On Friday, February 13th the Atlantis Sportsbook became the first oddsmaker to post win totals for the 2015 MLB season. Although many books have been hanging future odds for months now, this offered our first glimpse into the projected final standings for the upcoming season. Two days later on Sunday the 15th, Westgate LV also posted their win totals where a few AL teams saw differences of as many as three wins. By Monday morning, BetOnline had posted their own win totals where they were higher on the Astros than the Nevada books, but lower on the Angels.
The table below displays the win totals for every team, their 2014 record and the difference between them. We will continue to update this table as more sportsbooks post their win totals.
|Team||Bovada (2/18)||BetOnline (2/16)||Westgate LV (2/15)||Atlantis (2/13)||FanGraphs (2/17)||2014 Record|
|Boston Red Sox||85.5||86||86||86||89||71-91|
|Chicago White Sox||81.5||80.5||81.5||82||78||73-89|
|Kansas City Royals||80.5||80.5||79.5||83||80||89-73|
|Los Angeles Angels||88.5||86.5||89.5||87.5||84||98-64|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||92.5||92||92.5||91||91||94-68|
|New York Mets||81.5||81.5||81.5||81||78||79-83|
|New York Yankees||81.5||81.5||81.5||80||83||84-78|
|San Diego Padres||84.5||84.5||85.5||84||80||77-85|
|San Francisco Giants||84.5||83.5||84.5||85||82||88-74|
|St. Louis Cardinals||88.5||87.5||88.5||87.5||86||90-72|
|Tampa Bay Rays||78.5||79.5||79.5||77.5||83||77-85|
|Toronto Blue Jays||82.5||83.5||82.5||83.5||84||83-79|
It was a very busy offseason in terms of player movement with Max Scherzer signing with the Nationals, Jon Lester joining a talented young Cubs roster, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval adding to an already potent Red Sox offense and the San Diego Padres making a wealth of moves including the addition of three major bats (Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers) to their outfield. This piqued our curiosity as to which teams oddsmakers believe have improved the most over the offseason.
Using Atlantis’ totals: It’s interesting to see that the three most improved teams all come from the American League with the Red Sox (+15), Rangers (+9.5) and White Sox (+9) leading the way. While bettors may be familiar with the major moves made by Boston, some may be curious about why oddsmakers are expecting significant growth from those other two rosters.
For the Rangers, the name of the game is health. Last season Texas saw key injuries to Prince Fielder, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Jurickson Profar derail their season. If the team is able to avoid another onslaught of injuries, they should easily be able to outperform last season’s 77-win campaign.
As for the White Sox, they were quietly one of the most active teams this offseason. Not only were they able to add RHP Jeff Samardjiza via trade, but they also signed RHP David Robertson, OF Melky Cabrera and 1B Adam LaRoche in free agency.
The Chicago Cubs also made a number of key moves this off-season, headlined by their acquisition of LHP Jon Lester. With arguably the best minor league system in all of baseball, it’s not surprising that the Cubbies are projected to win an additional nine games this season. However, comparing their win total with their future odds reveals an interesting tidbit.
The Cubs win total opened at 81.5 which ties them for the 16th highest total. Despite ranking as a middle of the pack team, Chicago actually has the third best odds (+1000) of winning the 2015 World Series at Bovada. This would indicate that although square bettors are bullish about the Cubs prospects this season, sharper oddsmakers don’t share that level of optimism.
On the flip side, teams who are expected to regress this season include the Los Angeles Angels (-11.5), Baltimore Orioles (-11.5), Kansas City Royals (-6) and the Philadelphia Phillies (-6).
On Tuesday (2/17) morning, we added the 2015 projections from FanGraphs in an attempt to find additional value in the win total market. Although most of the projections lined up with the previously posted sportsbook win totals, there were a few discrepancies that stood out.
For starters, the Los Angeles Angels “under” seems to be offering value to bettors. While FanGraphs projected the Angels for 84 wins, all three sportsbooks were offering a win total of at least 86.5 with the WestGate offering 89.5. This 5.5 win gap was among the largest of any team, and the reasoning is sound.
Oftentimes, big market teams (think Boston, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles) are shaded to account for the inevitable influx of public money. Much like our betting against the public philosophy, this often creates contrarian value for opportunistic bettors.
Teams who are expected to outperform expectations include the Minnesota Twins (75 wins at FanGraphs, 68.5 wins at the Atlantis sportsbook) and the Colorado Rockies (77 wins at FanGraphs, 68.5 wins at the Atlantis sportsbook).
Based on these FanGraph projections, the American League playoffs would include the Red Sox, Indians and Mariners with the Tigers, Blue Jays, Athletics and Angels competing for the Wild Card spots. In the National League, the Nationals, Cardinals and Dodgers project as the division winners with the NL Central producing two Wild Card teams with the Pirates and Cubs.
Which teams do you think are offering value? Will you be placing any bets on the 2015 MLB win totals? Please leave your comments in the section below.