5 MLB win totals you can’t afford to miss
MLB win totals are among the best futures bets in sports. Handicappers willing to put in the work can often find significant edges and place their wagers accordingly.
We dug in and managed to find five worthwhile sides in the MLB win totals market, which we’ll present below.
The Atlanta Braves nearly knocked off the eventual 2020 World Series-winning Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, losing in Game 7. This came despite relying on a rookie in Ian Anderson to carry them through behind ace starter Max Fried, as Mike Soroka was injured early in the season, and free agent pickup Cole Hamels never factored.
Charlie Morton was brought in this offseason to help bolster the rotation. Add that healthy unit to an offense that was second in the majors by runs per game in 2020 (5.62) with NL MVP Freddie Freeman leading the way, and a bullpen that was fourth by ERA (3.50), you have a team that’s good for at least 95 wins.
The Boston Red Sox had an above-average offense in 2020 (11th), but their pitching was abysmal – only the Colorado Rockies gave up more runs per game.
Eduardo Rodriguez (3.81 ERA in 2019) is back after a heart condition kept him on the sidelines last season, but staff ace Chris Sale is still on the mend following Tommy John surgery. That means more starts for journeymen Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez in 2021.
Boston’s .400 win % last season would have been good for just 65 wins (rounded up) in a regular 162-game campaign. It’s difficult to envision the Red Sox getting to 81 wins with Kiké Hernandez and Hunter Renfroe taking over as everyday players.
The playoffs are still a year or two away for the Kansas City Royals, but they can clear this relatively-low bar of 72.5 wins in 2021.
They had the fifth-worst offense in baseball a year ago, but they added Carlos Santana and Andrew Benintendi to their lineup as interesting reclamation projects. The Royals have had a good strike rate lately, as they guessed right on Maikel Franco and Trevor Rosenthal a year ago.
K.C. had the sixth-best run-prevention staff in the AL in 2020, with promising prospect Brad Keller (5-3, 2.47 ERA) taking charge. Brady Singer and Kris Bubic offer hope for similar success in their second year in the majors.
The Dodgers were on pace for 116 wins in 2020, but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll eclipse the 100-win plateau as they try to defend their World Series title.
Many have been quick to call the Dodgers’ offseason a success because they signed 2020 NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, but his track record (3.90 career ERA) is anything but reliable. L.A. also lost some of their role players in Joc Pederson and Hernandez. They’re counting on Gavin Lux to finally live up to the hype, but his .210 batting average through 138 at-bats doesn’t inspire confidence.
With the new-and-improved San Diego Padres hot on their heels, and the possibility of a World Series hangover, don’t be surprised if the Dodgers come in short of the 103-win threshold.
The New York Mets were on pace to be a 70-win team in 2020, but the wholesale changes they made in the offseason could make them the most improved team in the majors in 2021.
The Mets upgraded at shortstop – replacing Amed Rosario with Francisco Lindor – as well as catcher, eschewing Wilson Ramos for James McCann. Their rotation issues behind perennial Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom appear to have been solved, with Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker and David Peterson comprising the top five before Noah Syndergaard returns from injury.
New York’s bullpen was shored up too, with Trevor May and Aaron Loup joining the ranks. This club will give the Braves a run for their money in the NL East.