Best bets for Major League Baseball regular-season win totals

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Ricky Dimon

MLB

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Who knew that the highest posted win total for any Major League Baseball team in 2020 would be 37? Gone—at least for now—are the days when some win totals soared into 100s. This year, of course, the coronavirus pandemic has postponed Opening Day four months and reduced the regular season from 182 games per team to 60.

Thus the Los Angeles Dodgers’ league-leading win total of 102.5 is now down to 37. The Dodgers are followed by the New York Yankees (36.5), Minnesota Twins (34.5), Houston Astros (34.5), and Tampa Bay Rays (34). At the other end of the spectrum are the Seattle Mariners (24), Miami Marlins (23.5), Detroit Tigers (21.5), and Baltimore Orioles (20.5).

What are the best win-total bets as we look ahead to the late-July start of the 2020 MLB season? Let’s take a look.

Boston Red Sox Under 30.5 wins (-115)

The Red Sox finished just six games over .500 last year at 84-78, good for a winning percentage of .519. It goes without saying that they are much worse on paper heading into the 2020 campaign, so another winning record may be out of reach. The oddsmakers have Boston right at the .500 mark, so this is a good opportunity to jump on the Under. Chris Sale will miss the entire season due to Tommy John surgery, while Mookie Betts and David Price were shipped off to the Dodgers. Add the fact the Red Sox are playing a schedule entirely against the American League East and National League East into the mix and things are going to be especially difficult.

Milwaukee Brewers Over 30.5 wins (-120)

In what is once again expected to be a crowded NL Central division, the Brewers’ win total is one game short of the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals (all at 31.5). That may not be a lot—but in a season as short as 60 games, just one can make a big difference. That is part of the reason my Milwaukee is the best Over bet in the division—and perhaps the best Over bet in baseball. The Brewers made the playoffs at 89-73 last year and were poised to do damage in October until Christian Yelich got injured, thus opening the door for the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals. With Yelich back and Josh Hader anchoring the bullpen, this team is unlikely to take a sizable step back.

Miami Marlins Under 24.5 wins (-125)

The Marlins compiled a 57-105 record last year, giving them a .352 winning percentage. Do you really think they can win 40 percent of their games in 2020? The answer to that question should be “no,” especially since Miami’s schedule against fellow East squads includes the Yankees, Rays, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Washington Nationals. The Marlins scored at least 63 fewer runs than every other National League club in 2019 and they did not do much in the offseason to address those problems. Even the under on 23.5 wins, which you can find at some books (likely with -115 juice instead of -125), is a strong play.

Be sure to check out our daily MLB expert picks when the season begins.

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