MLB betting preview for every team


With Opening Day of the 2017 MLB season almost upon us, here are my season win total projections for all 30 teams, along with a recommendation on whether there is any betting value on the over or the under.

AL East

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox's annual pattern of either finishing first or last is as confounding as the Giants' even-year success was. Of course, the San Francisco run came to an end last year, so what's the fate of Boston's curious pole-to-pole pattern in 2017? Full preview

New York Yankees

Thanks to the incredible exploits of Gary Sanchez over the last two months of the season, the Yankees are a sexy pick this year to surprise. As I wrote last year in the Diamondbacks essay, you can be a fan of Justin Timberlake's efforts to "bring sexy back," but as a sports bettor, it's never a good idea to back sexy. Full preview

Tampa Bay Rays

I can definitely see how someone can run the numbers and see the Rays bouncing from 68 wins to an over .500 team this year, but it's not going to be me. Full preview

Toronto Blue Jays

The team's period of offensive dominance (2015) is surely in the past, but with Josh Donaldson, Bautista and a still above-average, if no longer transcendent, hitting shortstop in Troy Tulowitzki, the lineup is still formidable. Full preview

Baltimore Orioles

Even if Buck Showalter is outwardly amused, I get why Orioles fans are perpetually irritated by the number-crunchers who constantly throw shade on Baltimore's success. Full preview


AL Central

Kansas City Royals

Pssssst! The two-time American League pennant-winners and 2015 World Series champions were bad last year. The Royals allowed 71 more runs than the year before, but it probably should have been closer to 100 more. Full preview

Cleveland Indians

While no team in baseball is going to have an easier time cruising to a division title than the Indians this season, I do worry about the defense and the natural variance that surrounds bullpen performance. Therefore, you'll find my call for Cleveland's pennant-winning successor, and in fact the 2017 World Series champion, in another American League preview. Full preview

Minnesota Twins

Minnesota has an offense that should score more than the league average, and beyond that there's upside. That would normally make a 75 or lower wins total, a screaming buy. I can't get there, though, because of the rotation and its inability to get strikeouts. Full preview

Chicago White Sox

Perhaps with a view toward the blueprint their North Side neighbors followed, the White Sox began a teardown of their own this winter. By dealing their best pitcher, Chris Sale, and last year's most productive everyday player, Adam Eaton (to the Red Sox and Nationals, respectively), for an impressive haul of prospects, Chicago abandoned its pursuit of the playoffs for at least this year. Full preview

Detroit Tigers

If you strip away the luck involved in converting team production into both runs scored and allowed, and remove the luck converting a team's run differential into wins, then the Tigers deserved to be playing in the AL wild-card game last year. Full preview

AL West

Los Angeles Angels

While an improved rotation will certainly help improve the team from its 71-win talent of 2016, if Los Angeles has any hopes of winning its first playoff game in the Trout era, it's going to need to score more runs. Full preview

Texas Rangers

While the rotation may have holes three days out of five, the starting lineup has the potential to outslug opponents on a daily basis. Full preview

Houston Astros

Bravo to the Astros' front office: Despite the absence of splashy nine-figure contracts, this is the most consequential offseason revamping I have seen across the majors. Full preview

Seattle Mariners

Seattle wasn't quite as good as last year's 87 wins suggested; I graded the Mariners as an 84-win team. Additionally, it didn't seem to get any attention, but the Mariners wrested away from the Yankees a distinction New York has held for many, many years: They fielded the oldest lineup in baseball. Full preview

Oakland Athletics

I'm not going so far as to recommend a short on Oakland, but even with the reduced expectations that go along with possessing the second-lowest wins hurdle in the American League, I don't see where the upside will come from. Full preview

NL East

Atlanta Braves

In winning 68 games last season, as unlikely as their finish might have appeared, Atlanta played to the level of a 74-win team, and the Braves are poised in 2017 to make big advances in reducing runs allowed and increasing runs scored. Full preview

Miami Marlins

Young talent normally serves as building blocks for the future, but with this franchise, it has more often than not been the catalyst for roster teardowns. Miami has some very desirable under-30 talent on team-friendly contracts (Giancarlo Stanton) or on the cusp of starting to make serious money. Full preview

New York Mets

Last year, they were 12th in the NL in road scoring, nestled between the anemic offenses of the Padres and the Phillies. Full preview

Philadelphia Phillies

It may have escaped the eye of in-season power ratings authors, but thanks to their 28-23 record in one-run games, the Phillies' win-loss record all season looked considerably better than the actual talent on the field. Full preview

Washington Nationals

One of the hidden reasons the Nationals cruised to the NL East title last season was a huge increase in their defensive efficiency, which would have been hard to predict based on their performance the season before and the addition of Daniel Murphy, who doesn't look very comfortable playing the field. Full preview

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

Chicago's defense was so good in 2016 that it broke Peta's defensive model, which means regression is inevitable. It will still be another fun season for Cubs fans. Full preview

St. Louis Cardinals

If it hadn't been for the Alex Reyes injury, the Cardinals would have had the luxury of a six-man rotation and huge upside, assuming Adam Wainwright regains the form he perennially displayed prior to tearing his Achilles tendon at the beginning of the 2015 season. Instead, a plausible path to challenging the Cubs for the division has turned into more of a low-probability event. Full preview

Pittsburgh Pirates

After crashing back to the world of sub-.500 teams, the Pirates are being overlooked as a playoff threat in 2017, and oddsmakers seem to be saying there's a seven-team race in the National League for the six playoff spots. Full preview

Milwaukee Brewers

Just like last year, the Brewers appear caught in the middle of the tear-down management desires and a just-talented-enough roster that will keep them out of the NL Central cellar without any real hope of reaching .500. Full preview

Cincinnati Reds

Despite the presence of a younger roster, Cincinnati still has the ingredients to set the franchise record for losses, currently held by the 1982 squad at 101 games. Full preview

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

Will Zack Greinke bounce back? What about A.J. Pollock (from injury)? There are more questions than answers right now for Arizona. Full preview

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies have plenty of hitting, as usual, but is there enough pitching? Why this year might not be any different. Full preview »

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have won four straight NL West titles, but can they make it five? Joe Peta isn't so sure about that or about them exceeding their win total this year. Full preview

San Diego Padres

It's been a rough couple of seasons in San Diego. Is there any hope for a turnaround this season? Full preview

San Francisco Giants

It's not an even-numbered year, but San Francisco should be battling for the NL West title as usual. Will the Giants wrestle the crown from the Dodgers in 2017? Full preview