Kansas City Royals Odds: MLB Win Totals, Projections, Possible Bets

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Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
Royals odds

Welcome to TheLines’ 2024 MLB odds preview series. Here, we’ll preview every team’s 2024 season with a focus on MLB win totals and World Series odds. For each team, we’ll evaluate their roster and see if there are any wagers worth considering. Today, we’ll look at Kansas City Royals odds.

After one of the worst seasons in franchise history — an abhorrent 56-win campaign — the Royals are sending all the right signals that they’re committed to winning. They signed franchise bedrock Bobby Witt Jr. to a $289-million contract and actually spent on some free-agent pitchers to shore up a clear area of weakness.

Have the Royals rebuilt themselves into at least divisional contenders in a weak group of Central teams?

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Royals Odds: An Overview And What The Projections Say

First, let’s compare the market on Royals odds to publicly available projections from FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus.

  • 2023 wins: 56
  • Market wins: /
  • FanGraphs wins: 75.4
  • Baseball Prospectus wins: 70.7

FanGraphs likes the Royals a little, but Baseball Prospectus is a little more bearish. BP is higher on the Twins and Guardians, so it could partially be a function of expecting the opposition to be a little stronger. The Royals were the unluckiest team by sequencing (-10 wins) and have added considerable talent to the pitching staff. It would count as a real shock if they weren’t quite a bit better this season.

Evaluating The Royals Roster

Bats And Defense

Last year’s Royals had one of the worst offenses in MLB, finishing third from the bottom in wRC+. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this year’s lineup will do a whole lot better, considering Hunter Renfroe stands as the main addition.

MJ Melendez is currently projected to lead off. Since he was a below-average hitter each of the past two years who accumulated 0 WAR in 2023, that’s not great. And Salvador Perez hitting in the top half of the lineup feels like malpractice at this point. His skillset could completely collapse any year, given his swing-and-miss.

The good news is there’s some upside here beyond the obvious scenario of Witt Jr. developing into an MVP candidate. Vinny Pasquantino was one of the unluckier hitters last year. He still has average projections and should bounce back. Nelson Velasquez blistered the ball (.378 xwOBA), so his 132 wRC+ may be real.

Kyle Isbel and Maikel Garcia have light sticks but elite gloves. As a matter of fact, the defense ranked as one of MLB’s best by everything besides DRS, thanks to those two and the huge jump by Witt Jr.

The Royals could piece together an offense that’s just a bit below average if Witt Jr. and Pasquantino continue developing and Melendez remembers how to hit as he did in 2021 when he performed like a superstar in the high minors. No matter what, though, the bottom half of the order looks like a bunch of free outs.

Pitching

To say the Royals neglected the pitching staff in 2023 would be like saying the Chiefs drafted a decent quarterback in 2017. Only Jordan Lyles, Brady Singer, and Zack Greinke exceeded 100 IP. Singer is probably the only one of those who belongs in an MLB rotation at this point.

Things look far better for 2024 as management appears to have taken the job of fixing the rotation seriously.

They absolutely stole Cole Ragans from the Rangers, who crushed it and looks like a star. Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo should provide average or better production. Throw in Singer, who looks like a fine No. 4 despite his rocky 2023, and the Royals have most of a solid rotation.

Unfortunately, the good news ends in a hurry. Have you seen the meme of the half-drawn horse, where it starts perfectly rendered and progresses into a 6-year-old’s drawing? That second part is the Royals’ bullpen.

Last year, the Royals blew the second-most leads after only the Rockies. The pen had the worst clutch factor in MLB and the third-most meltdowns. And that was with Scott Barlow and Aroldis Chapman.

Now, James McArthur is penciled in as the closer. He has all of 23.1 MLB IP and below-average projections. He performed well last year but had the swinging strike rate of a No. 4 starter. Will Smith looks washed. And that’s the back end of the pen, although a recent trade for John Schreiber helps the depth.

This looks like one of MLB’s worst groups and figures to cost the Royals a handful of games in which the starter sets them up for success.

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Possible Bets On Royals Odds

I like the moves K.C. made to bring in Lugo and Wacha. Between the revamped rotation, a good defense, and a lineup with some upside, I don’t think the Royals will be terrible this season. I’m leaning toward the FanGraphs projection that has them exceed their win total.

But that bullpen. That bullpen gives me the willies, and nothing about sweating out an entire season of blown leads sounds fun.

The Royals also lack any high-level prospects that can provide an immediate impact.

This team intrigues me a bit. But I’m not excited enough to bet on anything positive happening. I expect them to finish either third or fourth in the division and win around 75 games. That’s not going to move the needle enough to trigger a bet, but I will look for some value early in the season backing this pitching staff if the market doesn’t believe in them.

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