5 Best 2019 MLB Season Win Totals Bets
Pitchers and catchers don’t report until next week, February 11, 2019, but some oddsmakers have already posted season win totals for all 30 Major League Baseball teams.
The Houston Astros lead the way with 96.5 wins, but the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees aren’t far behind at 95.5 wins each. Bringing up the rear are the lowly Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins, both of whom are expected to lose 95 games or more.
I’ve examined all of the current projections and have found five win totals that you should pounce on as soon as you get the opportunity.
Cincinnati Reds: Win Total 77.5
The Cincinnati Reds have been among the busiest of ball clubs this Winter, and are looking to accelerate their rebuild into a contending team sooner than later. The most significant moves on paper would be the additions of Pitchers Sonny Gray and Alex Wood, and Outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp.
Needless to say despite rebuilding times, it was a season to forget in 2018. The Reds saw a one win drop off between 2017 and last year, and offered no suggestion that the team was on the right path of development. They definitely took their lack of progress to heart this winter, as oddsmakers have already anticipated a 10 win improvement based on their offseason activity so far.
Though it would be surprising not to see an improvement on offense with the acquisitions of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp in addition to an already growing core, I do believe that the Reds still have some major uncertainties between their starting pitching rotation and bullpen. Sonny Gray has been quite inconsistent since injuries prior to the 2016 season, and there is no indication that the former Athletics Ace is going to be performing on an elite level while coming to Cincinnati. Likewise, Alex Wood (though far more sound than Gray) comes in bringing uncertainties as well, as this will be quite a contrast switching from a near sea level West Coast stadium to a Midwestern higher altitude setting that tends to see high temperatures and humidity in the thick of the Summer months. Keep in mind that Wood has one of the highest Sinker pitch usage tendencies out of major league pitchers, and that this could prove to be a more significant adjustment than an average follower might anticipate.
Cincinnati also has a very unproven young pitching core outside of Wood and Gray.
Vegas is anticipating a drop off from certain teams within the National League Central division, and might have their Win Total setting of the Cincinnati Reds set that high partially for that reason. However, assuming that the team performs naturally and their newly acquired players perform to the levels that they are expected, I still do not see the Reds being an above .500 team just yet. I believe that a lot of individual player hype has been incorporated into the establishment of this high line setting, but I do not see it being paid off in 2019.
UPDATE: Wait to see if the Reds sign Catcher J.T. Realmuto, as the total might rise even more.
UNDER 77.5 wins
Cleveland Indians: Win Total 90.5 wins
Baseball can be a sport of rhythm, and there are a lot of uncertainties within divisions. However, one of the more constants of success in baseball right now are the Cleveland Indians.
The Lake Eerie ball club was almost a lock to enter the Postseason in 2018 despite being the second lowest ranking of division leaders. Cleveland has had a very favorable division situation over the past three seasons, and it might be at a peak advantage coming into 2019. It just so happened in the American League Central, that the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals saw their declines at the same time, and both are going through very concrete rebuilding times at the moment. The Minnesota Twins are the epitome of inconsistency in the American League, and do not have enough of an identity to sustain competition with the Indians. The Chicago White Sox are also in early stages of rebuilding, and no escalation of performance will be realistically founded by a simple acquisition of one of the sought after Superstars such as Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.
The Cleveland Indians have also gone through additions and subtractions of their own, as their bullpen has seen a bit of a makeover since the Miller-Shaw-Allen mini era. They also parted ways with slugger Edwin Encarnacion (in a transaction that sees the return of switch hitter Carlos Santana), who is now with the Seattle Mariners. What remains the same with this club however, is the recipe for success through Terry Francona and Company. No matter what happens with emerging Ace Trevor Bauer, the team continues to look good in pitching and hitting.
Simply put, it is not even about the level of caliber that this lineup offers, but moreso about the established foundation for success that no other team in the division has. Expect Cleveland to be a little less streaky this year, and a little more commanding, especially against the rebuilding teams within the division.
OVER 90.5 Wins
New York Mets: Win Total 84.5
Although living in the shadow of their subway rival New York Yankees, the New York Mets have brought a lot of attention to themselves in the baseball world, and for a whole spectrum of reasons. It began in 2015, where heads turned as the New York Mets surprised the entire world with an unexpected Cinderella World Series run, which ended with a loss to the Kansas City Royals. The Mets remained competent through 2017, but really saw an unexpected drop off in 2018 despite quick efforts to patch up the roster and remain a contender.
2018 was not only a humbling year for many underachievers on the Mets roster, but it also created a much more uncertain forecast of the near future, as well as much more serious concerns as to which direction the team was heading.
However, being in a big money market, the Mets decided to trade away key components of their farm system for what appears to be more quick fixes.
The disappointing 77 win season in 2018 was far below expectations for New York, but the Mets believe that last season was an anomaly and that they can still contend by acquiring the right pieces. They brought in Perennial All Star, 36 year old Second Baseman Robinson Cano as well as league leading closer Edwin Diaz, both from the Seattle Mariners through top prospect trades. These were their two standout acquisitions this offseason, but additions such as Jed Lowrie and a few others were also patches in hopes that this team will compete in 2019.
While most of the media and fans see these as major upgrades, I see this as a typical big market impatience to develop from within. The Mets want to remain in the eyes of the baseball world for the right reasons without going through a couple dark years, but let us evaluate the situation.
New York expects to continue to be without their spark plug Yoen Cespedes, who signed a 4 year, 110 million dollar deal to remain with the team through the 2020 season. Cespedes played less than a quarter of the Mets games in 2018, and will continue to hurt the team through likely absence with post surgery pessimism. With the new additions, the roster looks like a very confused mix of up and comers and visibly aging veterans on the field. There are questions whether Robinson Cano can be the player he once was following an 80 game suspension in 2018 for an illegal use of a banned substance. There are also questions as to whether Edwin Diaz can replicate a nearly immaculate 2018, as the closer role can be an extremely unpredictable position in terms of health and consistency.
All in all, I feel that the stubbornness of this New York Mets team may open a Pandora’s box in a possibly needed rebuilding admission.
While there are a lot of uncertainties with this team which I feel may create more negatives than positives at various points of the season, there is also the expectation that most of the National League East division is on the rise. So, this is not good for the Mets either.
I see the 84.5 total setting as an inflated line due to hype.
Would I be surprised if the Mets strung it together and contended for the Playoffs this upcoming season? not entirely. However, I do see value in this number, and I believe there are more arguments as to why this team may remain below .500 than above.
St. Louis Cardinals: Win Total 88.5
While a lot of the hype has surrounded the acquisitions made by the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees, and every hint on where mega stars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are heading, the St. Louis Cardinals have been silently adding large pieces to an already competent roster.
The Cardinals added heavy slugger Paul Goldschmidt and all star reliever Andrew Miller to a team that already has a lot of growing talent.
St. Louis missed the postseason in 2018, but still finished a good 14 games above .500 with an 88-74 record. In a division that saw a possible over-achievement by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018 and pretty standard season by the Chicago Cubs, I don’t see their division situation becoming any less advantageous for the Cardinals this upcoming season. Keep in mind, as you can tell from above, I am not buying into the Cincinnati Reds hype one bit.
While the New York Mets appear to have made major transactions out of desperation, I see the St. Louis Cardinals situation as actually adding pieces to an already nearly completed puzzle.
While Pitcher Miles Mikolas may have turned some heads last season with his impeccable rhythm, even a drop off in his performance will likely have a minor impact on a young growing pitching staff on this St. Louis Cardinals team.
Look for this team to compete for the division in 2019, and a little bickering and bashing of cities between Chicago and St. Louis players helps with emotional fuel and motivation. This Cardinals team is bound to be a 90 team win again, and I think it will be this year.
Washington Nationals: Win total 87.5
Needless to say, the Washington Nationals had an unexpectedly bad season in 2018, and were unable to find rhythm throughout the course of the campaign. With the turmoil surrounding their Franchise outfielder Bryce Harper, I can see that distractions may have also played a role in a season where not much went right for Washington.
One thing that the media will not highlight in the free agency hype is that the Washington Nationals are far more than just Bryce Harper…and in fact, he may not be as significant of a loss as is cracked out to be.
The reason I say this, is because Washington continues to be stacked from top to bottom (with only maybe a mere uncertainty in the bullpen), and have a youthful outfield with some very highly touted kids on the rise. Although this may be an unpopular opinion in the eyes of the media, the outfield may see a more consistent production rate without Harper than with him. Juan Soto may prove to have the potential of Harper sooner than later, and Victor Robles and Adam Eaton are high average batters. The infield remains in tact with studs Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner, and Brian Dozier and Ryan Zimmerman are both expected to have rebound seasons.
The starting pitching rotation continues with their two main staple Aces Max Scherzer and Steven Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin is seen to be a significant upgrade in the number 3 spot.
While the division may be on the rise with youngsters in Philadelphia and Atlanta, the Nationals remain the most established club in the National League East.
Expect them to get back to their winning ways.