The defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs have been projected for the most victories in 2017 as the first sportsbook posted season win totals for Major League Baseball teams.
For the 11th straight year, the Atlantis Casino in Reno, Nevada, is the first sportsbook with MLB season win totals, and it set the Cubs' number at 95.5 for betting that began Friday morning.
After opening the Cubs at 89 wins last year -- second in the National League behind the San Francisco Giants -- head oddsmaker and Atlantis sportsbook director Steve Mikkelson is now a believer.
"I was short on them last year," Mikkelson told Chalk. "My concern was that the team was so young. But after watching them in 2016, they are solid top to bottom. They have tremendous depth and won 103 games last year. If any team can take an injury or two and come back, it's this team. I like the Wade Davis acquisition, and Kyle Schwarber is coming back as well."
"I have [the Red Sox] with shorter odds to win the World Series but a lower win total because they have a much more competitive division," Mikkelson said. "The Indians and Red Sox are a notch above the other teams in the AL."
Mikkelson said the most difficult team to handicap was the Kansas City Royals. He landed on 80.5 but said they could be sellers if they struggled out of the gate or buyers if they got off to a fast start.
The bet limit on the win totals is $500.