Opening Day 2018 for Major League Baseball is Thursday. For us crazy people who enjoy the day-to-day grind of doing battle against the sportsbooks, this is something we look forward to annually.
For those unfamiliar, I have been covering the Cactus League live in Arizona for SBR for several years. Yet being a professional writer and handicapper, I have to be up on all 30 teams. Here are key betting tips to consider going into the season when studying the MLB odds.Best Win Totals Plays
- Texas UNDER 76 wins
- San Francisco UNDER 83 (this was before Bumgarner's injury)
- Colorado OVER 81
- Cleveland OVER 94
- Milwaukee OVER 83.5
The Rangers' starting pitchers have experience, but they are all "play against" and even Cole Hamels is fading. The Giants' staff behind Madison Bumgarner was a going to be a 50-50 bet most nights, and like last year they will not be able to step up in his absence. Plus, the San Francisco bullpen is far from stable. Some making MLB picks are down on the Rockies, but I'm not. The offense will score, the young pitchers are one year wiser and ace Jon Gray figures to make 30+ starts. Manager Bud Black knows how to manage a staff and Colorado remains a Wild Card contender. The Indians are playing in a crummy division and while this is not exactly the same club as last year, are they going to be nine games worse than 2017? Milwaukee was in first place in the NL Central the majority of last season. The Brewers are a good young club, and if they are in contention again this season ownership has proven it will fill a need.
This Year's Twins or D-Backs Team
The New York Mets have weaknesses, but every team that surprises did coming into the season. The Metropolitans have the pitching and enough bats to reach 87 or 88 wins if everything jells.
This Year's Giants Team
Because there were so many bad teams last year, it is hard to find a good club that falls 75 under wins. But one team that could crater is Kansas City. The Royals were 80-82 last year, yet had a run differential of -89. The two closest teams in run differential in 2017 were Oakland at -87 and Philadelphia at -92. Those teams lost 87 and 96 times, respectively. K.C. has far less talent than a year ago and could fall to at least 90 losses.
What Do Spring Training Records Mean?
The simple answer is nothing, as teams use March to find the 25 best players to start the season. Veteran players are just worried about preparation.
However, there is one potential caveat to consider: Just like during the season, teams have hot and cold streaks and if a club is doing one or the other heading into the start of a new campaign, that could carry over for a week, no matter the talent.
Teams that are hotter than a skillet out of the oven are the Brewers, Red Sox and Mariners.
Teams colder than a beer at the bottom of the ice chest are the Rangers, Pirates and Braves.