The Major League Baseball season starts Thursday with all 30 teams taking the diamond around the country. The time left to wager on MLB win totals is running out at sportsbooks.
Researching MLB Season Win Totals
Analytically-inclined baseball websites are a great resource for sports bettors. Win total projections are among the many tools available. PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs projections are two of the most popular win total resources before and during the season.
Both resources offer useful team and player information throughout the season for both bettors and daily fantasy players. An interesting way to look at wagering on MLB season win totals is to compare the projection sites to the sportsbooks.
Both PECOTA and Fangraphs disagree significantly with the 2021 win totals of three teams.
Comparing Projections and MLB Win Totals
|Angels||84||87||83.5 (BET NOW)|
|Astros||89||92.4||87.5 (BET NOW)|
|Athletics||83||82.6||86.5 (BET NOW)|
|Blue Jays||88||84.8||86.5 (BET NOW)|
|Braves||89||83||91.5 (BET NOW)|
|Brewers||81||88.4||83.5 (BET NOW)|
|Cardinals||79||78.1||86.5 (BET NOW)|
|Indianas||80||85.8||81.5 (BET NOW)|
|Cubs||78||85.4||78.5 (BET NOW)|
|Diamondbacks||73||76.6||75.5 (BET NOW)|
|Dodgers||98||103.5||102.5 (BET NOW)|
|Giants||77||73.5||75.5 (BET NOW)|
|Mariners||74||71.2||72.5 (BET NOW)|
|Marlins||73||70.1||70.5 (BET NOW)|
|Mets||92||91.8||90.5 (BET NOW)|
|Nationals||83||83.4||84.5 (BET NOW)|
|Orioles||67||67.5||64.5 (BET NOW)|
|Padres||95||95.1||94.5 (BET NOW)|
|Phillies||81||83.5||80.5 (BET NOW)|
|Pirates||66||60.9||58.5 (BET NOW)|
|Rangers||71||68.2||67.5 (BET NOW)|
|Rays||84||86.5||86.5 (BET NOW)|
|Red Sox||85||80||80.5 (BET NOW)|
|Reds||78||78.8||81.5 (BET NOW)|
|Rockies||67||61.4||63.5 (BET NOW)|
|Royals||77||72||73.5 (BET NOW)|
|Tigers||72||66.2||69.5 (BET NOW)|
|Twins||87||91.9||88.5 (BET NOW)|
|White Sox||84||80.2||90.5 (BET NOW)|
|Yankees||95||100.1||95.5 (BET NOW)|
Best MLB Win Totals based on Projections Systems
Chicago White Sox – under 90.5 wins
Eloy Jimenez missing five to six months with a pectoral injury triggered a significant adjustment in both PECOTA and Fangraph’s win total.
Fangraphs has Chicago currently projected for 84 wins, 6.5 games less than the White Sox win total at most sportsbooks. PECOTA is even more bearish, with only 80.2 wins now projected. That’s more than a 10-game difference in the over/under of 90.5 wins.
After public steam drove up the White Sox win total, some juice is now on the under at 90.5, but the disparity between that offering and the projections systems is glaring.
St. Louis Cardinals – under 86.5 wins
Some books have moved this down to 86 wins, but 86.5 is still available at some shops.
PECOTA pegs the redbirds for 78.1 wins. Fangraphs almost agrees with a projection of 79 wins. Regardless, that is a 7-8 game difference from the over/under of 86.5 wins.
Clearly, the models were not as impressed with the trade for Rockies slugger Nolan Arenado. St. Louis also still has Paul Goldschmidt in the middle of the lineup. The rest of the lineup is a question mark. The Cardinals ranked 19th in 2019 and 23rd in a shortened 2020 season in runs scored.
Oakland Athletics – under 86.5 wins
The A’s have won 60 percent of their games (a 97-win pace) each of the past three seasons, but the projections see significant regression coming in 2021.
PECOTA and Fangraphs are essentially aligned in their view of Oakland with 82.6 and 83 projected wins, respectively. That’s more than a three-game difference from the current over/under of 86.5 wins.
Bettors have pounced on this number driving it down over the past week from 87.5, but there’s still some value if you trust the projections.
More MLB Futures
Matt Brown, Brett Collson and Stephen Andress recently discussed some other MLB futures on Episode 160 of TheLines Sports Betting Podcast below, including Cy Young and most home runs. Tune in around the 47:15 mark for discussion on more MLB win totals.
Bettors will have until the first pitch of each team to place season win total wagers. First pitch for the Blue Jays, Yankees, Indians and Tigers is 1 pm Eastern/10 am Pacific Thursday, April 1.