) season last year. The only big question marks are how much Stubbs improves (there’s reason to think he will, including a low BABIP), and how well Chisenhall does. Don’t forget they now have depth with Aviles.

      Now, looking at their pitching, their bullpen has slightly improved and should be good. Huge question marks in their rotation. I doubt Jimenez becomes an average pitcher again, but he should do better. McAllister is a good #4. And Carrasco has high upside when he does get in the rotation.

      It’s not a good idea to bet against upside, and the Indians have a decent amount of question marks. I would either take the over or not bet on it. The under just seems stupid to me, especially because I don’t think that teams is as bad as their 69-win mark last year.

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  4. byron says:

    Bovada’s not going to have these up for days so that they can let the other houses get hit with the early action and tweak the line. I really need to get a new betting site.

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  5. Forrest Gumption says:

    So the A’s get 19 games against the Astros this year and will be 11 games a worse team than last year? Or 9 games worse if you use pythag?

    Come. On. Do people just pull these things out of thin air?

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    • Anon21 says:

      It’s not meant to be a straight projection; someone has explained it to me that they’re trying to get roughly equal action on both sides of the line, which may be different from an accurate projection if they think sports bettors aren’t all that great at projecting lines.

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      • dafuq says:

        This is a common misconception.

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      • Tim says:

        True of your local bookie, not really true in Vegas or on the internet. Any inaccurate line in a popular sport like baseball will get hammered by sharps.

        (Season prop lines can be pretty bad, though, because having a chunk of bankroll out of play for that long is usually worse than missing a small edge, so betting is very square-dominated.)

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        • James says:

          Theoretically, an “accurate” line is going to result in a 50/50 split… and if they didn’t care about that and their opening line was “accurate”, the lines would never fluctuate.

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        • Tim says:

          The lines don’t fluctuate in order to move the betting, though – the lines fluctuate because the betting is more predictive than the line settor. The line settor’s job is to get as close to predictive as possible, but naturally there’s quite a bit of error involved.

          The more the line has to move, the less money the book makes. So they’re very motivated to get it close to right from the beginning. (Which is why you’re seeing conservative books like Bodog let everyone else’s lines get hit first.)

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    • Ned says:

      Exactly. Vegas projects what they think the public thinks.

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    • scatterbrian says:

      I would absolutely take the over for Oakland. Last year, the A’s and the Nationals were the only two teams who were over .500:
      – at home and on the road
      – vs. all three divisions
      – vs. interleague
      – in extra innings
      – in one-run games
      – vs. both RH and LH starters
      – vs. both sub-.500 and .500+ teams

      They were also only two games over their Pythag. That doesn’t seem like a fluky team to me. I think they have gotten better over the winter, so it’s difficult to imagine they’ll finish one game over .500.

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  6. Cody says:

    By far the easiest call for me is the Nationals over 90.I think this may just be a result of me drinking the kool-aid as a Washington DC area resident, but there is no way that the Nationals win less than 90 games.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      By “no way,” you mean “there are ways which are improbable.” I think Washington are a very safe bet to win more than 90 games – this is a squad that took a 98-win roster and improved – but there are ways to crash. If Stephen Strasburg’s arm blows up, or if Bryce Harper and Denard Span disappear while flying through the Bermuda Triangle, etc.

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    • You can’t properly weight those O/Us without looking at the betting line. If the Nat’s Over is -140 and the Under is +125, Vegas is saying that the Over is much more likely.

      Also, it is traditional in these types of columns for the author to tell us how he did last year and overall since he started these columns.

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      • djw says:

        Don’t the lines start out even, and move in response to the action? There was (not surprisingly) initially more action on the over than the under for the Nats, so the line moves to try to even out the bet for the house, by sweetening the pot on under bets.

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    • mikec says:

      I like Nats to win 98 games and for Strasburg to be NL CY even tho he’s gonna get pulled regularly after 6 innings to hold his regular and post-season combined total to under 230. It shapes up as a truly great team with every ingredient. The people who are insisting the Nats are in store for much higher than average injury attrition are overstating that a lot. Only very slightly higher than average. I’m not a Nats fan. Just an envious admirer.

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      • Oh, Beepy says:

        Davey Johnson gave an interview within the last couple days in which he says the exact opposite of this. Stras will be in til’ he’s ready to come out; not just when the hitters have run up his tally more than the brass is comfortable with.

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      • ron says:

        The Nats had a ton of injury problems last year and still won 98 games. I think they have the depth to handle it.

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  7. mdecav says:

    No teams above 90 but four teams below 72

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    • Goodbread says:

      It’s an over/under number, not a wins prediction.

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      • OtherSideoftheCoin says:

        Given this, I’d like to find the approximate 50% who are going Under 90 for the Nationals. Bitter Montreal folk?

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        • Oliver says:

          Cole Hamels?

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        • Baltar says:

          People with intelligence. 90 wins is a lot. The Nats have done it once.

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        • OtherSideoftheCoin says:

          So one should also go over on the Yankees because they always make the playoffs in the past?

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        • indyralph says:

          Any of the following things could reasonably happen: Desmond plays like its 2011 instead of 2012; Werth misses 80 games; Zimmerman misses 80 games; LaRoche plays like its 2010/11 instead of 2012; one (or more) of Gio, Strasburg, Zimmermann miss time with injury; Haren’s back gives out; Strasburg and Harper are only as good as they were last year, not significantly better; Span has concussion symptoms return. Not all of these will happen of course. But winning 90 games is hard even if none of these happen.

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        • Aaron (UK) says:

          The Nats had relatively good luck with pitcher injuries last year, and relatively poor luck with position players (“Werth misses 80 games” is actually pretty much what happened).

          There are undoubtedly a few regression candidates (LaRoche, Desmond) but overall their youth and the improvements they have made to the roster suggests 90 is on the low side.

          Not to mention that their division is weaker this year, and they get to play the AL Central rather than the AL East in interleague. In fact, as per the lines above, the Nats’ average opposition is only rated at 78.5 wins.

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        • Well-Beered Englishman says:

          indyralph, “Werth misses 80 games” is something which happened in 2012; “Zimmerman misses 80 games” is something which sort-of happened, since he was injured but still played; “Strasburg and Harper are only as good as they were last year” is another point which would not represent a drop-off from 2012. In addition, an injured Span could still equal the 2012 production of an injured Morse.

          You’re right about various freak injuries that could happen, but the team saw almost its entire lineup injured last year, and this roster is improved – if only on paper.

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        • indyralph says:

          I think the problem is that there seems to be an assumption that 98 wins is the baseline, and so there is room for downside luck. But the team could be exactly as good in 2013 as in 2012 from all individuals and still only win 92 games just due to variance. I agree that the Nationals are very good, and the best bet to win 90 games. But when you are a projected 90+ win team, almost all of the variance is on the down side. To say it another way: there is a number of wins where you should always take the under, simply due to probabilities. For a lot of betters, 90 is probably pretty close to that number.

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        • mikec says:

          Well, PECOTA has Nats at 88 W’s. 706 RS against 641 RA for a plus margin of just 65. That’s sooooo wrong, IMO.

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      • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

        semantics….

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      • Shane T. says:

        Still, the O/Us add up to 2,407 wins, for a season with 2,430 games. If not for the house edge, there’d be a serious arbitrage opportunity here.

        But this is for entertainment purposes only. [wink]

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        • mike says:

          They are underestimating total wins on the season by less than 1%. You’d have to tie up a lot of money for 6+ months taking both sides of each total to take advantage.

          I can think of a lot of ways to make a better return than 1% with my money over the next 6 months.

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        • hk says:

          I agree with Mike that there’s not much of an arbitrage opportunity here, but I do find it interesting that the cumulative total of all of the lines is below the average. It seems to me that more novice bettors lean towards betting overs and, as such, I was expecting the sum of the totals to be above 2,430 and surely not as low as it is at 2,406.

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        • rogue_actuary says:

          I think that they probably go light on the games because people are more likely to be the over than the under. Especially when they’re betting on their own team. The books can move the line as the action dictates, but they don’t make nearly as much money when people aren’t betting.

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        • Hank says:

          There is no arbitrage opportunity here because the odds on both sides of the bet are not always the same.

          People keep assuming the payout is the same when it often is not.

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        • mikec says:

          I don’t agree with the one commenter about I Desmond regression. Yes, he’s got the negative indicators of too-high BABIP and just the one stickout season in ’12. But did his improvement look fluky or real to you folks last year? To me, it looked very real and very impressive. The Nats waited on this guy for several years because they believed in him. Now he’s entering the common peak of his age-27 season. I’m going on the old-school side on this one. On MLB Network, former SS Larry Bowa and sabermetic guru Bill James both picked their top 10 SS’s. James did not have Desmond in his top 10. Bowa picked Desmond Numero Uno, above Tulo even. I should point out here that James’ snub doesn’t mean he dosn’t like Desmond; he just puts a lot of weight on a player having several good seasons in the bank. (Unless he’s a Royal, of course, which has always been James’s blind spot. Yes, Alc. Escobar was in James’ top 10.) But Bowa vs James is illustrative of a very divided opinion on Desmond. I’m a big believer.

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        • TKDC says:

          It’s also not a guarantee as some teams could barely miss the over while others crush it and more unders could still hit.

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      • mikec says:

        Yes, but I think it’s smart on O/U wagers to go toward PECOTA numbers rather than against. Mets 80 PECOTA to 74 O/U. I’d lean Over to feel like I got a 6-win advntage. Yanks 92 to 86.5. Over, to capitalize on huge 5.5 wins variance. Bosox 86 to 79.5. Even huger diff of 6.5. Over. Cubs 77 to 72. Over. Let me put this another way. Astros 63 PECOTA to 59.5. Well, my gut and brain say Under. But I’d pass on making a real wager cuz I’d feel like I’m giving away 3.5 wins against the objective projection. I’d only make a bet in which it follows my gut and brain AND gives me what I call the PECOTA advantage. I will bet Over on Cubs. I had them at 75 wins before anything came out, and the O/U number is 3 lower than PECOTA’s. (And, yeah, Garza may be gone in 2nd half, but B Jax and A Vizcaino could provide boosts. ‘Nother way of saying youth-over-vets rebuilds don’t necessarily depress Wins in the present.)

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  8. Sparkles Peterson says:

    If I was a compulsively-betting man, I’d actually strongly consider the under on Washington. That roster is basically 25 guys I can make a real case for taking a slight to a significant step back in performance.

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    • John C. says:

      Of course, you can pretty much say that about any team. There is a scenario for any one player to take a slight to significant step back in performance unless the player missed the whole season or was so bad that he actually undermined his team.

      So sure, there’s a chance that the team finishes under 90 wins. There’s also about as much chance that the team finishes with over 100 wins.

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    • Timb says:

      Let’s not forget they’re getting a full season of a seemingly healthy Ryan Zimmerman, as well as Wilson Ramos.

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      • Jason B says:

        “they’re *hoping to get* a full season of a seemingly healthy Ryan Zimmerman”

        or

        “they’re *somewhat likely to get* a full season of a seemingly healthy Ryan Zimmerman”

        /fixed/

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  9. maguro says:

    Pirates under 79 seems like a good bet. They didn’t do much in the offseason and losing those games against Houston hurts them a lot. They were 12-5 against the Astros last year and 67-78 against everyone else.

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    • Mike says:

      Right, and by the same token the over on the A’s makes even more sense.

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    • Jg941 says:

      Yeah, but they also get two, 6-game sets against the Rockies and Marlins and, for old time’s sake, an intra-league series against ……the Astros. With the Pirates’ upgrades, I think they’re a decent bet to finally get over .500 again.

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  10. ThirteenOfTwo says:

    I would take the under on the Astros. It seems a little crazy to think they’re going to improve by five wins while moving from one of baseball’s easiest divisions to its hardest , especially since they’ve sold off everyone making any money (Lowrie, Rodriguez, Norris may be next to go, etc.) I see serious potential for mid-40s wins on that roster.

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  11. Brian says:

    I have found that the best entertainment value is found in individual player props.

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  12. Baltar says:

    Dave’s picks of the Blue Jays and Indians for overs matches the consensus of sports writers for those teams, but the betters ain’t buying that kind of improvement. History is on their side.
    The most interesting thing to watch for me this season is to see if the two teams that had the best offseasons on paper actually produce.

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  13. tsunamijesus says:

    I’m glad someone accredited is finally pointing out the White Sox. Every time I look at that roster, I can’t help but see a mid-70-wins team. I’d bet the house on the under for 160 innings for both Peavey and Sale, and beyond that I don’t see much of anything in their rotation. Maybe their lineup can piece together enough ~2WAR players to stay afloat, but man, that is a pretty weak lineup. Here’s to hoping that this is the year that the M’s can finally beat them at Comiskey US Cellular with some regularity

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    • steex says:

      How can the M’s beat the White Sox in Chicago with “some regularity” when they play only 3 games there? They match up the very first weekend in April and that is their only opportunity.

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    • JimH says:

      The White Sox pitching including their bullpen is in the top 5 or 6. They also catch the ball very well. That adds up to a lot of wins over 162 innings. In that division I can see them winning 85 games. They also get the Cubs 6 times per year.

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  14. jpg says:

    The Mets line of 74 looks a little high. They won 74 games last year with Dickey winning a CYA and Wright putting up a 7+ Win season. Aside from adding Marcum and a few decent relievers it’s hard to see how this team is going to meet or exceed last year’s win total.

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    • mikec says:

      I agree with you, but PECOTA has Mets at 80 wins. Just a -9 Runs differential (679-688). PECOTA shocked me a lot this year, and this was defiitely one of ‘em. But the Mets are better than awful, and 74 seems doable.

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    • jim says:

      full season of harvey, marcum, zack wheeler at some point. there are reasons to be optimistic about the mets

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  15. Gabe says:

    John Lackey is horrible. He’s apathetic, out of shape, lazy and is 34 now. He shouldn’t be included as a reason for why the Red Sox will win over 79 games.

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    • PAR says:

      In no way am I saying that Lackey will be a good pitcher this year or that he will be a reason the Sox will win more than 79 games but it doesn’t look like you can clasify him as “out of shape” and “lazy” this year:

      http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1520032-boston-red-sox-john-lackey-is-in-great-shape-and-other-red-sox-news

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      • Anon says:

        Two things I am skeptical of:

        A player being in “the best shape of his life” for spring training.

        Anything from Bleacher Report.

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    • mikec says:

      One could make a strong case against 4/5ths of that rotation. And a strong case that the bullpen will be no better than average, and same for the offense and defense. And that Napoli is physically unable to play. I really believe the new re-make of iffy, age-declining vets is just a way to keep fannies in the seats till their good wave of prospets is ready.

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    • illinibob says:

      You can talk a lot of smack about Lackey’s performance the past 2 or 3 years, but 2 things are true:

      1. He was once an outstanding pitcher and 34 is not over the hill, and
      2. He is in excellent shape this year. Gammons said he didn’t even recognize him, he’s so much thinner.

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      • Frank says:

        1. He was NEVER an “outstanding pitcher.” Ever. And 34 years old is absolutely on the downside of a pitcher’s career, especially one coming of a season-ending arm injury.

        2. Gammons is an insufferable Red Sox homer. Anything he says should be taken with a massive grain of salt. Spring Training is littered with reports of players who are in “the best shape of their life.” John Lackey has never been known as a physical specimen.

        I’d argue that both your points are untrue.

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  16. Brian L says:

    What? Braves aren’t an obvious over pick at 86? Simmons and his long term sustainable +25 defense could win 86 games on its own!

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  17. Jeremy T says:

    86.5 on the Yankees seems low to me. They have their issues, but they still have a very strong offense, one of the best bullpens in baseball, and at the very least a good top of the rotation.

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  18. Owen says:

    Just spent a few minutes averaging all the wins: 80.2. Thought for a few moments that that meant there was free money on the table if you bet the over on every team enough times to cover the rake. Then realized that (obviously) that one overperforming team could be enough for several other teams to underperform, meaning you would lose money. Moral: when you can game the system, it usually takes more than five idle minutes at work.

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  19. Detroit Michael says:

    I think betting the over on the Twins record makes sense. They aren’t a good team in anyone’s opinion, but to think that 97.5 losses is a median expectation would make them a truly rotten team despite playing in a weak division.

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    • Brian says:

      yeah. that one stuck out for me, too. No way they are as bad as Miami. But I also tend to think this number factors in the possibility of midseason trades (Morneau/Willingham), and a HORRIBLE last couple months where they win 15 of their last 50 or something like that. If they traded Morneau and Willingham, they’d be a Mauer shutdown away from having a historically bad offense to go with a pretty bad rotation, and being as bad or worse than Houston.

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    • commenter #1 says:

      which starters are going to pitch well enough to allow that to happen?

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  20. Devon Young says:

    I’m surprised they have the Marlins up at 64.5.

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  21. qatman says:

    Nationals over 90, Orioles under 76.5, Astros under 59.5 all look pretty tasty. Of course the juice is not listed which makes a huge difference in EV.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      Astros under 59.5 seems iffy. In general, only one team per year wins 59 or less games, and the Astros have come close to 59 in all of the past two years. Improvements could lead to a 4-5 win increase even with the league switch: Say, adding in Carlos Pena and regressing him to 1-1.5 wins, Chris Carter addition, I dunno, I could see the ‘Stros winning 60-62 fairly easily.

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  22. balticfox1917 says:

    As an Orioles fan I have to admit the numbers look right.
    Orioles: can get to 78 wins but Hammel has to stay healthy all year, Chen needs to be about the same and Tillman has to continue to show improvement like he did last year. Britton’s chances of improving his numbers went up greatly with the addition of Machado to the IF–no more worries that ground balls hit to 3B will be horribly misplayed by the two-headed Betemit/Reynolds monster. O’Day and Johnson should be able to hold most leads; Matusz looks great in his new role as a LOOGY.
    Depth, as usual, is the big problem. Nobody down on the farm to help with injuries, esp. in the OF. Markakis, formerly known as The Iron Man, has proven to be as susceptible to injuries as everyone else. Reimold, on the other hand, has never been able to stay healthy. And McLouth may be a great story of resurrection, but he has absolutely no power.
    The right side of the IF is the greatest cause for concern: Davis can mash but he has a steel glove. Andino is gone, replaced by Casilla? Roberts? Schoop won’t come to the rescue before 2014, if then.
    2013 won’t be repeated without everything improbably falling in to place, but we have one of the best managers in the AL and watching Wieters call a great game and throw out would-be base stealers will still be a pleasure.

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  23. Nick C says:

    Over on the Reds. It’s free money.

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    • John C. says:

      I’d go with that. I’m a bit of a Reds skeptic. They had absurd pitching health last year in their rotation (161 starts from five guys!) and while they lost Votto for part of the season they got lightning in a bottle from Frazier. The experiment with Chapman may make both their rotation and bullpen worse, and they no longer get to play the Astros all the time (although they still get to play the Cubs and the Pirates a bunch).

      All that said, it’s a really good team and a really good bet for the “over” on 88.5 wins.

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      • Mike says:

        I think the Reds are about right. They don’t get the play the Astros this year, plus they are only a year removed from an under .500 team. Not that good a bet to hit 89 by any means.

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  24. Kevin says:

    I’m not sure how anyone would go over on 72 wins for the Cubs. They don’t even care about winning, why would anyone put money on them to win? Not sure if ERA is one of the unmentionable stats on this site but all their pitchers, including Garza, will probably have an ERA over 4.00. How can anyone think the pitching will be better than god-awful, let alone “like them a lot”?

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    • commenter #1 says:

      obvious troll is obvious

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    • Kyle says:

      I agree, The cubs didn’t get better at any position and they won 61 games last year. And they don’t have Astros.

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      • illinibob says:

        They will be TONS better in their starting rotation. Plus a full year from Rizzo. They WILL be better.

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        • Kyle says:

          Full year from Rizzo won’t be any better than a half year of an all-star first half from LaHair and another half of Rizzo. Replacing Dempster and Maholm with a handful of number 4’s isn’t exactly an upgrade.

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    • Jason B says:

      The line probably incorporates a lot of long-suffering, optimistic (or lunatic) Cubs fans coming to town and betting the over on their favorite team (which the ‘sharps’ may be able to take advantage of).

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  25. cody k says:

    save these predictions for October to see how I did-

    in order of confidence my 3 would be: Cubs over, Pirates under, D-backs over

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  26. Lebowski says:

    The goal is to get as many people to bet the over as the under. These numbers have nothing to do with what they expect to happen during the baseball season.

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  27. Timb says:

    Man this couldn’t have been more perfectly timed for me, I head to Vegas tonight! I may just have to parlay 3 or 4 of the ones I feel good about and try to make a decent coin off of this.

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  28. pft says:

    I would go over on the Angels. The Astros being in the division has to be good for 3-4 wins and they should be better this year if healthy.

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    • pft says:

      I would go under on the Rays as well. Awful offseason, at least for the short term, and the AL East has no weak teams so it will be tough beating up on anyone.

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      • Baltar says:

        I’m not betting, but if I did, I would go over on the Rays. Last season they lost almost as many one-run and extra-inning games as the Orioles won. Everybody is downgrading the Orioles because of that, but not upgrading the Rays.
        Having normal luck in close games and having Longoria back from injury is more than enough to make up from an admitted talent loss from last year.

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  29. JimH says:

    I’m a White Sox fan and would take the over on Detroit. Unless they have major injuries they are a lock for 95+ wins.

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  30. Matt says:

    Cleveland is a team that interests me here. My initial reaction was a clear under for the following reasons:
    1) They won 68 games last year while having a simply brutal -178 run differential (2nd worst in baseball behind HOU)
    2) They lost Shin Soo Choo
    3) Their biggest additions – Bourn and Swisher – are guys that, according to the typical age curve, are past their primes and in the regression phase of their careers
    4) Their division did not get any easier this offseason
    Obviously others see them differently, and I like listening to opposing viewpoints . . . for those that feel this way, why is Cleveland such a good bet to win 78+ games?

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    • Ben says:

      Matt,

      These over/under’s are fun, but it’s all about teams having or avoiding major injuries as well as breakout or breakdown seasons by players. By the 3rd week of April most of the pre-season stuff is already discredited.

      Funny that you’re talking about the Indians on a SABER site. Shapiro and Antonetti may have been the last holdouts to bringing in seasoned baseball people and listening to them. Who else gives last years manager – Manny Acta – a team full of all left-handed batters and all right-handed starting pitchers? Along with no bench (Antonetti told writers that they had stats showing that lefthanded batters hit better at Progressive Field). For 2 years the Indians got killed when opposing teams would bring in lefthanded reliefers and the Indians seldom could come back from evern a one run deficit in 4-5 innings.

      So in a roundabout way of getting to your comment – how do you factor in Terry Francona? The Indians lost 90-plus games 3 out of the last 4 years by filling their roster with SABER guys instead of players that could provide good matchups against other teams (this is what happens when you have 2 guys running the front office that have never played a day of professional – or college – baseball). Francona had the clout to have the front office finally make some logical roster moves. Now you have to watch Francona’s influence on the players – under Shaponetti batters were concerned with keeping their OBP up so they hit foul balls hoping to squeeze out walks. This led to terrible clutch hitting as no one was aggressive in attempting to get the RISP in, they wanted to get on base and let another guy do it. Hopefully Francona will teach these guys to win – something that has been ignored since Shapiro took over the team, followed by Antonetti joining, as they had a SABER lovefest.

      The Indians are becoming a real baseball team for the first time in 12 years. They may be the most difficult team to handicap in MLB, as their players are going to be asked to execute fundamentals on the field, and who knows how that will pan out.

      In closing, the Indians under Shaponetti always reminded me of warnings W. Edwards Deming – the father of Quality Management – gave companies about being careful how they used statistics. That is a 20 paragraph comment, it’s best to stop here.

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  31. Bookbook says:

    If this were like the stock market, where beating the over by many games is worth more than beating by one, I’d go long the Mariners. There’s a high probability they don’t break 76 wins (about 1/3, I’d guess), but there’s an equivalent shot at 84+.

    The Astros are going to be hurting.

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  32. Blue says:

    Wow, the AL Central is appalling.

    Maybe DM is completely crazy about thinking the Royals can win the division.

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  33. Monty says:

    Over: Yankees
    86.5 wins? Yeah they’re older, have injury concerns and play in a deep divison, but they won 95 games and made the ALCS last year, the offense will still hit home runs and score runs, pitching above average.

    Over: Phillies
    They had a season from hell last year with the injuries to Halladay, Howard and Utley but they still went 81-81 and were one of the best teams after the all star break.

    Under: Pirates
    McCutchen is really good, AJ Burnett is decent, Pedro Alvarez has 35 homer potential and Gerrit Cole could make an impact as a rookie. But the upside of this team is like 82 wins. Getting great value with the under.

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  34. J-Hey says:

    90 for the Nats feels low. That would probably be my #1 over

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