Texas Rangers Safe Bet in 2014 if You Know Where to Look

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 8:48 PM GMT

Our handicapper keeps reporting live from the Cactus League in Arizona for Spring Training and he continues to review the MLB betting odds for the Texas Rangers in the 2014 Season.

Texas – Projected Win Total O87.5 wins – 1st in the AL West
Because of the A’s starting pitching issues, by season win totals, Texas has jumped to the front of the line. Yet at a couple sportsbooks I checked, if you dig a little deeper and survey the odds of who is picked to win the AL West, the L.A. Angels are who is being favored by those making MLB picks despite the lower win total (85.5) and the Rangers are a close third.

What manager Ron Washington had hoped for from his pitchers and what he got did not come together, making the start of the Rangers season a trifle iffy. Instead of Alexi Ogando and Neftali Felix stepping up, Washington has been pushed towards considering using Tanner Scheppers, Joe Saunders and even possibly Colby Lewis far more than he ever might have guessed.

This will place greater emphasis on the offense to be stronger when it was last year, when it was disappointing by Texas standards. The additions of Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo will certainly add run production to the Rangers offense and most likely return them to be among the higher scoring teams in baseball.

Also consider, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison will return to the starting rotation (with Harrison not guaranteed to be effective), which can only help.

It would seem nearly impossible Texas will be 30 games over .500 in division play again, which leads one to believe they will have to do better than 28-39 (-22. 6 units) against the rest of the American League if they expect to be a contender. 


Game Notes
Because Oakland and Texas will face each other 19 times again this season, they started pitchers who will not be in the rotation.

The Rangers Ryan Feierabend allowed three laser-shots in the first inning but thanks to an Oakland base-running blunder, he escaped the first inning without a run and settled in with four scoreless innings.

Oakland minor league hurler Sean Murphy had never faced major league hitters and surrendered only one hit and no runs over 4 1/3 innings and displayed very good velocity and quality downward motion curveball.

Texas hung a 5-spot in the sixth inning and won 6-2 against a pair of A’s pitchers, who gave up four hits and two walks.

Mitch Moreland returned from injury for the first time in a week and had two hits and Oakland’s Alberto Callaspo looked ready for the regular season with a 3-for-3 day.


MLB Season Prospects 
The Rangers win total appears spot on. With an improved offense, Texas could be a nice underdog play this season or fairly reliable at -130 or less on the money line. Here is something not everyone making sports picks might know, the Rangers are 38 games over .500 the past two years as an UNDER bet on the MLB odds. Oddsmakers have played into the public’s appetite for Texas and Over’s, but because of solid starting staff and a good bullpen, playing the opposite has been the right move. Watch Texas starters and bullpen to see if this trend could continue.