NL CENTRAL REGULAR SEASON WIN TOTALS
|TEAM||2020 WIN TOTAL||ODDS TO WIN NL CENTRAL|
|St. Louis Cardinals||88.5||+225|
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CHICAGO CUBS – O/U 86.5
Last season: Under 88.5 by 5 wins
Between 2015 and 2018 the Cubs won no fewer than 92 games, so their 2019 campaign which saw them notch just 84 W’s was certainly a disappointment and in the end cost Joe Maddon his job. Now, former player David Ross steps into the manager role in a move I think will either be just what this talented team needs, or be a spectacular failure. That said, the core that won all those games over the years is still there. If Yu Darvish can bounce back this is one of the better rotations in the National League. If the Cubs can just be a little more consistent there’s no reason, they shouldn’t not only be able to go over this number fairly easily, but they’ll be a real contender to win the Central as well.
Pick: Over 86.5
CINCINNATI REDS – O/U 85.5
Last season: Under 79.5 by 5 wins
The Reds are another sexy pick to make the leap to contention, and for good reason. With Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer the Reds Top 3 in their rotation is as good as they come. Cincy also went out and signed Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos to create a now dangerous lineup that already features Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. If anyone deserves a winning season, it’s the Reds, but to go Over would mean an 11-win improvement over last year. That’s a big ask, but screw it, we’re hoping the fans in Cincy have something to cheer for this season.
Pick: Over 85.5
MILWAUKEE BREWERS – O/U 82.5
Last season: Over 86.5 by 3 wins
The Brewers have locked up MVP Christian Yelich long term, but do they have the support around him to remain contenders? Outside of Yelich the Brew Crew’s lineup had a subpar 2019 and lost Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas and Eric Thames. Those three players accounted for 88 home runs and 225 RBIs and Milwaukee has done nothing to replace them. The rotation is full of question marks and the bullpen was no where near as dominant as it was in 2018. Milwaukee was also incredibly luckily last season, they made the postseason despite a run differential of just +3. That’s just not sustainable. This year has letdown written all over it for the Brewers.
Pick: Under 82.5
PITTSBURGH PIRATES – O/U 69.5
Last season: Under 77.5 by 9 wins
This is one of my favorite regular season win total plays heading into 2020. I’m going to get straight to the point. Ownership of this team looks like it has no interest in winning right now. They continue to make baffling trade after baffling trade and refuse to want to build around their core pieces they already have. Only three teams gave up more runs than the Buccos last season and they’ve made no improvements to the staff. The bullpen is bad, the starting pitching is worse. In a division that should be one of the more competitive in baseball this season going over this number seems incredibly unlikely.
Pick: Under 69.5
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS – O/U 88.5
Last season: Over 88.5 by 3 wins
The Cardinals are coming off a 91-win 2019 campaign which saw them win the Central division title for the first time since 2015 and they did that off the strength of their pitching. Both their starters and bullpen ranked fifth in ERA. The Cardinals issues lie in the offense. While they boast a veteran lineup, they were far too inconsistent at times. Paul Goldschmidt’s first year in St. Louis wasn’t what we’ve come to expect from him. Dexter Fowler’s offense has fallen off a cliff. And Yadier Molina isn’t getting any younger. Here are the teams in the NL that hit for a worse average than the Cardinals last season: The Reds, Marlins, Padres and Giants. That’s it. That’s the list. If the pitching falls off even a little, it will be hard for the hitting to make up for it.
Pick: Under 88.5
UNDERSTANDING MLB SEASON WIN TOTALS
Sportsbooks will post projected win totals for every MLB team before the season starts. The numbers are projections for the amount of wins a specific team will get in a given year set accurately enough in hopes of getting an even amount of dollars wagered on both the Over and the Under. These markets open before Spring Training, close when the regular season begins and don’t cash out until the season is over eight months later. So, be prepared to ride out your investment.
MLB season win total odds will usually look like this:
Chicago Cubs Over/Under 86.5
This means you can bet the Yankees to have more than or less than 86.5 wins. So, 87 or more wins and you cash an Over bet and 86 or fewer wins and your Under is the winner.
Most of these odds are juiced to -110 each way, meaning you would need to bet $110 to win $100. If adjustments are made, due to players changing teams, getting hurt or liability (amount wagered on a certain side), then usually the number would change, for example: the Cubs move from 86.5 to 87.5.
HOW TO BET MLB REGULAR SEASON WIN TOTALS
There are many strategies to consider when making an MLB regular season win total bet. First and foremost, you’re looking for value. Has a sportsbook overvalued a player acquisition or undervalued the strength of a division? Just because the Cardinals won 91 games last year, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll go Over their win total of 88.5 this year. With a little bit of research, you can find some real value in the numbers.
Also, consider the length of your investment. As mentioned before, MLB regular season win totals need to be locked in prior to the Opening Day of the MLB season (usually at the end of March) and don’t cash out until the season ends (usually at the end of September). That’s a long time to wait out a bet. If you are betting the Brewers to go Over 82.5 wins, but they stumble out the gates losing 20 of their first 30 games, you’ve got a season-long sweat on your hands.
Another thing to look at is good teams versus bad teams. The MLB is in a weird state where it seems like only a third of teams are actually trying to win at a time, while the others tank to accumulate assets. But since sportsbooks don’t like setting numbers too high or too low, there’s actually value in betting bad teams to lose and good teams to win.
Finally, shop around. These totals are from the Superbook at the Westgate in Las Vegas. If you like the Reds to improve but don’t love the number at 85.5, maybe another book doesn’t have as big a liability on Boston and has a number of 84.5 or even 84.