Major League Baseball is about to begin, and with interleague play the way it is just about everyone from the AL East should go in our first batch of MLB picks.
Finally, we’re back to where it all began. Baseball is the oldest of the four major pro sports in North America, and people have been betting on baseball since the get-go. But things got really interesting when Moneyball came out in 2003. Michael Lewis showed the world how Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics crunched the numbers and took advantage of a baseball market that was rooted in tradition. Sharp bettors have done the same with the MLB odds ever since.
The baseball teams themselves may have finally joined the analytics parade – some more willingly than others – but fortunately for us, the larger betting market still has plenty of holes in it. With the regular season getting underway Thursday, this year’s win totals have hit the odds board; when we compare the totals to the projected stat-nerd results for 2018 at FanGraphs, we find more than one team that looks ripe for our MLB picks.
OVER: Toronto Blue Jays
After succumbing to injuries and falling to 76-86 (minus-17.75 betting units) last year, the Blue Jays have a total of 81 wins on the board at Bovada, with the OVER priced at –125. However, FanGraphs projects Toronto to win 86 games in 2018. The Jays have added some talent with LF Randal Grichuk (.758 OPS with St. Louis) and 2B Yangervis Solarte (.731 OPS with San Diego), and from a betting perspective they benefit from playing north of the border, while the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox bogart all the AL East headlines below the 49th Parallel.
Toronto also gets to face NL East teams during interleague play, and the NL East is weak sauce outside of Washington. Actually, you could make a case for taking the OVER with all five AL East teams, although there’s only slim value with the ever-popular Yankees and Red Sox. If Toronto doesn’t float your boat, consider the Baltimore Orioles (75-87, minus-12.71 units), who are projected to go 78-84 despite a win total of 73.
UNDER: Chicago White Sox
On the other side of the coin, you have the White Sox (67-95, plus-1.25 units), who are projected to take a step backwards this year at 66-96. That’s only two games below their posted total, but the UNDER on Chicago is priced at +195. Delicious. The Pale Hose have to face the deep NL Central in interleague play, and they are in total teardown mode under GM Rick Hahn. World Series Champions in 2024, perhaps? You heard it here first.Free MLB Picks: Blue Jays Over 81, White Sox Under 68Best Lines Offered: Bovada