Of all the sportsbooks, the only one I have found that has an over/under season wins line for the MLB is Draftkings. See DraftKings odds here.
I did a lot of research into the last 21 years of betting odds (from SportsOddsHistory.com) and season results to see how teams have performed against the lines and I have some interesting findings that I will try to share in the blog. Here’s a few to get going.
Two Teams I’m Staying away from
Los Angeles Dodgers at 102.5
Since 2000, the Dodgers have been the fifth best team at outperforming the line. During the last 21 seasons, their wins totals have been 2.48% above the line with 12 of those 21 seasons (57.14%) hitting on the Over bet. That includes a stellar 6 out of the last 8 seasons hitting on the over (while the line during the 7 regular length seasons was an average of 92.8). The Dodgers have lived up to the hype – at least in the regular seasons – and fans betting on overs that are above 90 have been awarded. The Dodgers get to play 57 games against the Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Giants so 103 wins could be in their future.
However, the only lines at or above 100 wins that I could find was the ’05 and ’06 Yankees teams (the line in 2005 was 101.5 and 2006 was 100) that won 95 and 97 games respectively. Expecting over 100 wins is just too much for any MLB team, no matter how great. Despite the easy schedule and star-studded lineup, I’m staying away from this bet.
New York Mets at 90.5
The Mets have gotten better. A new owner and a blockbuster trade for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco shows that the Mets are ready to contend now. Lindor joins 2019 Rookie of the Year first baseman Pete Alonso and Robinson Cano in a powerful lineup. Meanwhile, Carrasco joins a pitching staff that features perennial Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom and those two will be joined at some point in the season by Noah Syndergaard as he is eased back in to the rotation.
As Mets fans know, the team has been quite disappointing over the recent past. Over the last 5 seasons, the Mets were under their wins line 4 times. The average line for that period was 86.3 for the 4 full length season plus 2020’s line at 32 wins (the Mets won 26 games in 2020). Over the last 21 seasons, the Mets have underperformed their total wins line by a whopping -5.92%, the worst mark in the MLB over that time period. Despite the newfound hope, I’m still staying away from this bet. I would want to see the line drop to the mid 80s or rise above the low 90s before I would be more confident in an over or under bet on the Mets.
Two Teams I am comfortable with
Cincinnati Reds at 82.5 – I’m betting the UNDER
I think the Reds will be a competitive ball team this year, but I’m taking the under here. The Reds have been under for the last 8 seasons, the longest active streak thanks to the White Sox hitting the over in their 2020 campaign. During those 8 seasons, the Reds have even made the playoffs twice (2020 and 2013) and won 90 games (the line in 2013 was 91). There have been a few close misses during the streak of unders, but I’m confdent it will continue. The NL Central will be a competitive division and I do not like the chances of the Cardinals, Brewers, and Reds all ending up over 82 wins. The Cubs look increasingly threatening, and while the Pirates will be bad, I’m not confident the Reds will turn enough of those matchups into wins to be above .500 this season.
Cleveland Indians at 81.5 – I’m taking the OVER
The Indians lose important players and trade away important pieces almost every season and have remained contenders despite the odds. Over the past 5 seasons, the Indians have hit the over 4 times and outperformed the spread by 4.50%. At 81.5, all I’m betting on is Cleveland going .500 or better. Part of why this bet makes sense to me, other than their recent history, is that I think the 91.5 wins for the White Sox and 88.5 wind for the Twins are both a little high. For every win that Cleveland can pry from those two “consensus” top teams, the closer they get to being at or above 82 wins. The Indians are still bringing back AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber and other starters such as Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale. Plus, according to Baseball Reference, manager Terry Francona has not had a losing season since 2000 when he was managing the Philadelphia Phllies and they went 65-97. I don’t think Francona is going to have a losing season this year either, I am taking the over.
A Statement on Betting
I bet in Colorado where sports gambling is legal, only bet where you are legally allowed to. Also, I bet in small amounts, typically $1. Do not bet ore than you can afford to lose.