2018 MLB Season Win Total Primer

Last Updated: 2018-03-27

Another baseball season is almost here. I’ve been busy wearing out my keyboard with season previews for all 30 teams. As I get them finished and posted, the master list will be updated within this article, so it is probably best to bookmark this page for an easy listing of the teams and the links to the articles.

Per usual, my process will be to post them by division. Each preview will have an introduction, a breakdown of the transactions completed over the offseason, reasons to bet the over, and reasons to bet the under. My conclusion will feature a pick and a final summary of why I’m choosing to go over or under. Some of my analysis will be team-based and some of it will be focused on individual players, so these previews also have a lot of valuable information for fantasy baseball players looking for an edge in their drafts.

All 30 season win total previews will feature a pick and a conclusion, but the strength of those opinions could vary greatly. My confidence in that pick will always be present, so you won’t have to guess or wonder whether or not that became an actual play for me.

You’ll also want to bookmark the Glossary page that explains a lot of the stats that I use. We’ll also be posting these win total previews, futures, and prop articles into a .pdf e-book guide once all 30 win totals are posted to the site.

This year is so much different than past years because so many free agents were still available when I started writing this season’s previews. It was certainly a challenge to discuss team weaknesses with the knowledge that those areas may be addressed by the time the games start to matter. Furthermore, I tried to post these a bit earlier this season. In 2016, my first round of previews went up on March 1. Last season, these were posted on February 28. The time spent researching and writing is extensive and it has been made more difficult by the fact that so many noteworthy players remain unsigned.

That brings me to my last point before I put up the list of teams. It is in your best interest to wait on a lot of these season win totals. The sample size is 162 games. The oddsmakers are reasonably efficient with these lines, but the chances of a win here or a win there determining the outcome are pretty slim. I prefer to know exactly what I’m getting into. Normally, that means making sure that the team I’m betting over the season win total is healthy.

In past years, I’d play unders early without a whole lot of doubt. With a lot of unsigned free agents, teams that have holes have the opportunity to fill them. No remaining free agent will create more than maybe a full win worth of adjustment to the line, if that, but they can change my perception of a team. So, I am putting these up early so that readers can get eyes on them, but patience is a virtue with actually locking in a bet.

Odds in these previews will come from 5Dimes, BetOnline, and Bovada, but don’t hesitate to ask about a line at your preferred book and be sure to shop around for the best prices.

Keep that in mind as you look through the 2018 MLB Season Win Total Previews and other season preview content:

AL EAST

Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

New York Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays

Toronto Blue Jays

 

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox

Cleveland Indians

Detroit Tigers

Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins

 

AL WEST

Houston Astros

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Oakland Athletics

Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers

 

NL EAST

Atlanta Braves

Miami Marlins

New York Mets

Philadelphia Phillies

Washington Nationals

 

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs

Cincinnati Reds

Milwaukee Brewers

Pittsburgh Pirates

St. Louis Cardinals

 

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

 

FUTURES

World Series

AL Pennant

NL Pennant

Divisions

 

PROPS

AL Cy Young Award

NL Cy Young Award

AL MVP

NL MVP

Home Run King

 

-END OF 2018 WIN TOTAL PRIMER-

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s about that time. It’s nearly time for the start of my MLB Season Win Totals Preview Series. I like to refer to this as a labor of love because it is a lot of work, but I’m a baseball guy. In the lead-up to the Major League Baseball season, I’ll be writing at least 2,000 words on each and every team to give you a sense of what to expect for the 2017 season. Each article will conclude with a win total pick. Some will be stronger than others. Some will be the smallest of leans.

I’m fully aware that a lot of people bet baseball very casually. Football is the king sport in this industry. Once March Madness is over, a lot of people put their bankrolls away for the year and wait until football comes around again. For those that don’t, these win total previews are for you. The concepts and talking points in these write-ups are going to help you for a while. These pieces highlight teams that will have value, both in the short-term and the long-term. They’re going to showcase pitchers worth playing against. Teams that will be overrated. Pitchers that will be overrated.

These are comprehensive looks at how teams fared last season and how they will fare in the upcoming season based on statistical analysis and offseason transactions. These are also going to be a crash course in sabermetrics. The foundation of my Major League Baseball handicapping is to use regression analysis based on a lot of things found in the analytics community. I carry over some elements of my situational-based handicapping found in the NHL and the NBA, but this is the sport in which I rely most on the numbers. Before we dig into the actual team previews, I’m going to write up a few introductory articles on the sabermetric topics so that you will have a better idea of what I am talking about and why these stats and numbers are important.

Generally, these are posted by division, beginning with the American League East. It’s easiest to group these by division because there can be a lot of correlations in terms of season win total picks within a division. Because teams play 76 games against division rivals, that’s a big chunk of the season. Teams that are going to have a lot of success within the division have a greater margin for error and vice versa. That’s why the divisional format works so well.

This is my fourth year of basically writing a novel in the lead-up to the MLB season. In 2014, the win total picks went 17-13. In 2015, we picked up a nice profit at 17-12-1. Last season, the win totals came in at 14-16, which was extremely frustrating, but the strongest plays of Minnesota under and Philadelphia over came through. Again, keep in mind that there’s a pick on every team, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a strong opinion.

Those that listen to BangTheBook Radio or follow me on Twitter know that I’m a diehard Cleveland Indians fan. Last year I picked them under and they went to the World Series, so I can promise you that I am impartial. It doesn’t matter if I hate a team (hi Tigers fans) or love a team (Roll Tribe!), you’re going to get the same type of analysis. It doesn’t do me or you any good for me to put my biases in play. I have to look objectively at the numbers and that’s what I do.

Season win totals are graded based on the best number available at one of three sportsbooks at time of posting. The sportsbooks are BetDSI, 5Dimes, and BetOnline, which represents a pretty fair assessment of the market overall in terms of the clientele at each sportsbook. Shopping around for the best price is always important. It’s rather amazing how close oddsmakers can get with a lot of the numbers, even over the course of a 162-game season.

In each preview, I make a case for taking the over and a case for taking the under. I outline important offseason comings and goings. I look at everything, ranging from individual player projections to intangibles to the minor leagues.

I can promise you that over the course of 70,000 words and who knows how many sentences and paragraphs, I’m going to miss something. I’m either going to misspeak or miss a notable free agent signing, trade, or something else. Please let me know. Accuracy is extremely important to me. When I first started doing these, I was the newcomer to BangTheBook.com and my list of responsibilities and tasks was a lot smaller. That’s why I went so in-depth. As the years have gone, I have increased my responsibilities. I’m no longer doing two 45-minute football podcasts and a 20-minute MLB podcast. I’m doing five hour-long shows per week, with additional time dedicated to editing down segments, scheduling guests, and various other things related to the show. I’m covering multiple sports and writing more previews per day. But, I promised myself and I promised my readers that my standards for this win total series were not going to go down. Despite a heavier workload, I’m still going to do what I have always done with these. I may miss something here or there. Just let me know.

My best suggestion for you is to bookmark this page. With each win total that gets posted, I will edit the master list of teams that follows. This way, you’ll have all the links in one place. You’ll also be able to see my past write-ups about those teams below the one the current ones, so you can see how teams have evolved and how my thoughts and analyses have evolved as well.

American League East

Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

New York Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays

Toronto Blue Jays

American League Central

Chicago White Sox

Cleveland Indians

Detroit Tigers

Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins

American League West

Houston Astros

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Oakland Athletics

Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers

National League East

Atlanta Braves

Miami Marlins

New York Mets

Philadelphia Phillies

Washington Nationals

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

Cincinnati Reds

Milwaukee Brewers

Pittsburgh Pirates

St. Louis Cardinals

National League West

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

It should be a fun baseball season and I’m hoping for the end of a 69-year drought. That would be nice. Happy reading and good luck this season!

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Power LinesView all

(915) TEXAS @ (916) MINNESOTA | 2:10 pm 6/23/2018

Play Line: MINNESOTA -140
BTB PowerLine: MINNESOTA -170

Edge On: MINNESOTA 30Bet Now
(917) OAKLAND @ (918) CHI WHITE SOX | 2:10 pm 6/23/2018

Play Line: OAKLAND 101
BTB PowerLine: OAKLAND -144

Edge On: OAKLAND 45Bet Now
(901) MIAMI @ (902) COLORADO | 3:10 pm 6/23/2018

Play Line: COLORADO -180
BTB PowerLine: COLORADO -203

Edge On: COLORADO 23Bet Now