Bovada recently released their 2017 Over-Under Totals, and I’m here to bet every singe one of them.
I’m going to go team by team and give a ranking (1-10) on the confidence I have. Think of it as the # of units to wager.
San Diego Padres (66.5)- UNDER (8)
The Padres won 68 games last year and added nothing to that roster. Their projected starting rotation is the worst rotation I can ever remember, with no top prospects having any chance of coming to contribute to it (Anderson Espinoza and Cal Quantrill have a combined 0% chance of throwing an MLB pitch this year). They are full blown sellers and will move anything not nailed down long term if it has a solid 1st half in that bullpen. There is a very real chance Jered Weaver is their opening day starter. This pitching staff is seriously all-time awful. Their offense offers a glimmer of hope with established MLB talent in Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte and young guys Hunter Renfroe and Manny Margot, but thats their damn 2-3-4-5 hitters. That heart of the order scares nobody. This team will be lucky to get 60 wins. I LOVE this Under.
Milwaukee Brewers (69.5)- OVER (4)
The idea that the Brewers are a mere 3 games ahead of the Padres makes zero sense. The Brewers rotation is also quite garbage, but its still worlds better than the Padres pile of trash. Their’s no ace that can go out and win them games, but all 5 of them are better than Jared Fucking Weaver. Its a rotation that can at least keep them in a game or two. The reason I’m on this over however is I sneaky like this Brewer lineup, and projecting them as the 2nd worst team is baseball with the lineup they have is foolish in my eyes. A starting 9 of Jonathan Villar-Orlando Arcia-Ryan Bruan-Eric Thames-Domingo Santana-Travis Shaw-Keon Broxton and Andrew Susac isn’t “scary” but is interesting. A continued breakout from Villar, a step forward from Arcia/Shaw/Santana or Broxton, or a continuation of what he did overseas from Thames and I think this is an easy over. The chance none of that happens keeps it as a 4 unit play though.
Chicago White Sox (69.5)- OVER (5)
As long as Rick Hahn keeps holding out for killer offers on all his guys, this OVER is a no brainer for me. The current rendition of white White Sox is absolutely winning 70 games. Jose Quintana is a pretty safe bet to get moved at some point this summer, but its looking like a near lock he will be pitching on Opening Day for the White Sox, which means they will get at minimum 2-3 months of starts from him. Jose Abreu looks to be sticking with the team for the re-build for at least this season, and the markets for Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Melky Cabrera means none of them are getting moved until July. And once these guys all depart in July, the White Sox will be replacing them with interesting young talent like Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Zach Burdi, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer. I’m keeping this at 5 units because maybe Hahn gets that Quintana offer way earlier than expected, and somebody’s closer or 3b or LF goes down in April and he swings another deal. Hahn wants to hit the under here, but as currently constructed there is just no shot that happens.
Cincinnati Reds (70.5)- UNDER (2)
The current Reds roster is an easy UNDER for me, but I’m going to keep it as a 2 unit play because I could see this team putting together a 2nd half surge and getting to like 73 wins. The Opening Day Reds stink, their pitching staff is awful, they have no bullpen and their lineup is Joey Votto, a dude who steals bases and a bunch of ?’s. Votto is amazing, but that team sounds like the 2nd worst team in the majors to me, so the Under of 70.5 is the play. My worry here is this, Votto is going nowhere at the deadline, nor are any core pieces besides Zach Cosart probably. On top of this, all 4 of the Reds top 100 prospects have an outside shot of coming up in September and getting a test of MLB action. So yeah, I like the Under, but its just not going to be a major play for me.
Philadelphia Phillies (73.5)- OVER (3)
I’ll buy the 2017 Phillies. The 2016 rendition won 71 games, and I think asking for a 3 game jump is totally reasonable. In the field a performance jump for star 3B Maikel Franco is reasonable, as he scuffled to a 1.4 WAR season (FanGraphs), and projections have him around 2.5 WAR this year (Steamer). The additions of Michael Saunders in RF and Howie Kendrick in LF should give the offense a jolt, and the extremely likely call-ups of top prospects J.P Crawford at SS and Jorge Alfaro at Catcher will also lead to a much improved 2017 Phillies offense. The pitching staff is a much bigger question mark, but I’m willing to put a few units on a stable Jeremy Hellickson season and continued improvement from Aaron Nola, Jared Eickhoff and/or Vincent Velasquez. Plus, the Phillies are starting to move away from their rebuild, as most of their core is now MLB ready, so the chances of a mid-season roster purge are very slim.
Oakland Athletics (73.5)- UNDER (1)
The 2016 A’s won 69 games. There is some reason for optimism, as Sonny Gray should improve, some of their young pitching will join the MLB team, and off-season additions like Matt Joyce and Rajai Davis could be worth a win or two. Overall though I’m just not seeing 5 wins to get them to 74, especially in a loaded AL West. Give me the A’s under.
Atlanta Braves (73.5)- OVER (1)
I hate myself for taking this over, as this team is full of garbage veterans merely on the team to sell tickets to their new park, but I’m doing it, I’m saying OVER 73.5. Let’s call it 74. I’m buying a big year from Dansby Swanson, I’m in on another big Freddie Freeman season, that rotation should at minimum soak up a ton of innings, and maybe guys like Matt Kemp and Brandon Phillips aren’t totally worthless playing in a brand new park for a team “trying” to put out a competitive product. Plus, a mid-season addition of Ozzie Albies is certainly in play, and its not totally crazy to think the Braves trade for a big name starter at the deadline as they were very interested in Chris Sale and Chris Archer this off-season. I’m taking the OVER for a measly 1 unit.
Minnesota Twins (74.5)- UNDER (2)
This team is so devoid of impact talent, and the only truly impactful guy, Brian Dozier, is probably leaving by July. I hesitate to go above 3 units or so because there is a chance of breakout years from Miguel Sano, Jose Berrios and Byron Buxton, and all 3 of those guys exploding could totally bring this team to 75 wins. Still, as they currently look, I’m easily on the UNDER for this ball club.
Miami Marlins (76.5)- UNDER (1)
Picking the OVER is trusting that Jeffery Loria sells the team by mid-season and they address what looks to be an awful rotation. If I had any confidence the Marlins would desire to compete and add a starter or reliever mid season I would take this over, but with their current pitching staff I just can’t see them winning 77 games. The lineup is very solid once again, but this pitching staff just won’t keep them competitive enough to win 77 games. Sorry Miami.
Kansas City Royals (76.5)- UNDER (9)
The easiest pick by far for me, and its all about the projection of the season. I see the Royals being on track for a 78-80 win season in June or so, as their roster isn’t anywhere near “good” but also isn’t that awful and plays in the crappy AL central. However, I see the Indians running away with the AL Central and the AL Wild Card being out of reach thanks to the powerful AL East and West. This means the Royals will sell of impending FA’s like Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer, and replace them with the absolute nothing they have in the minors. And even without the certainty of these trades, trading off Wade Davis and Jarod Dyson and losing Yordano Ventura is not a great way to improve an 81 win team, especially when the replacements are as pedestrian as Jason Hammel or Travis Wood. I love this under.
Tampa Bay Rays (77.5)- OVER (2)
In a different division this is a 3 or 4 unit play for me, as I actually like the 2017 Rays a little bit. Their pitching staff looks to be awesome on paper, and there is some serious depth to it. I think that pitching staff alone should make them competitive to win around 77 games, especially when you throw in guys like Kevin Kiermaier behind them. The lineup isn’t explosive though, so the potential for a lot of low scoring close games could really swing this either way. The AL East is also quite loaded, so the Rays are going to have to beat some good teams to get 78 wins, but with Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi and Jose De Leon leading the way I think the Rays pitching gets them there.
Arizona Diamondbacks (77.5)- UNDER (1)
Not a great read on this one, as the Diamondbacks are about as volatile of a team as you will find. On one hand they won 69 games last year and made few off-season additions, but on the other hand bounce back season from Zack Grienke and Paul Goldschmidt should add 3-4 wins and a full season of AJ Pollock can’t be discounted. At the end of the day, I see a roster full of holes and got 2016 White Sox PTSD, so I’m going to hit the under.
Los Angeles Angels (79.5)- OVER (4)
If you read our AL West Preview and Predictions you would know I’m a believer in the 2017 Angels and their new found depth. And anyways, who am I to bet against Mike Trout. But with a healthier rotation and some key role players added this winter, I definitely see a .500 or better club in Anaheim. Teams win up the middle, and Simmons-Espinosa-Trout is going to be special in the field.
Colorado Rockies (80.5)- OVER (1)
If the Rockies had a reasonable off-season and not signed Ian Desmond to play friggin 1B I would be all about this over. Don’t tell the Rockies couldn’t have afforded to just sign Edwin Encarnacion. So infuriating. Anyways, I’m still going to hit this over albeit a smaller amount. Their starting pitching is better than normal, Greg Holland could really spice up that bullpen, and the lineup is totally stacked behind MVP candidate Nolan Arenado. I just really wish they added Encarnacion.
Baltimore Orioles (80.5)- UNDER (2)
Consider this an indictment of their horrible horrible rotation. I just can’t see a team with a rotation this bad go over .500, which is ironic, consider the Orioles just did exactly that last year. Still, I’m fading. This is the AL East’s worst team, and for them to be multiple wins over the Rays is silly. Hard to bet against Buck Showalter, but I’m doing it. UNDER.
Pittsburgh Pirates (82.5)- OVER (6)
Last year the Pirates won 78 games in what was generally considered a very bad year for them. This year they are doing the right thing and shifting Starling Marte to CF, will hopefully have bounce back years from Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen, and will likely add contributions from top 30 prospects Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow. Plus on top of all that, top 10 prospect in all of baseball Austin Meadows is waiting in the wings as possible trade bait to bring in a star SP (Jose Quintana?) or be a mid-season addition/depth in case something goes wrong in their OF.
New York Yankees (82.5)- UNDER (2)
This feels like a good total if you are absolutely sure the Yankees are going for it this season. Then 82.5 is a tough call, and I probably lean OVER. The thing is they have been seemingly reluctant to deal anyone of importance off their #2 ranked farm system, so I’m not sure they will at the deadline, even if they are still a starter short. And hell, if things aren’t going well, trading Masahiro Tanaka or Dellin Betances isn’t totally out of the question. So all in all I’m going to say this win total is a year too early and take the under.
Detroit Tigers (82.5)- UNDER (1)
When I saw this number I really wanted to be on the over. The 2016 Tigers won 86 games and essentially brought the whole team back, only losing Cameron Maybin, while their division mates got considerably worse (White Sox, Royals). But are you sure you trust Justin Verlander and Michael Fulmer to not show any signs of regression after huge 2016’s? A healthy Jordan Zimmerman will help there, but the bullpen probably could have used some offseason reinforcements and got nothing. And the offense is still loaded, but if the Indians have already ran away with the Central and the Tigers are a long shot for the WC, do you think JD Martinez is on the team in August? Hell, Ian Kinsler would be a prime trade target as well. I want to be on this over, but I just don’t know if I can trust a repeat of 2016 from this Tigers team. Keeping it a 1 unit play.
Toronto Blue Jays (84.5)- OVER (4)
The 2016 Blue Jays won 89 games, so you gotta see some serious regression to end up with the under here. Yes, losing Edwin Encarnacion is a blow, but Kendrys Morales is a capable replacement, so finding 5 loses in that swap is hard to believe. Their starting pitching staff is as deep as any in the majors, they still have Robert Osuna in the 9th, and still have cornerstones of their offense like Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Bautista during what should be their productive years. This team just isn’t 4.5 games worse than last years version, so I’m all about the over.
Texas Rangers (84.5)- UNDER (2)
The Rangers were MLB’s luckiest team in 2016 and got worse this offseason. I am keeping this simple.
St. Louis Cardinals (84.5)- UNDER (1)
The 2016 Cardinals won 86 games and they added Dexter Fowler and retained all their core pieces. Still on the under. Its the Cardinals, so this won’t be easy. The problem here though is their starting rotation just isn’t very Cardinals-esque, it frankly kinda sucks. Losing Alex Reyes is a huge blow, and without him the starting 5 is Carlos Martinez and a bunch of mid rotation arms. The Lineup is deep, with no real weak spots, but also doesn’t have a single superstar or major power threat. I don’t love it, but give me the under.
Seattle Mariners (85.5)- OVER (2)
The 2017 Seattle Mariners path to the over on this is simple, repeat 2016. The problem? Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz were ridiculously good last year, and keeping that pace will be tough. So how are the Mariners going to offset the regression? My bet is a revamped outfield defense headlined by speed demon Jarrod Dyson, a repeat all-star caliber year from SS Jean Segura, and a step forward from the much hyped James Paxton. And hey, if there’s a trade to be made to get better, Jerry Dipoto will make it.
San Francisco Giants (87.5)- UNDER (1)
I like this under, but it’s the freaking Giants. 1 unit is all I can swallow. The 2016 version won 87 games on the dot, and went out and added Mark Melancon, therefore covering their greatest weakness. Seems like an easy over right? Not so fast! Regression is coming for Johnny Cueto, their LF situation is bleak, Denard Span is getting grayer, and Matt Cain is fried. This Giants team is still easily a World Series contender, but I’m going to BARELY take the under here.
New York Mets (88.5)- OVER (3)
Last year very little went right for the Mets and they won 87 games. I fully expect Jacob DeGrom comes back dealing, and that alone should get us a win. Toss in an expected turnaround for Matt Harvey (I’m still a believer) and a healthy Steven Matz and you can give them 2 more wins. Now were at 90. And hey if those 3 plus the NL Cy Young co-favorite THOR (Noah Syndegaard) d0 have some arm issues, the Mets depth is second to none. This is baseballs best rotation hands down, and the depth is spectacular. If there is one thing I am willing to bet on for these season totals, its deep rotations filled with talent. Even if one of these guys goes down I still see the Mets chasing this number. I mean they nearly did it last year with 3/4 of them injured.
Houston Astros (89.5)- UNDER (4)
The Astros were the off-season winners in November, plugging important lineup holes by acquiring Brian McCann, Josh Reddick and Carlos Beltran. And while I’m on the under, I didn’t mean that statement sarcastically, it seriously was a killer November. The problem is the expectation was they would match that hot start with a strong winter finish and add some pitching. They didn’t. So they are left with a rotation relying on Cy Young performance from Dallas Keuchel and a healthy Lance McCullers Jr. Have fun with that. How they haven’t made the play for Jose Quintana/Chris Archer/Sonny Gray yet is weird to me. For as talented he is, Francis Martes won’t be winning them a playoff series this year. Pretty easy under here.
Washington Nationals (90.5)- OVER (3)
I’m an Adam Eaton believer and don’t see a scenario where Mike Rizzo doesn’t upgrade his bullpen by mid-summer, so I see no reason to believe this 2016 team is that much worse than last years 95 win squad. Add in some Bryce Harper regression to the mean (in this case, a good thing), a full season of Trea Turner and maybe a motivated Matt Weiters putting up a decent season and the path to 90.5 wins is clear.
Cleveland Indians (92.5)- OVER (7)
Short and Simple here towards the end. The 2016 Indians won 94 games. They added Edwin Encarnacion and should get a healthy year from Michael Brantley. And if he isn’t healthy? Top prospect Bradley Zimmer is now MLB ready. Francisco Lindor has another year of development behind him, and they hopefully get full seasons from Andrew Miller, Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco. Oh, and the rest of their division got worse. The Indians win total is going to be closer to 100 than 92. OVER
Boston Red Sox (92.5)- OVER (4)
You aren’t going to find a better off-season than Boston’s. Long term it might look different, but adding the best pitcher in the AL to your rotation to pair with David Price and Rick Porcello is a devastating move. Oh, and they added the #1 prospect in baseball to the killer B’s outfield. Andrew Benintendi is no small addition, his addition to the lineup and Mitch Moreland should offset the loss of Big Papi (also, I’m not ruling out a return). 93 wins in 2016, 93 wins in 2017.
Los Angeles Dodgers (93.5)- OVER (2)
The band is back together in LA, plus a new face in Logan Forsythe. This is good because the 2016 Dodgers were good. 94 wins good though? No, they only won 91. So why do I think Logan Forsythe adds 3 wins? I don’t. Instead, I love their depth. Chase Utley is now a nice bench bat, Andrew Toles + Trayce Thompson are capable backup outfielders, and for christ sakes they have like 8 MLB caliber starting pitchers, including that Kershaw fella at the top. 94 wins is a ton but I’m in.
Chicago Cubs (95.5)- UNDER (5)
I like this under a lot, but it’ll stay as a 5 unit play instead of a 7-8 because I do realize there’s a very real chance it blows up in my face. Anyways, the 2016 Cubs received incredible pitching health in route to a World Series. Seriously, besides Hector Rondon, they had no real pitching injuries of significance. That is crazy. This year that streak seems like it’ll end, and their rotation isn’t even remotely prepared to handle it. Their lack of starting depth is very scary for a team projected to win 96 games, as a month long DL trip for an old guy like John Lackey, or a very-taxed out Jake Arrieta, could spell real doom. I will admit, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks aren’t exactly the prototype for guys with major arm injuries, so there is some insulation there, but a team starting their 5th starters multiple times a week just isn’t going to win 96 games. Plus, new closer Wade Davis is a serious injury risk, and without him and Mike Montgomery in the bullpen (Montgomery appears to be the 5th starter), that bullpen is just meh. Of course theres a chance none of this matters with that offense, but yeah, their pitching staff is just to shallow for me to be willing to bet on 96 wins. UNDER.