MLB win totals: Short season ideal for Twins, Athletics
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We're less than a month away from what could be the wackiest Major League Baseball season of all time. And for the first time in months, we can bet on true win totals for all 30 teams.
For anyone who wagered on MLB win totals before the end of March, say goodbye to your 162-game tickets. Instead, lean into the craziness of this shortened slate, which opens up unique value propositions based around strength of schedule and player management.
Here are the win totals for each team, along with our three favorite bets:
|Los Angeles Dodgers||38.5|
|New York Yankees||37|
|Tampa Bay Rays||34|
|Chicago White Sox||31.5|
|Los Angeles Angels||31.5|
|New York Mets||31.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||31.5|
|San Diego Padres||30.5|
|Boston Red Sox||30|
|Toronto Blue Jays||28|
|Kansas City Royals||24.5|
|San Francisco Giants||24|
Minnesota Twins (34.5)
The Twins have the fourth-highest win total on the board, and it's still too low. Though betting high on win totals for a shortened season feels a bit like a trap, Minnesota has too many positives going for it this year for you to lay off this number.
The roster figures to be even better than last year's 101-win squad, which would translate to better than 37 victories in 2020. And the Twins' schedule is set up for an encore; based on Fangraphs' projected runs scored and against for likely opponents, Minnesota faces the easiest schedule in the majors, which includes 12 games against the Tigers and Royals and another 20 against the uninspiring National League Central.
The Twins went 40-20 through their first 60 games last year and have a potentially better roster and easier schedule this time around. Take the over with confidence.
Oakland Athletics (33.5)
Few teams will benefit more from a shortened season than the Athletics, whose staff is full of high-upside but innings-capped starters with something to prove. Sean Manaea missed nearly the entire 2019 season with an injury, as did promising young arms Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk. Cutting down on their respective workloads should maximize the overall talent on Oakland's staff.
The A's lineup doesn't need a shortened slate to make the most of its All-Star talent, but Oakland's defense should thrive at a time when a few extra outs can significantly alter a team's win percentage. This club won 59.9% of its games during each of the last two years, so winning 34 of 60 (56.7%) is well within reach.
Colorado Rockies (27.5)
After years of losing in the offseason, the Rockies didn't sign a single free agent to a major-league deal. Continuity might be positive in the face of uncertainty, but inactivity isn't exactly a path back to relevance when the team lost 91 games the year prior.
Colorado faces one of the toughest schedules in baseball with matchups against the improved NL West and dangerous American League West, and a bad start could mean disgruntled star Nolan Arenado gets shipped out before the deadline. The downside is tremendous for the Rockies, and there's not enough change from last year to bet on the upside. Take the under.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.