2024 MLB Win Total Predictions and Best Bets: Can the Yankees win without Gerrit Cole?

New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) reacts during the fourth inning against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium.
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It’s officially the week of MLB Opening Day. Although the Dodgers and Padres opened up the season in South Korea a few days ago, the true Opening Day happens this Thursday. All signs point to an exciting season as Shohei Ohtani settles into his new team, Ronald Acuna Jr. looks to get the Braves back into the postseason and Juan Soto attempts to lead the Yankees past the Orioles in the AL East. But before the season can get started, I looked into the win totals market and found 3 best bets for 2024. Let’s dive in, but make sure you keep an eye on our expert MLB picks throughout the season, especially after our best bets went 141-115-4 in the 2023 season.

Our expert has 2024 MLB World Series picks at +2000 and +4500 odds!

Los Angeles Dodgers Under 103.5 Wins (-115)

Yes, you read that right. I’m taking the star-powered, MVP-filled, Ohtani-led Los Angeles Dodgers to go under their win total. Originally, the Dodgers’ win total was set at 104.5 before being bumped down a win. That demonstrates that there was a lot of money being placed on the under before the change. However, I didn’t just make this pick because of that. There are several reasons I believe the Dodgers won’t reach 104 wins, but most importantly — injuries. Los Angeles has a lineup and starting rotation that has several players who fight through at least one injury-list stint each year. That’s especially true in their rotation.

Tyler Glasnow has pitched over 100 innings just twice in his career and it wouldn’t be surprising if Yoshinobu Yamamoto starts to falter in the second half of the season since the MLB season is longer and has far more traveling than in other leagues. Plus, Emmet Sheehan, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler are starting the season on the injured list. In summary, 104 wins would be possible if every star player stayed healthy, but it’s a 162-game season, and that’s nearly impossible.

Check out our MLB Division winner predictions for EVERY division!

New York Yankees Under 91.5 Wins (-110)

I promise I’m not just taking the big franchises to go under their total. The Yankees have been projected to win the AL East this season after a flurry of offseason moves which featured New York acquiring Juan Soto and Marcus Stroman. Those 2 moves satisfied 2 major needs — outfield and pitching depth. However, the Yankees might need even more pitching depth since Gerrit Cole will miss the first 2 months of the season. That leaves the starting rotation as Stroman, Carlos Rodon, Clarke Schmidt, Nestor Cortes and Luis Gil. Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of confidence in Rodon or Gil.

However, the biggest reason for my decision to take the under is because of their schedule. The Yankees are in the AL East and will have to play 13 games against each of the teams in the division. In my opinion, the only divisional series the Yankees could win would be against the Red Sox. The Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays will all be tough games, and I can’t pencil in a lot of wins against those teams. If everything goes right for the Yankees and Cole comes back after 2 months, I’m expecting New York to finish with around 87 wins.

Read our MLB Player Award best bets for this season, including a +1800 longshot!

Kansas City Royals Over 74.5 Wins (-110)

There is a chance that I’m way too optimistic for the Kansas City Royals in 2024, but I think the Royals could be sneaky good. However, not above .500 good, just good enough to not be in the same category as the Athletics, Rockies and Nationals. Kansas City was one of the most active teams in the offseason as the Royals added Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha to the starting rotation. That means the rotation will feature Lugo, Wacha, Cole Ragans, Brady Singer and Alec Marsh. There are a lot worse rotations in baseball than that. In the bullpen, the Royals added John Scheiber, Will Smith and Chris Stratton for some veteran help to a very young arm barn.

As for their lineup, the Royals added Hunter Renfroe for some pop and depth in their outfield and Adam Frazier for infield depth. Those are 2 solid additions to an already improving lineup that has Bobby Witt Jr. as the star. And finally, Vinnie Pasquantino is healthy and ready to rejoin the team after playing in just the first few months of 2023 due to a shoulder injury. The bottom line is the Royals are a much better team right now than they were just a few months ago. As long as they can win a few season series against divisional teams like the White Sox, Guardians and Tigers, the Royals have a good chance of at least 76 wins.

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