MLB Picks for AL East: 'Over/Under' Season Total Wins Based on Off-Season Line Movement

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 7:59 PM GMT

Sharp MLB bettors will remember a time when the AL East was the unquestioned strongest division in baseball. Those days are gone, at least for now. So where's the value to be found in the futures market? 

MLB Team

2014

Season Record

Opening Odds

Post-2014 Season

Current Odds

2015 Total Wins

Current Odds

 2015 World Series Futures

Boston Red Sox

71-91

+2800

84.5

+1400

Toronto Blue Jays

83-79

+2500

82.5

+2000

Baltimore Orioles

96-66

+1400

81.5

+2000

New York Yankees

84-78

+2200

81.5

+2800

Tampa Bay Rays

77-85

+4000

80

+5000

*MLB Odds Courtesy of Bet365 

Let's breakdown the East teams by their order of 2014 season-ending records.

 

Baltimore Orioles (96-66)

MLB Odds Total Wins in 2015: 82.5, both options at -115
Manager Buck Showalter's club won the AL East last year for the first time since 1997 and also reached the ALCS for the first time since then. The Orioles, however, were swept by the Kansas City Royals. As you can see by the MLB odds for wins total projected at sportsbooks, everyone thinks the Orioles had a pretty lousy offseason. I tend to agree. Gone is outfielder/DH Nelson Cruz, who led the major leagues with 40 home runs and was third in the AL with 108 RBIs while on a very team-friendly one-year deal. The Orioles never were all that aggressive in trying to bring Cruz back so he's in Seattle now. Also gone are outfielder Nick Markakis (.276, 14 HRs, 50 RBIs) and one of the best left-handed relievers in MLB in Andrew Miller. He was acquired at the 2014 trade deadline from Boston. The only relatively big addition was trading for middling Pirates outfielder Travis Snider, and he should start in right field. Otherwise, the Birds are counting on big returns from injury for third baseman Manny Machado and catcher Matt Wieters, as well as a return to 2013 form by first baseman Chris Davis. He led the majors that year with 53 homers but hit just .196 last season and served a long drug suspension at the end of the year. Maybe GM Dan Duquette has something up his sleeve this spring in terms of a big move.

MLB Picks: I completely agree this club isn't as good as last as currently constructed, but a 14-win drop? That's too many. Go 'over' that total for a safe MLB pick.

 

NY Yankees (84-78)

MLB Odds Total Wins in 2015: 81.5, both options at -115
The Bombers missed the playoffs for the second straight season for the first time since 1992-93 (not counting strike-shortened '94 season). Really no surprise that happened because the  Yankees pitching staff was devastated by injuries and the team had two of the worst every-day players in the majors in shortstop Derek Jeter and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. Both may be Hall of Famers -- Jeter certainly is -- but they shouldn't have been playing that much. The Yankees really had no choice when it came to Jeter. Both are gone now as is excellent closer David Robertson. New York traded for Arizona shortstop Didi Gregorius to replace Jeter and re-signed third baseman Chase Headley, a midseason acquisition. There's also another guy named Alex Rodriguez who plans to play this season off suspension. The Yanks don't really have a spot for him, however. A-Rod, who publicly apologized on Tuesday, will get some at-bats at DH if he's even on the team when it breaks camp. Essentially, New York is counting on the health of hitters like Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira and to starting pitchers CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda.

MLB Picks: The Yankees could be good, but it's asking an awful lot of some of those veterans to stay on the field. Still, the team hasn't finished with less than 82 wins since 1995. Go 'over.'

This handicapper has analyzed the AL Central Futures Odds, as well.

Toronto Blue Jays (83-79)

MLB Odds Total Wins in 2015: 82.5, with 'over' a -125 favorite
The Jays now have the longest playoff drought in baseball, last making it in 1993 when they repeated as the World Series champions. Toronto was pretty active this offseason. It traded for All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson from Oakland and signed free-agent Russell Martin (from Pittsburgh), one of the best catchers in the game. The main offensive losses were outfielders Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus and first baseman Adam Lind. That's a net gain for sure. This might be the best lineup in the American League with Donaldson and Martin added to Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Reyes. It's all about the pitching staff, which added former Brewer Marco Estrada in a trade for Lind.

MLB Picks: Will the Jays be aggressive in adding an arm if need be? I think they will to finally reach the postseason. Go 'over.'

 

Tampa Bay Rays (77-85)

MLB Odds Total Wins in 2015: 78.5, with both at -115
It's a new era in Tampa Bay as the team said goodbye to the best pitcher in franchise history, David Price, at least year's deadline. This offseason, highly respected GM Andrew Friedman left for the Dodgers' millions and Manager Joe Maddon did the same, heading for the North Side of Chicago. Kevin Cash replaces Maddon in his first managerial gig at any level. The Rays also traded three of their best position players in infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist, outfielder and 2013 AL Rookie of the Year Wil Myers and shortstop Yunel Escobar. The rotation actually looks like a strength even with Price gone, especially once Matt Moore returns from elbow surgery around midseason. The offense is a huge question.

MLB Picks: Someone has to finish last in the division. It will be the Rays. Go 'under.'

 

Boston Red Sox (71-91)

MLB Odds Total Wins in 2015: 85.5, with both at -115 on MLB odds
The Red Sox went from the worst team in the AL East in 2012 to first place and a World Series title in 2013. Can they follow that up with another worst-to-first finish in 2015? It's very possible as this division is up for grabs. The Sox were very, very aggressive this offseason, signing the two top hitting free agents in Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval and Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who will play left field in Boston. Boston couldn't lure back ace pitcher Jon Lester, so the Sox added quantity if not quality in Wade Miley, Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson. Porcello cost the most as the Sox traded outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to Detroit for him. But Boston has plenty of outfielders to spare and still does. Rumors persist that Boston continues to chase Phillies ace Cole Hamels in a deal. I believe that happens by the July 31 deadline.

MLB Picks: This is your AL East favorite at +225 on MLB odds. I'm not ready to say that yet -- I lean Toronto for now -- but getting Hamels would make Boston a  huge division favorite. Go 'over' the wins.