MLB Betting Primer 2018: Best and Worst Bets Last Season
Every year there are teams in Major League Baseball that make their backers buckets full of money. And there are those that put bettors' money in a pile and light it on fire. Obviously, the more of the former and the fewer of the latter you can consistently bet on the better off you are going to be. While there is still time between now and the start of the regular season, it's a good time to look back at last year to see which teams were a great bet on the moneyline, which teams really weren't, and what we might expect from them this year.
Milwaukee: The team had a surprising and impressive season, and no one expected it since they are the Brewers, so they delivered some nice value. The offense is pretty easy to like, but the depth in the rotation is a question and they are going to have to get lucky for things to work out there. They should be a wild-card contender, but I doubt the Cubs will lose too much sleep looking in their rearview mirror in the division. The good news for bettors, and for their chances of again delivering nice profits, is that they are still in Milwaukee, and they haven't done enough to make people really care about them. Competent teams below the national radar are a bettor's dream.
Arizona: I'd like this team more if they had found a way to keep J.D. Martinez around. The pitching should be strong, though - as long as Zack Greinke doesn't decline alarmingly. And the team should continue to play tough and hungry. They will always be overshadowed in their division by the Dodgers, and the Giants will be tough if San Francisco gets off to a decent start. The chances for solid betting returns on this team again this year feel high. They may not be as profitable as they were, but they should be poised to be profitable again.
Colorado: I just have not bought into these Rockies. They have some great bats, but they struggle to hit away from home, and the pitching really felt like it overachieved last year. It was fun to watch them last year in the regular season, but the success felt more fleeting than sustained. I am not feeling a Rocky Mountain high right now.
Houston: Houston is a very good team that is going to have a very good season. That is what everyone expects, and it doesn't feel like a particularly risky opinion. But because everyone expects them to be great, and because everyone saw how deep and talented they are in the playoffs last year, and because they return basically the same stellar lineup, it is going to be very tough to find value betting on this team from day to day, and they are going to have to be truly amazing to deliver profits. The Astros have entered the realm of being a public team - at least for now.
Toronto: The Blue Jays had just an awful year last year. A rotation that should have been very strong was hit hard by injuries and bad luck, and the revolving door of replacement starters were an anchor on the team. Some bats that needed to shine faltered, too - I'm looking at you, Jose Bautista. This isn't going to be a great team in all likelihood, but they have done some interesting tweaking. If they can get better pitching - they have the arms but need some luck - then they should be a solidly better team than last year. Combine that with far lower expectations than they had entering last season after two playoff appearances in a row, and you have all the ingredients for a much better betting performance.
New York Mets: When your team is built very heavily on the foundation of strong pitching from young studs, and all of those young studs have their arms fall off at the same time, the season is going to go poorly. They should be better this year if they get pitching. But a team that has seen so many issues with young pitchers just might not be very good at managing those arms, so getting too enthusiastic in trusting them might not be a great idea.
Detroit: What a depressing time to be a sports fan in Detroit. The Red Wings, long the model of consistency and excellence in the NHL, are a mess. The Lions are still, and will always be, the Lions. The Pistons made a big splash at the trade deadline that is amounting to little. And the Tigers are in the midst of one of those soul-sucking, directionless rebuilds that could go on forever. This is not the Houston model - short-term pain for a quick return to glory. This team is really bad, and fans and bettors should get used to it.
San Francisco: I'm not convinced that becoming a retirement home for legendary cornerstones of other franchises is a long-term solution to anything, but the team has improved at least in the short term this offseason. And after horrible luck with pitching last year they should reasonably be better. It remains to be seen if the Giants can be contenders, but they should be better than they were during last year's debacle. They should not be on this end of this list again this season.
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