Most baseball fans begin to get pumped for the upcoming season when pitchers and catchers report early to spring training, but here in Las Vegas it’s a little different.
Our baseball juices get flowing when season win totals are posted.
On Friday, up north in Reno, the Atlantis sports book will post the first totals in the state and then on Sunday at 11 a.m., the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook will post their numbers. Over the past few seasons there have massive disparities between the two opinions, and after a few weeks both numbers sort of blend together as bettors bet them.
The Westgate will also be posting a ton of propositions such as odds to each division and 64 different totals on individual player season wins and home runs. Two weeks ago they posted odds to hit the most home runs in 2015 with Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Abreu as 8-to-1 co-favorites. Stanton has been bet down to 6-1.
I’ve got most of my work done on each team and have my own opinions on how many games they’ll win, so let’s throw a few out there. This isn’t what I think the season win total should be, but where I think they’ll finish.
Boston (2015 prediction – 77-85): In 2012 the Red Sox finished dead last in the AL East and bounced back to win their third World Series in 10 seasons, and they’re in a similar situation this year as they come off their worst season (71-91) since 1965. They brought in Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, but didn’t do much for their rotation where
Rick Porcello is now considered the ace.
Porcello was the No. 5 guy in the Tigers’ rotation and had a career year, but I have a feeling Fenway won’t be kind to him. Overall, there are just too many question marks, including age, health and a group of young outfielders I don’t believe are their future. Ultimately, their starters will be their downfall and they’ll be battling with Tampa Bay for the worst record in the division.
LA Dodgers (89-75)
It’ll be hard not to win 85 games with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but there are several other components factored that suggest the Dodgers won’t be as good as last year. The first thing is the level of competition just got raised in the NL West with the Padres elevating themselves as real contenders.
The signing of James Shields yesterday makes them a strong contender to win the division. Meanwhile, the Dodgers got worse offensively as they lost two power sources in Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez while also losing Dee Gordon’s 64 stolen bases.
The Dodgers offensive hopes rest with rookie Joc Peterson being the same type of player he was in AA last year and that SS Jimmy Rollins and 2B Howie Kendrick show some leadership and add some pop. I didn’t get the Rollins signing. He comes off a .243 season in a good hitter’s park at Philly and goes to a great pitcher’s park in LA.
Rollins is also 36 years old. Unless they find more ways to get Scott Van Slyke and Justin Turner into the lineup, I think the Dodgers will struggle to score runs this season. Hard to believe the expansion Marlins have won two World Series while the Dodgers’ last title came in 1988.
San Diego (88-74)
With Shields added to an already good rotation of Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy, the Padres are going to do some good things in 2015. In addition to adding some pop with Kemp, they also inked Justin Upton, Wil Myers and Derek Norris. Don’t expect San Diego to be anywhere near dead last in runs scored like they were last season.
Chi. White Sox (79-83)
The addition of David Robertson to the closer role shores up a major area of concern, but I’m still not sold on the rotation, even with the addition of Jeff Samardzija. Adam LaRoche may add some protection for Abreu, and Melky Cabrera was also a nice pick-up, but the rest of their lineup doesn’t excite me
Chicago Cubs (84-78)
Pitching wins in baseball and the Cubs have lots of it in their rotation with Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Travis Wood. The bullpen is still a bit sketchy, and it’s tough to put high expectations on some of their young hitters to step up and produce right away, but I think they will. They should be right in the mix of things with St. Louis and Pittsburgh in the NL Central all summer.
Next week we’ll discuss a few more teams and look at the actual numbers the Westgate posts Sunday.
SB 49 OK for books
Nevada sports books ended up winning $3.3 million from the Super Bowl for a sluggish 2.8 percent return, but those figures are influenced greatly due to future book win.
If we were to back out all future wagers, we might be looking at close to $2 million in losses for the big game. The Strip properties do huge business with the futures from the time they post them because of the hundreds of thousands of guests filtering through their rooms. Souvenir Super Bowl future tickets have become a more fun item to bring home than those crummy Las Vegas t-shirts.
When one of the favorites win, as the Patriots did, books can expect to keep up to 60 percent of all wagers. For action on the game that occurred with the two week window, it’s safe to say the books lost to the game.
It was just a few weeks ago I was marveling at the noticeable change in Caesars Palace’s directive to offer fair odds on a consistent basis with their futures at a 35 percent theoretic hold or lower when I noticed they’ve also expanded their wagering menu.
Their latest expansion was delving into odds to win the 2015 CFL Grey Cup, Tour de France and weekly European Tour golf odds. They’re not quite in the category of the Westgate and William Hill yet, but who is.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].