We share MLB betting advice for Season Win Totals, focusing on the Philadelphia Phillies, who in 2011 had the best record but since that time have plummeted to the basement.
Gone, Baby Gone
The Phillies said adieu to some old friends last year and in the offseason but no one more important to the franchise than Jimmy Rollins. The venerable shortstop toiled with the Phillies for 15 years and set a franchise record in hits while taking a backseat only to Mike Schmidt in games played. Rollins still has some gas left in the tank at the age of 36 but will be plying his trade in Dodger blue after Philly dealt him away to LA for a pair of pitching prospects. His absence will be felt throughout the organization but let's face facts, the 2015 Jimmy Rollins may be a fine veteran complement to a club constructed to win in the immediate future like the Dodgers but not a viable member of a team in the early stages of rebuilding.
Marlon Byrd was another veteran due a hefty paycheck who was shipped out of town for a pitching prospect in Ben Lively who comes at a much cheaper cost and could pay dividends down the road. In addition, Philadelphia watched two members of its starting rotation, A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick, sign with National League rivals Pittsburgh and Colorado respectively.
Philadelphia's payroll will be down from last year but they still carry the weight of players whose prime has past them by but their contracts continue to pay them as though they were in the spring of their youth. Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon are All-Star names from a few years ago but today they are simply middle-aged guys with enormous salaries.
We could add Cole Hamels to the list of big money contracts but the 31-year-old native of San Diego still has plenty of quality innings left in his superb arm. As a matter of fact, his contract is actually fairly friendly when compared to the stratospheric amount handed to a strikingly similar pitcher in Jon Lester by the Cubs in the offseason. Hamels will be the bait used to fetch the foundation of the what should be the Phillies future.
The total wins set by the sportsbooks like Bovada as of this writing hover at around 68 ½ in MLB odds and we feel this is a total that will get the naysayers to bite but a number that is susceptible to getting devoured by the sharps. While we understand the Phillies will not be catapulting from their 73 wins recorded the last two consecutive years into the postseason conversation we can be fairly certain that their ace Cole Hamels will be in a Phillies uniform until the end of July where Philadelphia can fetch a premium from a playoff contender looking to get over the hump at the trade deadline. Hamels' arm will win games all by itself while players like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard coupled with a solid bullpen can potentially do enough damage to keep the Phillies from completely tanking.
Let us also not forget that the National League is rife with bottom feeders that the Phils will undoubtedly win more than their fair share when pitted against the dregs such as the Diamondbacks (64 wins in '14), Rockies (66 wins in '14), Cubs (73 wins in '14), Reds (76 wins in '14), Padres (77 wins in '14) and Marlins (77 wins in '14).
The bottom line is that the Phillies will not be good next year but the bar has been set so low by the MLB oddsmakers that going 'over' 68 ½ wins in your MLB picks may not be such a bad idea. My advice is to look on the bright side in Philly and cash a ticket at the end of the season when the Phillies surprise and notch 74 wins on the season.