As has been the case for the last decade, the Atlantis Resort and Casino in Reno has again been the first sportsbook to post season win totals for baseball. As spring training draws near and football has ended, the anticipation of the baseball season is slowly building. It seems really early to be looking at win totals, but then it's never too early to have some fun breaking down some numbers in the search for value, is it? Here's a look at the win totals, with notes on the ones that stand out one way or the other:
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Arizona (84.5): They won 79 games last year and then had a very aggressive and positive offseason capped with grabbing the biggest pitching prize on the market in Zack Greinke. I like what they're building, and like the "over".
Atlanta (65): They won 67 last year and got worse since. "Under".
Baltimore (80.5): They won exactly half of their games last year. Perfectly mediocre. I see more of the same. Tough line as a result, so I pass.
Boston (85.5): I'm not a believer. David Price is a nice addition, but the roster is still overpaid and entitled. I don't trust their heart. I lean under.
Chicago Cubs (89): Over. Simple as that. Like the pitching. Love the young core. They overpaid for Jason Heyward, but he'll still help. They won 97 last year and are at least as good this year. Value here for now.
Chicago White Sox (80.5): Man, the AL Central is just so dull aside from the Royals. The Sox won 76 last year, and made tweaks to the roster, but not ones that get the pulse racing. They are just so blah. Under.
Cincinnati (71): It wasn't long ago that this was trying to be an elite team. Now they are barely treading water. They had 64 wins last year. An underwhelming offseason. A rotation packed with questions. Easy under.
Cleveland (84): I don't have complete faith in this rotation, and that is the highlight of this team. This total is three wins higher than they had last year. I don't see where they come from. Under.
Colorado (68.5): Honestly, if they aren't even going to try to field a good team then why don't they just fold? Under.
Detroit (85): I do not like this team. I haven't in a long time. I'm not convinced that Jordan Zimmermann and Mark Lowe can be the driving forces for 12 more wins, so I'll take the under.
Houston (85.5): Last year's run was remarkable, and a whole lot of fun to watch. The team is moving in the right direction. I just can't help but feel like they overachieved a little, or that they were ahead of schedule, so I can't bank on them matching their win total from last year. Under.
Kansas City (87): Defending champions. Mostly strong offseason save for the loss of Cueto - though they get credit for not overpaying him. They won 95 last year. I see a bit of room in the over here.
L.A. Angels (82.5): They earned 85 wins last year. Not a lot of heart added to the roster. Mike Trout is superhuman, but don't trust him to do it alone. No value, but I lean under.
L.A. Dodgers (87): The manager change was much needed, But I am not convinced that hey upgraded - not given the ridiculous egos in the clubhouse. They also lost one of the two best pitchers in the National League. I am not optimistic, and lean under.
Miami (80.5): There is young talent here and all, but I don't see Don Mattingly as a miracle worker - or even a very good manager. They need to find 10 more wins to go over. I don't see it.
Milwaukee (71.5): This is a team in the midst of a serious rebuild. They are reloading the farm system, and that takes time to move up to the majors. Just enjoy the sausage races - and bet the under.
Minnesota (77.5): Outside of the Royals, the AL Central exists in this bland middle space where they could win between 72 and 84 games and no one would be surprised - or really care. I'll pass on this one.
New York Mets (88): I'll admit I was surprised by the Mets last year. Now we need to decide if they were just plucky and lucky or if they are building to something. I am leaning towards the latter, but with great hesitation. A very nervous over.
New York Yankees (85): I like the Chapman addition, but there is some real age on this team, and I don't see chemistry being any more certain than it has been recently. The division is manageable, though, and they did win 87 last year. If Tanaka and Sabathia can find their games then they will go over. I don't love it, but I lean that way.
Oakland (75.5): I guess you could argue that they got a little better this offseason. They didn't get good, though, and they have spent too long dismantling earlier progress, so it's hard to even care about this team right now. I would lean to the under, but I am more inclined to pass.
Philadelphia (66.5): This team was once really, really good. It wasn't even that long ago. Last year they were the worst team in the majors. They could very easily be again this year. I don't know if there is any value in the under, but I sure can't justify the over.
Pittsburgh (87): They won 98 games last season. They didn't dominate the offseason, but there is still some meat on the bone at this price. Over.
San Diego (74): They won 74 games last year. This total would suggest they haven't changed much. What's on paper backs that up. No value here. Pass.
San Francisco (90): They won 84 games last year and weren't happy about it. So they shelled out big for Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. They overpaid for both, but it significantly upgrades the rotation nonetheless. This is the highest total on the board, but I still think the only play is the over.
Seattle (83): I like a lot about this team and feel like they should be able to succeed. Of course, that has been the case for much of the last decade, and that has got me nowhere. I'll take the over, but based on my track record with this team I wouldn't recommend you do the same.
St. Louis (87.5): The Cardinals showed why they are so consistently excellent this winter by not overpaying for Jason Heyward when most teams would have. It leaves a hole in centerfield, but Hayward makes much more than he is going to produce over the long term. The team might not be quite as good as last year, but they won 100 games then, so they can take a step back and still go over this total.
Tampa Bay (78): This team used to be so good at reloading. Now they have lost that mojo. This number is about right - and that must be depressing for everyone who cares about this team.
Texas (86): They won 88 last year. Now they get a whole year of Cole Hamels and hopefully a whole year of Yu Darvish, too. This is an aggressive number, but I sure wouldn't bet the under.
Toronto (87): As a Canadian I'm as much a fan of this team as any - they are the only one on the TV every day here, for one thing. As such, I couldn't me more frustrated by the winter they had. They threw all momentum away by moronic front office shuffles, letting their rotation degrade, nickel and diming the reigning MVP, and generally underwhelming. It pains me, and they will still score lots, but I have to lean to the under - especially because the Red Sox should be much improved in the division.
Washington (87): I'll again be optimistic about this team and go over. I'll again, I'm sure, be frustrated when they fall flat.
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