PointsBet is the first US sportsbook to release Major League Baseball (MLB) season win totals for the 2020 season. The Houston Astros top the board at a projected 99.5 wins, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are close behind with a win total of 98.5.
Last year’s champion Washington Nationals opened at 89.5 wins at PointsBet.
Previously, the first MLB season win totals were released by sportsbooks in Nevada just as Spring Training for the season is getting underway. Times are changing and baseball bettors in New Jersey and Iowa (where PointsBet operates) can now wager on MLB season win totals before Nevada residents for the first time.
The timing is a major shift for baseball bettors. PointsBet is releasing 2020 MLB season win totals just as Hot Stove season is heating up. For reference, Caesars released 2019 MLB season win totals in February. MLB season win totals for 2020 are being released almost two months earlier than the season win totals for this past season.
2020 MLB season win totals
Betting season win totals for a sport is an over/under wager. The bet is whether or not the team will win or lose more games than posted. Each of the 2020 MLB season win totals starts at -110. At first a bettor will wager $110 to win $100 (plus the original wager).
The numbers will change as wagers are placed. Before changing the win total, a sportsbook will typically change the juice on the total. For example, if bettors wager often on the Boston Red Sox under 94.5 games, the vig will typically move from -110 to -120 to -130, etc. before the total moves down to 94 or 93 games. In these cases, a bettor will wager $120 or $130 to win $100 (plus the original wager).
|Team||2020 Win Total||2019 Wins|
|Boston Red Sox||94.5||84|
|Chicago White Sox||80.5||72|
|Kansas City Royals||66.5||59|
|San Diego Padres||84.5||70|
|San Francisco Giants||68.5||77|
|St. Louis Cardinals||88.5||91|
|Tampa Bay Rays||92.5||96|
|Toronto Blue Jays||73.5||67|
MLB Hot Stove
“Hot Stove season” refers to off-season activity for MLB teams. The “hot stove” is relevant because free agent signings and trades often occur during the Winter Meetings.
In previous years, MLB season win totals weren’t released until just before the season started. This timing worked well for bettors as most big-name free agents were signed. Knowing where the best free agents would play the season makes it easier to project win totals.
Six of the top 10 free agents, according to CBS Sports, are still available. The players on this list, Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole, are still looking for a new team. These players will make a difference in the betting market wherever they decide to play.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Los Angeles Angels are the latest team to show interest in Rendon. They’re also interested in signing Cole. The Angels’ 2020 season win total at PointsBet is 83.5.
Last year, Rendon’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with the Washington Nationals was 6.3. Cole’s WAR with the Houston Astros was 6.8. While they aren’t guaranteed to add that many wins for a season, it’s a good barometer for the player’s value. Whichever team signs either player should see an improvement.
Free agents won’t be the only players on new teams in 2020. There are still trades on the horizon. The Chicago Cubs, for example, are considering trading Kris Bryant and other players. Trades might be an easier way for teams to change their rosters than by signing free agents.
There’s still a lot of roster building for MLB teams. Placing an MLB season win total wager might be riskier than waiting until the teams are ready for the new year. PointsBet releasing the totals this early might also advantageous to baseball bettors that follow the game more closely than others.