Rebuilding Teams Featured in Last Look at 2018 Win Totals

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 11:53 AM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2018 11:53 AM UTC

MLB bettors might be inclined to bet on the more well-known teams regarding 2018 win futures. But some of last season's basement dwellers carry value in 'over/under' total wagers.

The Good

The Reds’ upside will carry them past the 73.5 win total posted at Bovada. They failed to achieve this number last season because of unlucky injuries to their pitchers, which caused them to have the worst team ERA. Their rotation is filled with no-names whom bettors should actually get to know. Luis Castillo enjoyed an excellent rookie season, achieving a 3.12 ERA in 15 starts. Brandon Finnegan had a breakout second half in 2016 with a 2.93 ERA by improving his changeup and sinker. He had some health problems last year and is recovering from a different minor injury. Anthony DeSclafani is another pitcher primed to return to 2016-level solidity. Jared Hughes, with an ERA of 3.03 or lower in each of the past four seasons, is a solid addition to the bullpen. The Reds’ lineup features MVP candidate Joey Votto.

Philadelphia, listed at 75.5 wins at Bovada, is another team on the rise. Young talent Maikel Franco seems primed to return to his 2015 form, where he produced a .280 BA and .497 slugging. This is reportedly his last chance to succeed at third base in Philadelphia, with trade rumors and other pressures mounting. He’s reportedly had a strong offseason, benefiting from the leadership of veterans. One such veteran is former Indian Carlos Santana, who adds talent and depth to Philly’s lineup. Santana has hit between 19 and 34 home runs in each of the past five seasons. Rhys Hoskins is a rising talent who already showed excellent plate discipline as a rookie but was overshadowed by NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger. Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta was Philly’s biggest signing. He suffered a velocity drop last season with the Cubs but figured things out, boasting a 2.13 ERA in the second half. In the bullpen, Pat Neshek returns and is primed for another season with a sub-2 ERA.

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The Bad

The Mets, with a win total of 81 at Bovada, are not worth bettors’ time of day. Yes, they did invest in some talent in their lineup and another proven name to bolster their bullpen, but their main problem is starting pitching. Their rotation is filled with injury question marks. Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler were disasters last season, each producing an ERA over 5. Ace Noah Syndergaard is coming off a year where he only pitched in seven games. The Mets’ lineup is too reliant on declining veterans such as Todd Frazier, who posted a .213 BA last season and is now on his third team in the last year, and Adrian Gonzalez, who posted a career-low .355 slugging last season. Without sufficient pop in the lineup or reliability in starting pitching, the strong bullpen won’t have too many leads to protect.

The Ugly

The White Sox, with an over/under of 68 wins at Bovada, are one rebuilding team that bettors should stay away from. Their problems begin with pitching. Remember last year how much fun it was to fade pitcher Jered Weaver every single start until he "finally“ was placed on the DL. This year’s candidate to be the next Weaver is James Shields, who leads the White Sox rotation. Shields, now 36, is nearing the end of his career and has produced an ERA over 5 in each of the last two seasons. The White Sox are largely filled with no-names with a negligible track record of MLB success. There are several top prospects among their youth, such as Yoan Moncada, and maybe it blossoms as the season progresses, but why take a chance by wagering now on a quantity of largely unknown variables?

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