Hill: Two season win totals I like in MLB

April 5, 2022 08:18 PM

Of all of the betting markets available these days, still nothing gives a truer result to your handicap than MLB season win totals.

Everything else is a sprint compared to a baseball season. Baseball gives us the opportunity, as bettors, to see the truth of our handicap play out over a six-month, 162-game marathon. What’s also great about betting MLB season win totals is we get action almost every day of the season.

With baseball finally back after a long winter and a contentious lockout, let’s find some winners:

Orioles Under 61.5 wins: Perhaps it’s obvious, but it’s necessary to remind ourselves: The worst team in a division always has the hardest schedule. Why? Because they don’t get to compete against themselves. When the Yankees or Rays are scuffling, for instance, a three-game set with the Orioles is never too far away. The Orioles don’t have the luxury of playing the Orioles and will be the punching bag in a loaded AL East. The Blue Jays, with the fifth-best run differential last season at + 183, have emerged as one of the AL favorites. The Rays won 100 games. The Red Sox reached Game 6 of the ALCS. And the Yankees are still the Yankees. An Orioles team that won 52 games last year and was outscored by a whopping 297 runs has to play a combined 72 games against their AL East rivals. In 2021, O’s starting pitchers ranked dead last in ERA, home runs per nine innings, hits per nine innings and WHIP, while the bullpen was last in ERA and home runs per nine innings. Not great, Bob. Better days are ahead for Baltimore down the road, as some high-level prospects are littered through the organization, but projecting a 10-win bump this year is a lofty proposition. 

Nationals Under 71.5 wins: In October 2019, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin delivered legendary performances as the Nationals rallied from a 3-2 World Series deficit to win Games 6 and 7 in Houston. Strasburg was named World Series MVP but has thrown just 26 innings in the last two seasons. According to Statcast, the once flame-throwing phenom ranked in the 27th percentile in average fastball velocity last year. Corbin’s peripherals are just as scary, as the former All-Star ranked in the 10th percentile in xERA, xBA, and xSLG, according to Statcast, and his curve spin was in the 1st percentile (that’s the bottom). It’s no surprise Corbin’s ERA flirted with 6. Unfortunately for the Nationals, those two pitchers are being counted on to bounce back. Pitchers who lose their stuff usually don’t get it back. The Nats, like the Orioles, are a bad team in a stacked division. The Braves are the defending champions and the Mets are expected to be among the best teams in baseball when Jacob deGrom returns. The Phillies improved their roster and added a couple of premier bats to a team that had a three-game division lead last August, and the Marlins have an incredible young pitching staff. The Nationals are the worst team in the NL East and don’t have the pitching to hold up for 162 games. They’re in a rebuild and will look to auction off any veteran who can fetch them a young, controllable asset, as they did last year before the trade deadline. The Nationals flirted with 100 losses in 2021, finishing 65-97, and I expect a similar mark in 2022.

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