We’ve still got plenty of key free-agents waiting to be signed, but the 2018 MLB landscape is stable enough in February for CG Technology sportsbooks to offer season win totals with the World Champion Astros checking in with the highest number at 96.5 wins, laying -115 each way.
Yu Darvish was the prized jewel among available players and he just signed a six-year, $126 million contract with the Cubs. Next best? Jake Arrieta certainly would upgrade any rotation. J.D. Martinez is in talks to stay in Arizona, but nothing has been signed. He hit 45 homers last season and makes any lineup better. Those are the two biggest upgrades available. After that, it’s guys like Eric Hosmer, Alex Cobb, Logan Morrison, Lane Lynn, Mike Moustakas, Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez.
CG Tech posted the Dodgers at 95.5 (un -120) for the second most wins while the Cubs, Indians and Yankees were set at 93.5. The Dodgers come back with almost the exact same team from 2017 that went an MLB-best 104-58. The Yankees went 91-71 in 2017 with rookie Aaron Judge hitting 52 homers and then during the off-season added Giancarlo Stanton who blasted an MLB-high 59 homers for Miami.
The Cubs went 92-70 last season coming off the magical 2016 World Series title. Could last season have been simply a World Series hangover just because they didn’t win? That stout lineup is still intact and they added Tyler Chatwood from Colorado and Darvish to the rotation, but I raised my eyebrow when hearing veteran Brandon Morrow would be their closer, even though a healthy Morrow was quite nasty in 45 relief appearances for the Dodgers last season. He had a 2.06 ERA and allowed opponents to hit only .194.
The Indians (102-60 in 2017) get high marks just because of their deep starting pitching rotation led by ace Corey Kluber that will keep them in most games. They have some question marks in the outfield with Bradley Zimmer (hit .241 last season) in center and left-fielder Michael Brantley questionable for spring training coming off ankle surgery.
The Red Sox were given lots of respect and maybe the Nationals were undervalued at the same number with 91.5 wins.
My favorite bet of all is the Giants at over 81.5 wins coming off a 64-98 season, finishing dead last in the NL West. Their winning the World Series thing on even years was snapped in 2016 by the Cubs after 2010, 2012, and 2014 titles. They still have the heart of those championship teams with Buster Posey and a healthy Madison Bumgarner, but the best reason to like the Giants is they just added the franchise player from two other teams, getting Evan Longoria from Tampa Bay and Andrew McCutchen from Pittsburgh.
There’s not much of a surprise the lowest total of 64.5 wins is Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins who traded off all their best players for prospects in an attempt to copy the Astros model for success. Tank a few years, get draft picks, stockpile and the odds become greater for a couple young superstars to sift through the ranks and eventually elevate the club.
Visit one of the seven CG Technology books in Las Vegas and bet the four totals that look off the most before other books start posting their totals and alerts sharps seeking meaty middle opportunities where five win moves aren’t uncommon. In most cases, the numbers are close to what the actual record of teams will be so getting five wins of middling is huge for professional bettors attempting to win both their Over and Under bets on the same team.
The Tigers and White Sox are both set at 68.5 wins and the Padres are set at 69.5. Lou Piniella used to always say every team basically starts 60-60, it’s what they do in the other 42 games that makes the difference.
One of the best wagers of the college basketball season has been the two-team correlated parlay playing the point-line with Virginia and tying it up with the Under of the same game. If one thing happens, the other is most likely to, unlike two different games hooked up. It pays 13-to-5.
The Virginia/Under parlay cashed 14 times in 22 games following a 61-60 home loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday as 12.5-point favorites. It stayed Under 127.5, which has been a great bet by itself all season, going 17-5. The side has gone 16-6 ATS, or +9.4 units by itself. The side-to-parlay has gone 14-8, but the payout tied together is +260 each time. I’m happy going 14-8, laying -110, on a straight bet, but the +260 makes this a special run.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Virginia after losing four key members of last season’s 25-11 team. But up until Saturday they were 12-0 in ACC play, aided by the No. 1 defense in the nation allowing just 52.8 ppg. Their opponents shoot only 37.7 percent from the field. Only Cincinnati (36.6) and Michigan State (36.3) allow a lower percentage.
The Westgate SuperBook opened Virginia at 30-to-1 odds to win the National Championship and they’re currently at 7-to-1. Villanova is currently the favorite at 7-to-2.