Sunday, April 5, 2009
That Betting Guy: 2009 MLB Over/Unders
In my never-ending search for quality blog fodder – to say nothing of the opportunity to revisit this post six months from now with my pockets a LOT lighter – I thought I'd give my readers an opportunity to make a little early Kwanza money.
The over/unders for team wins during the 2009 Major League baseball season are a part of every sports book on earth, at the moment. Below, Tom Daniels and I offer up our top five over/under bets for the upcoming campaign. Just to up the "embarassivity quotient", I will now disclose that I laid a c-note on my Angels call (-115) and another on the Rangers to win the West (+1000). Read these in declining order of confidence:
Los Angeles Angels – 88.5 wins: Make no mistake…the Angels, when healthy, are the cream of the American League West. But, (1) the AL West could be historically awful this year and (2) the Angels aren't all that healthy. They'll be without their three best starting pitchers until at least May and their defense will bleed extra runs all year. UNDER.
Texas Rangers – 74.5 wins: I think the Rangers are a very real dark-horse candidate to take the division. They've quietly put together a hell of an offense with guys you've heard of (Josh Hamilton) and guys you haven't (1B Chris Davis, 2B Ian Kinsler). Yeah, they'll go as far as their pitching, but Texas won 79 games with a subpar staff last year. OVER.
New York Yankees – 95.5 wins: I had my doubts about the Yanks in '09, anyway, but when they chose league-average OF Xavier Nady over the more productive Nick Swisher, that sealed the deal. So much of their offense depends on unlikely turnarounds and the miracle of sustained production and good health. The starting arms should be fine, but the bridge to Mo Rivera isn't exactly dependable. UNDER.
Oakland A's – 82.5 wins: Dallas Braden (career: 6-12, 5.44 ERA) is our Opening Night starter. The rotation includes two guys (Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill) who've never pitched more than 124 innings in a professional season. The "much improved" offense is too reliant on old guys (Jason Giambi, Nomar Garciaparra), declining guys (Orlando Cabrera, Nomar) and injury-prone guys (Eric Chavez, Nomar). UNDER.
San Diego Padres – 70.5 wins: The Pads will be in contention for "worst team in baseball" all season long. They feature just two legitimate hitters (Adrian Gonzalez, Brian Giles) and two dependable starting pitchers (Jake Peavy, Chris Young). But, Giles and Peavy are all but guaranteed to be moved to contenders during the season, while the team's 29th ranked farm system has nothing in the pipeline to replace them. UNDER.
Boston Red Sox - 94.5 wins: The division has the reigning American League Champions and a Yankee team that just spent a quarter billion dollars on new contracts. The Yankees may be paying CC and Teixeira well in to their twilight years, but the front end should be worth it. At least one team in this division isn't hitting 95 wins, and my money goes on the team who just replaced David Ortiz (Boston)/Manny with David Ortiz (Minnesota)/Kevin Youkilis. UNDER.
Kansas City Royals - 75.5 wins: The thing that keeps the Royals above .500 is Major League Baseball's decision to schedule them against half the NL Central every year. Even with the free wins, they still only managed 75 wins last year. And I'm supposed to find a 76th? In the AL? Pass. UNDER.
Florida Marlins - 76.5 wins: They have mostly the same team they did last year and almost their entire nearly-free roster is on the right side of 30. The really scary part about this team (as it was a couple years ago) is that Loria could sign a few free agents and this team would be unstoppable-good. Fortunately, he's still whining and stomping his feet and making the team almost a contender instead of a real one. Good for me. Not only do I love this bet, but I love the Marlins as a sleeper for the NL Wildcard. The other two divisions are still pretty bad, the Braves barely improved, and the Phillies are already battling injuries in April. Besides all that, they have probably the best overall player in the league, a solidly mediocre pitching staff, and a guy who might wind up being the league's second best player in Cameron Maybin. This group has only been getting better. OVER.
New York Mets - 88.5 wins: The Mets are a 90-win team on paper. The problem is they were a 90-win team on paper for the last two seasons. I think they are probably going to come out the gate huge. My hesitation at booking them for a 90-win season is a really bad feeling their 2 and 3 starters are going to do a stint or two on the DL. Oliver Perez is out of shape because he spent most of Spring Training not pitching in the WBC and John Maine has been injury-plagued for two seasons. My gut feeling is over, so that's the way we'll go. OVER.
Cleveland Indians - 85.5 wins: While I'm not one of the fools expecting Cliff Lee to remain Pedro Martinez, I love the Tribe to bounce back this year and take the division from the White Sox. The Indians lost a significant weapon last year with Hafner's injury and, if he's even three-quarters of what he was, that makes them a lot better than they were last year. I love them for the Central and I love them here. OVER.