t’s a tradition unlike any other. No, it’s not Jim Nantz creepily giving his tie to a player after the national championship game. It’s time to check out the Bovada over/unders for wins and figure out which side to get on.
Arizona D’bags 85.5
The D’bags rode a deep lineup, a weirdly effective (yet statistically awful) season from Fernando Rodney and an insane two months of JD Martinez homers to 93 wins last year. They also beat the Giants 74 times (unofficially). They seem a fair bet to regress. Yet, I’m staying OVER with them.
Atlanta Barves 74.5
The Barves are still rebuilding, and basically spent the offseason helping the Dodgers launder luxury tax money by trading Matt Kemp for a pile of terrible contracts (and Charlie Culberson.) Ronald Acuna looks like he’s going to be really good, and Ozzie Albies is something. But this team blows. If you show up more than a half hour before the game there’s like a 40% chance they’ll ask you to pitch for them. UNDER.
Baltimore Orioles 73
Seventy-three? And this total is AFTER they signed Alex Cobb? This whole thing’s a mess. They moved Manny Machado to short in an effort to convince him to re-sign him after the season (he won’t.) That move displaced Tim Beckham who played inexplicably well for them late last year (.306/.348/.523), not like he’ll do that again. Seventy-three seems low, but they were markedly better last year and only won 75. UNDER
Boston Red Sox 91.5
The Yankees and their pair of mongoloid sluggers are getting all the headlines, but the Red Sox won the division again last year, and they added JD Martinez and they still have Chris Sale. To hear owner John Henry tell it, the reason they struggled to hit homers last year is because their old hitting coach (and new Cubs’ hitting coach) Chili Davis didn’t tell the players to hit them. David Price is going to keep being weird, and Dustin Pedroia might literally start losing body parts on the field, but this a team with mid 90s win talent. So OVER, even though John Henry’s a dick.
Chicago Cubs 94.5
They played all last season with the biggest championship hangover (and most deserved) ever. They basically fucked around for the first 90 games and still were able to turn it on, win 92 games and another division title. This year they have the look of a team that plans to fuck shit up from day one. They have a balls-out rotation, what appears to be an improved bullpen, the best defense in the league and an offense that scored the most runs in the league of any team that doesn’t play home games on the moon. Having to get to 95 wins to go over is a tall order for most teams. Not this one. They’ll do it with a week to spare. OVER.
Chicago White Sox 68
On paper, their rebuild is going really well. Unlike the Cubs and Astros they had proven big league talent to trade to kickstart it and it looks like they maximized that. But the thing about rebuilds is that most of them don’t end up in championships. The fact that the Cubs and Astros both did it makes it seem easier than it really is. Somebody’s going to do it all right and it’s not going to work. Regardless, they’re not even trying to be good this year, and they’ll accomplish that. It seems like winning 70 games shouldn’t be that hard. But it will be. UNDER.
Cincinnati Reds 73.5
In order to have an offense as potent as theirs is and still be horrible means you have to really have lousy pitching. Last year they ranked last in the National league in ERA, runs, earned runs, and home runs allowed. For Christ’s sake. Are we sure they aren’t tanking? Enough already. UNDER.
Cleveland Indians 94.5
They bounced back from one of the most gut-wrenching World Series losses of all time when they (I’m not sure if you’ve heard this) blew a 3-1 lead to the Cubs, even though games six and seven were in their own ballpark. But they won 102 games last year, and even rolled off a ridiculous 22 game winning streak late in the year. Then they shit the bed in the playoffs to a dead in the water Yankees team. They think they’re getting Michael Brantley back…again. They let Carlos Santana head off to lay in the grass while all of his injuries heal in Philadelphia and they brought Mike Napoli back for some reason. Only one other team in their division is trying to win, and that’s the Twins, so even without ludicrous winning streak, I don’t see them losing seven more games. OVER.
Colorado Rockies 82
The Rockies rode a great first half pitching performance by several of their young starters to a 52-39 record. But they were a sub-.500 team after the break when those young pitchers wore out. They did add Wade Davis to their bullpen, though as great as he’s been, he’s clearly starting to slow down. They also lost Tyler Chatwood, which probably won’t hurt them too much since he was ill-suited to their park. I’m begrudgingly going OVER because there are a lot of shitty teams in the National League and that should prevent a team like the Rockies from going .500.
Detroit Tigers 68.5
Despite the presence of the great Jeimer Candelario and Miguel Cabrera the Tigers are terrible. Jordan Zimmermann’s their opening day starter. On purpose. UNDER.
Houston Astros 96.5
So they get a full season of Justin Verlander and they traded for Gerrit Cole, and their young hitters should keep getting better and…and…and. They can talk shit about how they “aren’t the Cubs” and won’t struggle in their title defense. But they will. Everybody does. UNDER.
Kansas City Royals 71.5
Every time the Cubs release somebody the Royals snap them up. They just added Justin Grimm to their former Cub collection of Jorge Soler, Jon Jay and Jason Hammel. This would be a great strategy if the Cubs planned on releasing Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. They lost Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain and should have lost Mike Moustakas but the Cardinals were too busy feeding Jedd Gyorko to notice they could have upgraded that spot for cheap. I think the Royals are bad, but I think they can win 72 games, and that’s all it takes. OVER.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 84.5
People seem shocked that 23-year-old Shohei Ohtani struggled in spring training. The guy is trying to be a big league caliber designated hitter and starting pitcher, of course he’s going to struggle. The Angels did more than just add Ohtani, though. They kept BJ Upton1 after trading for him late last year and they traded for Ian Kinsler and signed Zack Cozart. Oh, and they still have some guy named Mike Trout to go with fellow future Hall of Famers Albert Pujols and Luis Valbuena. They won 80 games last year, can they win five more? Sure. OVER.
Los Angeles Dodgers 96.5
The Dodgers were the best team in baseball from the first day of the season until the World Series, and then, they tumbled down your pant leg like a wet fart. The bullpen went to hell and the offense sputtered and suddenly Dave Roberts didn’t seem like a genius anymore. They spent the offseason clearing out dead payroll weight to get under the luxury tax threshold. But they can do that because they have guys like Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger who figure to get better year after year, and they have Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen. You get the feeling all of this is just prologue to a third-straight Cubs-Dodgers NLCS, anyway. OVER.
Miami Marlins 64.5
I don’t know why you would buy a baseball team if you can’t afford to actually run it. Well, at least they have Starlin. UNDER.
Milwaukee Brewers 84.5
Everything went right for the Brewers for almost all of 2017. Jimmy Nelson’s belly flop into first base at Wrigley ended his season, but as well as Milwaukee played last year it was inevitable that the Cubs were going to catch them before the season ended. They are a pretty good team, but I don’t see a high ceiling for them. Their pitching is due a regression, and if they really intend to play Captain Valtrex at first base for stretches this year it’s going to make a bad defense even worse. They inexplicably stood and watched as Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb signed below market value deals. Why wouldn’t they have signed one of them? UNDER.
Minnesota Twins 82.5
Since the start of spring training, the Twins have added some pretty good players including Lynn and Logan Morrison and Jake Odorizzi. They won 85 games last year, though that seems like a fluke now. But they’re better than last year and there are a lot of cheap wins to be had in the AL Central this year. OVER.
New York Mets 81
We’re really going to do this again, huh? Another season of waiting for Matt Harvey to suddenly be good again, and for Zach Wheeler to actually be healthy enough to pitch. Noah Syndergaard is indisputably good and Jacob deGrom is when healthy, but he’s going to finish up spring training pitching in minor league games. That’s not a great sign. Plus, they for some reason decided to bring Jay Bruce back. Come on, you just got rid of him, why go back to that? Somebody other than the Nationals is going to finish .500 or better in the NL East. Given all of the question marks with the Mets, that might just have to be the Phillies. UNDER.
New York Yankees 94.5
I think they’re good. I think they’re going to go to the playoffs. I also think that they changed managers for no good reason and that the new guy, Aaron Boone, is pretty dumb. You or I could manage this bunch to a pretty good record, but I don’t think they’re getting to 95 wins this year. So UNDER.
Oakland A’s 74.5
Who is even on this team? Do we care? Do the dugouts still back up with sewage? Actually, I really don’t want to know. UNDER.
Philadelphia Phillies 75.5
I was glad to see Jake Arrieta sign there because it wasn’t St. Louis or Milwaukee. The Phillies have some interesting talent, but still not enough of it. Jake and Aaron Nola should make a pretty solid top of the rotation, and maybe Rhys Hopkins will hit a homer every three at bats like last year. Or, maybe not. I do think they’re a .500 team, even if that means they’ll finish 12 games out of first, minimum. OVER.
Pissburgh Pirates 73
Poor Clin Turtle. Everybody’s favorite bright orange manager is faced with a full-blown rebuild, which means it’s official that the Pirates who were so promising from 2013 to 2015 are over and never won a damned thing. But hey, he’s still got Sean Rodriguez around in case a Gatorade cooler needs a smack. UNDER.
San Diego Padres 69.5
I don’t get the Eric Hosmer signing. It’s bad enough to give a long-term contract to a non-power hitting first baseman, but when it’s EIGHT years and your team is at least three years away from even sniffing contention it just does’t make any sense. For Hosmer it makes sense because it’s a shitload of money. But if Hosmer’s offense was depressed by playing all those home games at Kaufman Stadium, it’s going to be downright suicidal at Petco Park. But the reason the Padres will go UNDER is that Clayton Richard might be their best starter. Oof.
San Francisco Giants 81.5
They made a big splash by going out this offseason and bringing in Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. That’s great. It would be even better if this was 2010 (the last time Longoria actually made a playoff team). But it’s not 2010, is it? Having Madison Bumgarner healthy all year long will help them rebound from a terrible season last year, but they might be without Jeff Samardzija. Yes, that’s actually bad. UNDER.
Seattke Mariners 81.5
I like this team for some unknown reason. I actually like the idea of them playing Dee Brown in center, and even though he won’t play a lot, I like them bringing back Ichiro. Somebody’s got to finish third in the AL West, and it looks like a division that can support three over .500 teams. So what the hell? OVER.
St. Louis Cardinals 85.5
They are counting on Adam Wainwright being good again. They’ve been talking up how great he’s been this spring. Well sure, not just anybody can give up 15 walks and hits in ten spring training innings. They will get Anthony Reyes back from Tommy John Disease, and they have yet to decide if he’ll be in the rotation or the bullpen. Common sense says that since his innings will be limited he should be in the bullpen. But Mike Matheny and common sense aren’t often in the same room. Getting Marcel Ozuna was a nice move, but their outfield alignment makes no sense. They have moved Dexter Fowler from center, where he’s solid–but not much more than that–defensively, to right, a more demanding spot. It makes zero sense Jed Gyorko’s still fat. Matt Carpenter’s shoulder is fucked up and he can’t play anywhere but first, and that’s his least valuable position. Tommy Pham’s played one full season in the big leagues, and it was a good one, but he’s mad that the Cardinals didn’t offer him a big contract. The dude is THIRTY. He’s not getting one. UNDER.
Tampa Bay Rays 77.5
If they’re really rebuilding, why wouldn’t they trade Chris Archer and get it over with? But they didn’t, and so at least to start the season he’s stuck there. They’re going to be bad. UNDER.
Texas Rangers 77.5
This is a weird team. They have been a legit contender for a long time, and they still have a lot of the guys who made them good, like Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo and young guys like Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Roughned Odor, but they lack pitching and they didn’t re-sign Yu Darvish, even when his salary fell into their price range. The improved Angels will steal wins form somebody. It might as well be the Rangers.
Toronto Blue Jays 81
They only won 76 games last year, they let Jose Bautista go and Vegas upped their win total by five. Kind of tells you what Vegas thinks of Jose Bautista. You’ll be shocked to know that Troy Tulowitzki is already hurt. I would not go OVER with this bunch. Not even with your money.
Washington Nationals 92.5
Dusty Baker coaxed 97 wins out of this team last year and with him gone, I’d be tempted to give them ten more wins just for that. The new manager, Dave Martinez, gets a lot of credit for being Joe Maddon’s bench coach for a long time. But, Joe doesn’t seem like the kind of manager who is getting much guidance from his bench coach, and in the few chances Martinez got to manage in games when Joe got tossed he was less than impressive. Still, he’s got a really good team, and a really awful division. This one, even with a rookie manager, really seems like a pretty easy OVER.