Handicapping Each Team’s Over/Under Wins Total 2018
With Opening Day breathing down our necks, Max Rosenfeld explores the win totals of all 30 Major League Baseball clubs and predicts whether they will fall under or over.
Before each season, the bookmakers in Las Vegas give us their projected over/under win total odds for every Major League team. This provides a platform for sportswriters and experts (though I’ll refrain from giving myself such a title) to give their opinion about how each club’s season will turn out.
And here at Baseknock MLB, we are in the prediction business. Below, I’ll give my over/under picks based on the lines given by CG Technology at their Las Vegas locations. Feel free to hold me accountable to these picks as the season goes on.
To the teams I am projecting to do well, I’m sorry. And to those I think will struggle, congrats — you’re well on your way to success.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — 84.5 wins
The Angels are primed to contend for an American League Wild Card berth and will need more than 85 wins to do so. A lot will depend on the performance of Japanese phenom Shohei’s Ohtani’s pitching, as the Angels now have plenty of offense to complement Mike Trout but will need to get solid performances on the mound in order to keep up in the competitive AL West.
Houston Astros — 96.5 wins
The defending champions receive the highest projected over/under total, and I’m going to go with the under based on how difficult it is to avoid the dreaded World Series hangover. Houston should still win the division and remain one of the top teams in the AL, but the 92-96 victory window appears more likely.
Oakland Athletics- 74.5 wins
The A’s have a noteworthy collection of young talent, but this group will not be ready to compete in 2018.
Toronto Blue Jays — 81.5 wins
This is a situation in which the Blue Jays could be looking to sell at the trade deadline if they are not within striking distance of a Wild Card spot. Could Toronto deal superstar Josh Donaldson before he has the chance to leave next winter?
Atlanta Braves — 73.5 wins
Ronald Acuna, the top-rated prospect in baseball, has enjoyed a remarkable spring and could provide a spark in Atlanta. The Braves are not as far off from contention as the average fan might think.
Milwaukee Brewers — 81.5 wins
This is a Brewers team that won 86 games in 2017 and only got better by adding outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. Starting pitching is a concern for Milwaukee, but this could be addressed at the deadline. Look for the Brewers to remain in the Wild Card hunt through September.
St. Louis Cardinals — 84.5 wins
The additional of Marcell Ozuna was quietly one of the most landscape-shifting moves in all of baseball this winter, and St. Louis should benefit from the return of Alex Reyes, whom the Cards are considering using as a super-reliever in his first season back from Tommy John surgery.
Chicago Cubs — 93.5 wins
For all of 2017, it felt like the Cubs were drastically underperforming and they still won 92 games. The NL Central still runs through Wrigley Field, at least for one more year.
Arizona Diamondbacks — 86.5 wins
Losing J.D. Martinez is a tough blow and it’s tough to see Arizona receiving the same type of starting pitching as they did last season, when the club posted a 3.66 team ERA.
Los Angeles Dodgers — 95.5 wins
Under, but just barely. Winning 95+ games for multiple seasons in a row is difficult, and last year’s magical run will be hard to duplicate again. The Dodgers are very much a World Series threat but will suffer from occasional lulls during what could feel like a long summer for a team simply itching for another chance at the Fall Classic.
San Francisco Giants — 81.5 wins
The new look Giants boast some legitimate big league hitting throughout their lineup and hope to bounce back after a disappointing 2017 campaign. Seeing the rival Dodgers having more success in each of the last two seasons will serve as a source of motivation.
Cleveland Indians — 93.5 wins
The AL Central might just be the worst division in all of baseball aside from its lone World Series contender, the Indians.
Seattle Mariners — 81.5 wins
It’s now or never in Seattle for the Robinson Cano/Nelson Cruz 1-2 punch. The Mariners now own the longest postseason drought in professional North American sports. Seattle has not made the playoffs since Ichiro’s rookie season in 2001.
Miami Marlins — 64.5 wins
It’s really, really, really, hard to project a team to win 64 games or less. I’m going to do it anyway.
New York Mets- 80.5 wins
Say what you will about the Mets, but they still have two front-end starting pitchers, two All-Star outfielders, a promising shortstop prospect, and an elite closer. Health permitting, this could be a playoff team.
Washington Nationals — 91.5 wins
Still, there is no reason for the Nationals to err from the 96 wins they have averaged the last two seasons except for potential injuries. From top to bottom, this could be the most talented team in baseball.
Baltimore Orioles — 77.5 wins
It’s rebuilding time in the Charm City, where the main storyline will be whether or not Manny Machado plays out the entire season with the O’s or finds himself on another club.
San Diego Padres — 69.5 wins
The addition of Eric Hosmer will help cultivate a winning culture for the number one ranked farm system in the game. 2018 is not the year, but we will see bright glimpses of the future this season.
Philadelphia Phillies — 74.5 wins
It’s hard not to love the core the Phillies are building around the diamond. Jake Arrieta is a terrific addition that will help expedite the rebuilding process, but starting pitching will still be this team’s Achilles heel.
Pittsburgh Pirates — 76.5 wins
This could be a tough season in the Steel City for Pittsburgh’s first McCutchen-less season in recent memory. The NL Central is a competitive division that could force the Pirates toward the cellar with a lack of firepower.
Texas Rangers — 78.5 wins
Jeff Bannister and his crew seem to just always be around the playoff picture. The American League is now more competitive than ever, but that shouldn’t stop Texas from hanging around.
Tampa Bay Rays — 76.5 wins
What reason for optimism is there in Tampa Bay right now? The Rays are certainly one of the clubs participating in this year’s race to the bottom of the standings.
Boston Red Sox — 91.5 wins
To those who want to crown the Yankees kings of the AL East now — not so fast. The Red Sox have won the division in each of the last two seasons and added one of the best power hitting sluggers in baseball, J.D. Martinez.
Cincinnati Reds — 71.5 wins
The Reds have won 64, 68, and 68 games in the last three seasons. Things should start to pick up a little bit in 2018.
Colorado Rockies — 82.5 wins
I don’t understand why there is so much skepticism about a team that boasts the best third baseman in baseball, won 87 games in 2017, and just added Greg Holland. Give me the over.
Kansas City Royals — 76.5 wins
Just reference the Rays prediction and insert “Royals” instead.
Detroit Tigers — 68.5 wins
67-70 wins seems about perfect for Detroit, which makes this a tough one to call. I’ll go with the under based on last season’s regression from Miguel Cabrera, who is attempting to prove he’s still got a little bit left in the tank.
Minnesota Twins — 82.5 wins
This is a club that drastically over-performed in the 2017 and will suffer from a lack of quality starting pitching and the improved talent across the American League, even in a weak division.
Chicago White S0x — 68.5 wins
I love the young prospects on the South Side, especially infielder Yoan Moncada and starting pitcher Michael Kopech. We saw the Cubs’ youth blossom a season too early in 2015, and we could see similar results for the White Sox this season.
New York Yankees — 93.5 wins
This number is slightly inflated based on the addition of Giancarlo Stanton, and rightfully so. But Stanton has only played more than 120 games in 4 of his 8 seasons, and it’s not outlandish to think Aaron Judge could suffer from some type of a sophomore slump. The Yankees are a near lock to make the playoffs, but it won’t be as smooth sailing as most seem to believe.