The Seattle Mariners have the longest postseason drought of any team in baseball — of any team in all major professional sports, actually — and going into the year there was no reason to expect their streak to end. It had been 17 years since the M’s saw the playoffs, and plenty were betting they would make it 18. But now with a record of 39-23 more than a third of the way into the season, Seattle has previous naysayers re-evaluating the team’s prospects for playing in October.
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook had the line set on victories for the 2018 season at 81.5, the same number they gave to the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Twelve teams had higher victory totals, which meant oddsmakers weren’t real optimistic they would be playing past the regular season. That was also reflected in another Westgate prop bet. Oddmakers had the team making the playoffs at +180 for yes, and -220 for no.
It was an even longer bet for their chances of making the World Series. When the opening odds were released in November, right after AL West rival Houston won the Fall Classic, Seattle was listed at 30/1, grouped with Milwaukee and Tampa Bay.
Worth a Look
Many thought the only way the team was getting into the playoffs was by grabbing one of two wild card spots. Whoever didn’t win the AL East was projected to take one of the spots. With the Yankees or Red Sox grabbing one, and the other possibly coming from the AL Central, it looked like a tough path for the Mariners.
Besides if anyone was going to get the other wild card spot in the AL West it would be the Los Angeles Angels, or the Texas Rangers. Both teams were projected to finish ahead of Seattle in the division. The Mariners were also long shots to win the AL Championship at 40/1.
Then the season began and slowly the team started to make skeptics into believers. The won or split their first five season series, but gave doubters fuel when they lost three of four to Houston.
Undaunted they went 4-1 in their next five and then started a streak that has been one of the hottest in baseball. They have won 15 of their last 20 games coming into Friday and have a one game lead on Houston in the AL West.
The team’s current 39-23 record puts the Mariners on pace for a 100-win season, which General Manager Jerry Dipoto didn’t expect. That would be second only to their 116-win season, the last time they made the playoffs.
“To be on a 100-plus win pace, I would be lying to you if I told you that coming into the season I thought we were a 103-win team,” Dipoto said. “But we did think we were a playoff contender.”
Sportsbooks Taking Notice
Now oddsmakers are taking notice of the team’s surge and have adjusted betting lines accordingly. They are now a 16/1 choice to win the World Series, and a 9/1 pick to win the AL Championship. They are also a 9/2 selection to win the AL West, behind only Houston, who is at 2/9.
The stats the team has accomplished in the first two months of the season have not been very impressive. They do lead in extra-inning and one-run victories, but are 14th in runs scored, 17th in home runs and 13th in team ERA.
Still Manager Scott Servais is confident his team will be there come September.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, you can’t sustain that. It will catch up with you,” Servais said. “I’m not worried about it. I’m worried about tomorrow’s game and that’s how we’re looking at it. We’ll find out tomorrow how to win.”