Earlier this week, Caesars Sportsbook reopened its updated MLB regular-season win totals for the 2020 season upon a reported final agreement between the owners and players union.
This shortened format will include 60 games over a 66-day period and will drastically change the dynamics of a typical baseball season.
Time will tell as to which teams will benefit from this abbreviated arrangement, but Las Vegas hasn’t skewed away from its initial predictions, as many of the preseason favorites remain atop the betting boards.
The current betting favorites in the American League feature two familiar foes, as the New York Yankees and Houston Astros have opened at 36.5 and 34.5 wins, respectively.
For the Bronx Bombers, winning 37 games would be proportionally equal to finishing 100-62 (.617), as that number is nearly identical to what they originally opened as before the postponement of the season. Although 37-23 doesn’t sound all that impressive, it will still be very difficult for any team to reach this threshold, given the current uncertainty surrounding baseball.
Players will likely be rusty to start the season, as many of them haven’t seen live pitching in over three months. Some teams won’t be able to afford getting off to a slow start, as every game will loom much larger, given the condensed nature of the season.
I would take the under on both these numbers, as parity will be widespread throughout baseball. I expect teams like the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Los Angeles Angels to finish above .500 and go over their win totals currently set at around 30-31.
All three of these rosters have tons of talent, and incredibly experienced managers, which will play a huge factor down the stretch of the season. They’ll be able to get the most out of their players each and every night, and will be well suited to adapt to the new dynamics this season brings.
The American League playoff picture will be as crowded as ever in 2020, as no team is a sure thing, given the current circumstances surrounding baseball.
Meanwhile, the National League will have several teams hoping for a World Series run this season, as the NL appears as strong as it’s ever been
The Los Angeles Dodgers remain the presumptive favorites in the league, as their win total is currently set at 37 — the highest in all of baseball. They are just about a lock to win the NL West for an eighth straight season, as none of the other teams in their division seem to be serious threats in 2020.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see them win 40-plus games this season, as the addition of outfielder Mookie Betts will transform the top of this lineup.
However, a division like the NL East could definitely see three teams make the postseason, as the reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals will look to defend their crown after losing third baseman Anthony Rendon to free agency. This will be a significant blow to the Nationals offense, as many expect them to take a slight step back this season.
Thus, this leaves the Braves, Mets, and Phillies as likely candidates to finish atop the division, even though Vegas still has the Nationals at second in the NL East at 32.5 wins. Only the Braves stand above them, as their number is set at 33, while the Mets and Phillies sit at 32 and 31 wins, respectively.
Lastly, the NL Central appears to be a wide-open race this season after the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals did little to upgrade their roster from a year ago.
It will be cluttered at the top, as the Cardinals, Cubs and Reds all have the same over/under win total at 31.5. There are serious cases to make for all three ball clubs, but the Cardinals should reign supreme given their playoff experience from a year ago.
They boast a formidable starting rotation to go along with an explosive offense featuring the likes of All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong. St. Louis really has no weaknesses, and this will be critical in a shortened season where any small blemish can be the ultimate difference.
Unfortunately, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh don’t seem to be serious threats in this division, as I expect both of them to finish under .500 in 2020.
Baseball is Back
For baseball fans, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel, as Opening Day is now just four weeks away.
Excitement is beginning to ramp up — with spring training slated to start next Wednesday — as this year is shaping up to be one of the most memorable seasons in MLB history.