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Unders rule in MLB win totals

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

Sportsbooks are offering futures and Regular Season Win totals earlier than ever. They benefit from publicity and from tourists backing their favorite teams when visiting legal betting jurisdictions. 

If you’re tempted to take some shots at Major League Baseball win totals because of all the recent headlines, this is a good time to review fundamentals. 

First, be aware of hidden vigorish on Over bets. Many stores offer the standard 11/10 on win totals (risk $11 to win $10, or anything in that ratio). But they’re not offering a fair allotment of victories. A full season of MLB will be composed of 2,430 victories and 2,430 defeats. Sportsbook totals usually add up to a lot more than 2,430 wins to guard against the public’s tendency to bet Overs. 

William Hill’s current numbers add up to 2,457 victories — 27 more wins than are possible. In essence, there’s a hidden vigorish of almost one win per team across the league. (Sharps turn this in their favor by emphasizing Unders.)

Second, any bet this far in advance ties up your money for months. If you win, you won’t be able to cash the ticket until October. What else could you have done with that money in the months in between? If you’re great at handicapping March Madness or the NBA playoffs, wouldn’t you want a full bankroll? Money bet on baseball leans now will be unavailable for other opportunities. 

If you want to bet smart on MLB win totals, focus on your strongest Under opinions. This keeps you from wasting money on leans you should have passed while exploiting the hidden vig on Over bets.

Here’s a look at current William Hill numbers by division:

— AL East: Yankees 101.5, Rays 90.5, Red Sox 88.5, Blue Jays 75.5, Orioles 56.5

That 101.5 for the Yankees is by far the best in the American League and tops the Dodgers for most in the majors.  

— AL Central: Twins 92, Indians 86, White Sox 84, Royals 65, Tigers 55

Early buzz from sharps is about Cleveland deserving more respect than it’s getting. Just be careful about loading your portfolio with Over bets hoping for pleasant surprises. 

— AL West: Astros 96, A’s 89.5, Angels 84.5, Rangers 79.5, Mariners 68.5

How many games can Houston win with no shenanigans? It’s important to remember the Astros have often been a road juggernaut in recent seasons without bangs and whistles. 

— NL East: Braves 92, Nationals 90.5, Mets 86.5, Phillies 86.5, Marlins 64

The Mets are suddenly seeking a new manager but are still seen as wild-card contenders for now. 

— NL Central: Cardinals 88, Cubs 86.5, Brewers 85, Reds 83, Pirates 71.5 

Could be a great race. Which teams in the 80s are most likely to underachieve?

— NL West: Dodgers 98.5, Padres 84.5, Diamondbacks 81, Rockies 75, Giants 72

The Dodgers are rated best in the Senior Circuit and may have a chip on their shoulder after feeling robbed in the 2017 and ‘18 World Series.

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