The 2017 MLB team win totals are out, and the Cubs are a good bet to stay under 95.5 victories. Why? Read up on it here.
Betting the UNDER in MLB team win totals tends to offer futures bettors the most bang for their buck. Every season, sports book totals sum to nearly 10 more wins than what are possible league-wide. With this in mind, a simple strategy to build from is to fade teams expected to win 90 games or more that reached this plateau the previous regular season.
For decades, the gap between top and bottom clubs have been shrinking in MLB—and in most professional sports for that matter. Rules, data, analytics, talent, etc., make the playing field much more level. If a team reaches 90 victories in the modern game, it was probably with a decent amount of luck, and bettors can expect such teams to regress, or not be as fortunate the following year. Below is a list of teams posting 90 wins or more over the last six seasons. Those in bold are clubs that followed it up with another 90-win year:
2015: Blue Jays, Royals, Mets, Cardinals, Pirates, Cubs, Dodgers
2014: Orioles, Tigers, Angels, Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers
2013: Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, Indians, A's, Braves, Cardinals, Pirates, Reds, Dodgers
2012: Yankees, Orioles, A's, Rangers, Nationals, Braves, Reds, Giants
2011: Yankees, Rays, Tigers, Rangers, Phillies, Brewers, Cardinals, Diamondbacks
2010: Rays, Yankees, Twins, Rangers, Phillies, Braves, Reds, Giants
As you can see, only 36 percent (17 of 47) of clubs duplicated the 90-win achievement over the last few years. Use this benchmark as a foundation when searching for futures value with the expectation most may go backward in the upcoming season. In 2016, teams reaching 90 victories or more included the Red Sox (93), Indians (94), Rangers (95), Nationals (95), Cubs (103), and Dodgers (91).
Best UNDER Bet - Cubs 95½
This is the highest preseason win total since the 2011 Phillies 96.5 offering, and it's a bit steep. The 2016 World Series champions were one of 16 teams over the last 15 years with an average margin of victory of a run or more in the regular season. The Cubs beat opponents by 1.6 runs per game en route to an MLB-best 103 wins. Can bettors expect another dominant season in 2017? Yes, but maybe not as commanding. Since 2003, only the 2005 Cardinals posted more than 95 wins the following season after bettering foes by a run or more per game.
The team has all the ingredients for another October run, and the Cubs are most likely to buck the above-mentioned trend and repeat as 90-game winners. Nevertheless, the benchmark is set too high. Baseball Prospectus projects a 91-win season, and recent history suggests Chicago will go no higher than 95 wins. The hook here is vital.