Strength of Schedule a Key in MLB Wins Marketplace

astros springer

Kevin Stott

Monday, March 26, 2018 6:43 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 26, 2018 6:43 PM UTC

Winning the most games in the regular season isn't the ultimate goal for MLB teams, but it's a start. On Thursday, the 2018 season begins. Which team will have the best record when it ends?

MLB: Best Regular-Season Record OddsThe Usual Suspects

Last season, for the first time since 1970, two teams with at least 100 regular-season wins met in the World Series. The Houston Astros (+550 to win 2018 World Series, 5Dimes) beat the Los Angeles Dodgers (+640) in a thrilling seven-game series, rallying behind the emotions after devastating flooding hit Houston, the United States' fourth-largest city, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The AL champion Astros became the first MLB team to make it to the World Series from both leagues (2005 as NL champions), and the first team from the state of Texas to win the title.

In the unique Best Regular Season Record market on the MLB odds board, the usual suspects top the futures list. The “Field” entry seems to be the cutoff point between teams that have a realistic chance to make it to the World Series and those who don’t. World Series MVP George Springer and Houston are the favorites in this market, where weighing regular-season schedules and emphasizing divisional play are a huge part of the handicap. Last year the Astros went 101-61 and ran away with the AL West, as all their divisional foes finished below .500. It was different in the NL West, where the Dodgers (104-58) eventually pulled away from the 93-win Arizona Diamondbacks. The third 100-win team in 2017 was the AL Central champion Cleveland Indians (102-60). Teams with at least 90 victories were the Washington Nationals (97-65), Diamondbacks (93-69), Boston Red Sox (93-69), Chicago Cubs (92-70) and New York Yankees (91-71).

Let’s look at the Best Regular Season Record odds from 5Dimes:

Houston Astros +350

Los Angeles Dodgers +500

Cleveland Indians +650

New York Yankees +650

Washington Nationals +700

Chicago Cubs +850

Boston Red Sox +1200

Field (Any Other Team) +1400

Arizona Diamondbacks +2000

Los Angeles Angels +2200

Milwaukee Brewers +2500

San Francisco Giants +2800

Minnesota Twins +3000

St. Louis Cardinals +3500

Colorado Rockies +3700

Toronto Blue Jays +4200

Texas Rangers +4500

Tampa Bay Rays +5500

Let The Games Begin

The 2018 season starts Thursday with all 30 clubs in action, including the Dodgers (+165 to reach NLCS, 5Dimes) hosting the San Francisco Giants (+440 to reach NLCS). The Dodgers went an MLB-best 57-24 at Dodger Stadium in 2017. One problem backing L.A. in this market is the strong seasons the Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies (87-75) had in 2017. In the NL Central, the Cubs (+360 to win NL) bolstered their rotation by signing Yu Darvish, while the Milwaukee Brewers (+440 to reach NLCS) and St. Louis Cardinals (+400 to reach NLCS) should be better. Bryce Harper and the Nationals (+210 to reach NLCS) are candidates to near 100 wins again, playing in the weak NL East with four sub-.500 teams from last season.

Another team worth considering with your MLB picks is the New York Yankees (+620 to win World Series), despite tough competition in the AL East. If anyone is going to dominate early in 2018, expect the Bronx Bombers to do so with their modern-day Murderers' Row of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez). The Indians (+735 to win World Series) again look like the class of the AL Central, while in the AL West it’s tempting to think the Astros (-445 to win AL West; +180 to reach ALCS) will easily roll again, but expect better competition from the rest of the division, possibly the Los Angeles Angels (+485 to reach ALCS).

Free 2018 MLB Best Regular Season Record Futures Pick: New York Yankees +650 (5Dimes)

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