Baseball season is finally upon us, and there are betting opportunities galore, especially when it comes to the win totals for each individual team. Our experts have dived into the numbers and projections to see where there may be an opportunity to wager on clubs whose expectations have not been precisely encapsulated by this predicted number of victories.
Without further ado, here are our best bets from Tyler Fulghum, Doug Kezirian, Paul Hembekides, Eric Karabell, Derek Carty and Tristan H. Cockcroft.
All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook, as of March 27.
Fulghum: There's nothing wrong with being a betting bully, so I'll hammer the Nationals under 59.0 wins. The NL East is loaded at the top with the Phillies, Braves and Mets. Even the Marlins are a decent team as evidenced by their 76.0 win total prop. The Nats are in a full teardown/rebuild and they should be the punching bag, both of this division and the rest of the league.
Karabell: The last time the Marlins won 76 games was back in 2017 and, despite trading for the AL batting champ (Luis Arraez), this remains a weak lineup -- perhaps the worst in the NL again. I will take the under for Miami. However, my favorite pick is taking the Angels over 81.5 wins. The Angels haven't won half of their games since 2015, but they've surely improved their pitching and, well, Shohei Ohtani? Mike Trout? The lineup is devastating if (and that's a big if) healthy. Still, let's be optimistic!
Carty: Get ready to be upset, because we're taking the Mets under 92.5 wins. The Mets were the talk of the offseason with all of their spending, but ultimately they just replaced what they were losing (and often with a downgrade). Jacob deGrom turned into Justin Verlander. Chris Bassitt turned into Kodai Senga. Taijuan Walker turned into Jose Quintana. Brandon Nimmo turned into... Brandon Nimmo.
Many expect the baseline for the Mets to be the 100-ish wins they totaled last year, but THE BAT X projection system believed them to be one of the luckiest teams in baseball to begin with and only projects them to win 85 games this year. A 7.5 win gap at even money sounds good to me -- even if nobody actually wants to bet against the Mets. Actually, that's just all the more reason to do it.
Hembekides: Reports of the their demise have been greatly exaggerated, so I'm playing the Dodgers over 94.5. Will they miss Trea Turner? Absolutely. Will the Padres take another step forward? Most likely. However, let's consider our starting point. The Dodgers won 111 games last season with the run differential (+334) of a 115-win club. They could plummet back down to earth and still cruise to 95 wins. Besides, according to MLB Pipeline, they have six top-100 prospects with a 2023 big-league ETA. In other words, the reinforcements are coming, and coming fast.
Cockcroft: I'm apparently a bigger believer in the Brewers than most, but Milwaukee over 84.5 wins seems like a slam dunk to me. It's especially true for a team that has a trio of electric arms at the front of its rotation, a solid and underrated offense, and a decent amount of prospect depth that might be able to either chip in midseason (or they use that capital to trade for other in-season roster needs).
The same goes for the Rangers (over 81.5) whom I've picked as a wild-card contender, figuring that their healthy rotation today should propel them to a big enough early start that they'll be motivated to make in-season trade reinforcements if they should need to plug holes later.
Kezirian: I am going squarely against Hembo and Tristan. Let's start with the Dodgers under 94.5 wins, who have benefited from incredible depth and balance to capture the NL West nine times over the past decade. That said, health is a major concern and they will lean on several prospects. The youngsters have impressive rankings, but can they all produce? Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are elite, but the starting rotation is thin and the bullpen has never been a strength. For the first time, the lineup has a few holes and I doubt this team can stay healthy and dominant. I wouldn't be shocked if the over hits, but I still like the under enough to play it. The true value will be fading this team because of their inflated moneylines.
I am also fading the Brewers at under 84.5 wins. Yes, the front end of the rotation is stellar. but are we positive they won't be sellers at the deadline? Christian Yelich's best days are behind him and frankly, the entire lineup is shaky. For example, William Contreras bats cleanup. Plus, with baseball's new scheduling, Milwaukee will lose 18 games against the lowly Pirates, Cubs and Reds compared to previous seasons.
I am also going to fade the lowly Athletics at under 59.5 wins. Make no mistake, this team should absolutely stink after losing Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. It is a complete rebuild and the prospects are not even that highly regarded. They have several veterans who are well past their prime. Long gone are the days of Moneyball. There is no logical reason that they will avoid reaching over 100 losses.