American League West Win Total Betting Guide
The American League West is the only division to have games played already before the official MLB Opening Day. Seattle beat Oakland twice in Japan, which culminated in the retirement of a future hall-of-famer, Ichiro Suzuki. While FanDuel Sportsbook no longer offers totals on the Athletics or Mariners, we’ll still examine the best bets for the other three teams in the division.
For starters, the dominant Houston Astros have the highest total in the division as their core hasn’t changed from last year’s run to the American League Championship Series. Houston is also our models' best team and none of their division rivals crack the top 10. While the Astros are an obvious favorite to win the division for the third straight season, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have value on a bet over their win total. Today, we examine two under bets that present betting value based on the totals offered at FanDuel Sportsbook .
|Team||FanDuel Total||numberFire Projected Wins|
|Los Angeles Angels||82.5||80|
Houston Astros – Under 96.5
Houston finished second in the American League to Boston last year, recording 103 wins, but they had 109 Pythagorean wins, which demonstrates how dominant they were. However, they have some uncertainty surrounding their starting pitchers; three of their five starters with at least 20 starts in 2018 will not return this season.
Lance McCullers had Tommy John surgery, so he’s out for the season. Charlie Morton, one of the Astros’ six All-Stars last season, signed with Tampa Bay. Dallas Keuchel remains unsigned, so technically the Astros could retain his services, but they’ll most likely be without the back end of their 2018 rotation. These three pitchers combined for 8.7 wins above replacement (WAR), per FanGraphs, and will likely be replaced by Wade Miley, signed away from Milwaukee during the offseason, as well as Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock, who both pitched out of Houston’s bullpen last year.
Houston had one of the best bullpens in the league last season, but they’re likely to regress negatively because of the promotions of McHugh and Peacock to starters. So the Astros’ pitching staff as a whole should be much worse without three of their starters from last year, and their ace, Justin Verlander, is on the wrong side of 30, meaning he could likely regress, as well.
The offseason wasn’t a complete waste for Houston, though; they signed Michael Brantley, who should be an upgrade over Marwin Gonzalez in an outfield spot. After an injury-riddled season last year, Carlos Correa is due for a bounce-back campaign, meaning the Astros should be even better offensively than they were last year.
Even though there is value on the Astros winning under 96.5 games this season, that doesn’t mean there is no value on a World Series bet. Houston has one of the best rosters in the majors and should be the among the best teams in 2019, but they might struggle to get to 97 wins due to reduced pitching depth.
Los Angeles Angels – Under 82.5
The most significant baseball news in the past couple weeks was Mike Trout’s record-breaking extension that will likely keep him on the Angels for the remainder of his career. Los Angeles will be must-see television with Trout and Shohei Ohtani, but they probably won’t be playoff contenders in 2019.
Los Angeles has an exciting lineup, but they don’t have any semblance of pitching depth. Last season, only three pitchers made at least 20 starts for the Angels: Andrew Heaney, Jaime Barria and Tyler Skaggs. These three pitchers combined for 6.3 WAR, according to FanGraphs, and while all three return this season, the Angels didn’t do much to improve their rotation other than taking a flyer on Matt Harvey.
Ohtani will not pitch in 2019, and while he started only 10 games for the Halos last season, he was their best pitcher, leading their pitchers with at least 10 starts in fielding independent pitching (FIP) and strikeouts per nine innings. So while Ohtani will be limited to just hitting this season and their pitchers will likely struggle, the Angels do have a potent offense, led by Trout. According to our projections, the Angels have two other hitters aside from Trout and Ohtani who will have an OPS above .800: Justin Bour and Justin Upton.
Los Angeles should be close to their offered total, but our models project them to win just 80 games this season. Bettors should lean under the total of 82.5 as the Angels don’t have the pitching to push for 83 wins.