While one of the tenets of spring training is that every team has a positive outlook, the reality of Major League Baseball–and pro sports in general–is that teams will underachieve. That’s where part two of our MLB win total best bets come into play. While we presented three teams that should surpass the over-under win totals last week, now we have our three best bets for MLB teams to go under their projected mark.
MLB Win Total Best Bet: St. Louis Cardinals Under 89.5
Positives for the Cardinals include a potent offense (including reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado) and a potential top-notch closer in Ryan Helsley, who looks in form during spring training this year despite a meltdown in Game 1 of the series against the Phillies last October.
The first concern we have about the Redbirds is the starting staff. Adam Wainwright, 41, defied Father Time for most of 2022 but is already hurt this year. Miles Mikolas started the season well but struggled down the stretch, Jack Flaherty hasn’t been consistent since 2019, and Jordan Montgomery pitched well after he was traded from the New York Yankees last year, but he isn’t the typical pitcher that you would see atop a division winner’s rotation.
Another reason STL could see a regression of at least four games is the new balanced schedule. The Cardinals were a combined 38-19 against the bottom-feeders of the NL Central last year: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and the Chicago Cubs. But instead of playing those teams 19 times apiece this year, the number is down to 13. In its place will be more games against the American League, playing all 15 AL teams at least three times instead of just five clubs. The Cards’ non-NL Central record last year against all other teams besides the three mentioned above was 55-50. The 18 fewer games against the Cubs, Reds, and Pirates will be the difference.
Prediction: 87-75 (under 89.5)
MLB Win Total Best Bet: Detroit Tigers Under 69.5
The Detroit Tigers finished the 2021 season with some hope for a turnaround. After finishing 77-85 and hope for the future, the Tigers took a step back in 2022. Offensive pieces Javier Baez and Austin Meadows struggled, Casey Mize had Tommy John surgery, and Tarik Skubal pitched well before also going under the knife. Mize is likely to miss most if not all of 2023, while Skubal could return at some point. Spencer Torkelson should be a bright spot on offense, and there will be sentimental moments in the final year of Miguel Cabrera’s career.
Also gone is longtime general manager Al Avila. That means that if the Tigers are out of contention come the summer, the team may not hesitate to deal players like Baez and Meadows (if they are playing well) if it means stocking up on prospects. Despite all that, those taking the over on Detroit see the Tigers as a 70-win team. The over-under at nearly all sportsbooks, including FanDuel is 69.5.
Last year’s team, which went into the year with aspirations for a winning season, won 66 games. It’s tough to see this team being better than the 2022 version–let alone more than three games better.
Prediction: 64-98 (under 69.5)
MLB Win Total Best Bet: Colorado Rockies Under 66
Some sportsbooks have the over-under win total for the Colorado Rockies at 64.5. At Caesars Sportsbook, it’s 66. If you can find them at that total, grab the under in a hurry!
After making back-to-back playoff runs in 2017 and ’18, the Rockies have been in free-fall mode. Last year’s team sported a 68-94 record. The team doesn’t seem to have improved much going into 2023–besides hoping for a healthy Kris Benson.
Offense typically isn’t an issue in homer-friendly Coors Field. But even when playing 81 games at altitude last year, Colorado was just 23rd in home runs and 26th in total offense by wRC+. The pitching staff is also shaky, so when the majority of teams that will be coming into Denver have a better offense than the Rockies do, it could make for some rough homestands.
The pitching rotation remains mostly unchanged. However, that isn’t good when it was 29th in MLB with a 5.22 ERA a year ago. The starting staff ranked in the bottom-five in HRs allowed and fewest strikeouts.
Each team in the NL West is better than the Rockies, including Arizona. That will be the nail in the coffin for a team that could easily lose 100 games.
The Rockies odds to win the entire National League currently stand at +20000, better than only one team, the Washington Nationals.
Prediction: 61-101 (under 66)
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