With the MLB season set to start at the end of July, bookies scrambled to adjust win totals across the board. In the American League, oddsmakers at PointsBet set the top win total at 38.5 over/under for the New York Yankees. The Yankees are the consensus favorite to win the World Series at approximately 3/1 odds.

AL Win totals Yankees Twins Astros
The scoreboard embedded in the Green Monster at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts in 2018. (Image: Marco Esquondoles/Boston Globe)

With 162 games on the docket, a baseball season is an ideal sample size to determine a player’s true worth. The NFL season has plenty of variance due to its limited 16-game schedule (and high-risk for injuries).

With a 60-game season, how much will the limited sample size hinder players and bettors? We’ll inevitably find out when we see which teams are able to thrive in a post-pandemic world.

AL WIN TOTALS (60 GAMES)
New York Yankees 38.5
Houston Astros 35.5
Minnesota Twins 34.5
Tampa Bay Rays 34.5
Cleveland Indians 33.5
Oakland A’s 33.5
Boston Red Sox 32.5
Chicago White Sox 31.5
Los Angeles Angels 31.5
Texas Rangers 29.5
Toronto Blue Jays 26.5
Kansas City Royals 24.5
Seattle Mariners 24.5
Detroit Tigers 21.5
Baltimore Orioles 20.5

In the shallow end of the kiddie pool, oddsmakers believe the Baltimore Orioles will win 34% of their games. Looking at 20.5 wins in a 60-game season equates to 55 wins in a 162-game schedule. The Orioles won 55 games last season, and were one of three losing teams to drop 100-plus games in 2019. The Tigers and Royals were the other two horrendously bad AL teams in 2019.

Big Dogs: Yanks, Astros, Twins

When calculating adjusted AL win totals, 38.5 wins in a 60-game season is the equivalent of 104 wins in a full 162-game season. To surpass their current win total, the Yankees must win 65% or more of their games to reach 39-plus wins. Can they become the only team in the majors with 40-plus wins this season?

The Astros won the AL pennant twice in the past three seasons. They also have a nasty cheating scandal looming over their heads. If the Astros win 59% of their games, they could surpass 36 wins and hit the over on 35.5 wins. The 162-game equivalent for the Astros would be 96 wins versus 35.5 in a 60-game season.

The Twins won 101 games last season. This season, they’ll go as far as their postseason matchup. If they find themselves facing the Yankees, then the Twins are toast, no matter how much they dominate their win total.

During the regular season, expect the Bomba Squad to crush it. Power hitters find it difficult to slug dingers early in the season (when it is still cool outside). In the summer months, balls fly out of the park on those hot and humid days. Will the Twins continue their slugging ways? Oddsmakers expect them to win the equivalent of 93 games this season.

Betas: Rays, Red Sox, Indians

The Tampa Bay Rays have the biggest advantage in baseball due to their poor attendance record over the last few seasons. If any team can thrive in a crowd-free stadium, it’s the Rays. They’re used to not having fans.

Let’s be honest, no one goes to Rays’ home games unless the Yankees or Red Sox are in town, and then it’s just annoying transplants (Massholes and NYC dickheads) in the spartan crowd cheering on their childhood squads.

The Red Sox are in the middle of a rebuilding year after trading away their two best players (Mookie Betts and David Price to the LA Dodgers). The Sox also lost Chris Sale to Tommy John surgery, which he underwent at the start of the pandemic. The Sox also got caught up in a cheating scandal, but not to the same degree as the Astros. But ballplayers never forget. They’ll be gunning for the Sox. If there’s any team to consider hammering the under in AL win totals, it’s the Red Sox at 32.5 games (approximately 87 wins in a full season).

Terry Francona’s Indians are a resilient bunch who won 93 games last season. Even without a ton of high-priced talent, he always does a bang-up job putting a competitive team on the field. Cleveland’s 33.5 projected wins in the shortened season equates to a 90-win regular season.

New Looks: Angels, Rangers

The Texas Rangers have a spanking-new stadium, but the locals think it’s an ugly monstrosity that resembles a glorified barn, tool shed, or even a BBQ grill. Ouch. The memes have been cruel, but justified. So much for trying to construct a retro-looking ballpark in the Dallas suburbs, eh?

New ballparks often inspire teams that play in them. Will the new BBQ grill of a stadium fire up the Rangers? Or will all the BBQ jokes get inside their heads?

Texas is one of the few states in which their governor will permit fans in attendance at sporting events. That affects both the Rangers and Astros.

Do you think the Rangers are an above-500 team? Oddsmakers pegged the Rangers for 29.5 wins, or approximately 80 wins for a 162-game season.

The Los Angeles Angels have a new skipper. Joe Maddon saw his era end with the Chicago Cubs, even though he’s the manager who finally snapped the curse and won a title for the Cubbies. Bookies think the Angels will also be one of those “break-even” teams who struggle to stay above .500.

Check out Adjusted NL Win Totals.

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