What used to be a fringe bet for seasonal travelers to Las Vegas and occasionally a long-term hedge for professional bettors, the season-long team win total wager in baseball has found its way into the mainstream discussion of fans and media members alike.
This type of bet has usually been geared more toward the shorter football season where the prediction can often fall at or near the number where the outcome can possibly be decided in the final game or two of the season.
But lately, experts have started to use the predicted number of wins in baseball season previews and columns.
Baseball writers are more frequently using oddsmakers’ predictions as the general basis for a team’s forecast.
Although not likely to supplant the popular World Series futures wagering, the season-long win total is usually offered with a more traditional vigorish charge.
And now that the Cubs have finally broken their curse, there seems to be little novelty in holding a ticket on a favorite that is going to pay a few hundred dollars for your average sports bettor.
Still, the allure of holding that possible long-shot come late September can add to the excitement of the pennant chase, while the team total is strictly a double-your-money play.
CUB at STL (+105, 7.5): Cards won the season-opener in walk-off fashion on Sunday night, sending early notice to the champs. Still prefer the favorite here at -125 or better with Chicago’s John Lackey against Lance Lynn. Anthony Rizzo, in particular, has knocked around Lynn for five extra-base hits in 29 at-bats.
TOR at BAL (+130, 8.5): J.A. Happ is coming off his 20-4 season for the Jays, and although this Orioles roster has touched him up for six homers in 136 at-bats, Baltimore has just a .206 average against him. Dylan Bundy was a part-time starter for the O’s last year, but with Chris Tillman and Wade Miley starting on the DL, he gets this early start.
PIT at BOS (-200, 7.5): Chris Sale makes his Red Sox debut against Jameson Taillon, who starts as the Bucs’ No. 2 man after finishing with a 3.38 ERA last season in 104 innings with 85 strikeouts, but 13 home runs allowed.’
CLE at TEX (-125, 8): Cole Hamels last August. Cole Hamels has been strong against the Tribe, as this group of Cleveland bats hits just .224 against him over 63 PAs, despite a career 5.04 ERA against them in four starts. Danny Salazar is ready to start after his injury last September sidelined him.
ATL at NYM (-180, 7o20): Mets fans hold their breath as Matt Harvey tries to put his elbow problems behind him. He saved his best for last in Spring Training, even clocking out at 97 on his fastball. He’s been his strong self against the Braves previously, allowing just one HR in 97 PAs against this group, for just a .217 average. Jaime Garcia joins the Braves after eight seasons with St. Louis.
WAS at PHL (+175, 7.5): The Nats wait until Friday to send Max Scherzer to the hill after a minor knuckle ailment. Still, Washington felt deep enough in their rotation to start Joe Ross in triple-A until they need to go to five starters. The Phils’ Vince Velasquez beat the Nats last April in his only appearance against them, but he’ll need to cut down on allowing the long ball in order to continue his progression.