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Odds: Over/under win totals for American League teams

Feb 25, 2011, 11:02 AM EDT

gambling poster has posted its initial over/under odds for regular season team wins. Here are the American League totals (for entertainment purposes only, of course):

Red Sox           95
Yankees           91.5
Rangers           87
Twins             86.5
White Sox         85.5
Rays              84.5
Tigers            83.5
Athletics         83.5
Angels            83
Blue Jays         76
Orioles           76
Indians           71
Mariners          70
Royals            69.5

Based on those totals the Red Sox are viewed as the clear class of the league after adding Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to a team that won 89 games last season. However, they also lost Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre, and the Red Sox have won more than 95 games just twice since 1979.

On the flip side it’s worth noting that the Yankees have won fewer than 92 games just twice since 1996, so even after a disappointing offseason an over/under of 91.5 victories seems pretty pessimistic for a team that won 95 games last year.

At the other end of the spectrum an over/under of 69.5 wins may seem low for even the Royals, but their amazing collection of prospects isn’t likely to help much this season, Zack Greinke is gone, and they’ve topped 69 wins just twice since 2001. If anything the Royals stand out as one of the better “under” bets.

Seattle was the worst team in the league last season with just 61 wins and didn’t do much to upgrade the roster this offseason, but the offense going from historically awful to merely very bad would add a significant number of victories. It’s tough to see the Mariners being actual contenders, but 70-75 wins should be doable.

Without having put a ton of thought into this, I like the Yankees, Orioles, and Mariners the most for “over” and the Red Sox, Angels, and Royals the most for “under.”

  1. banksatdixie - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    I like Oakland on the over a lot. Detroit too.

  2. Ari Collins - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    I like the Yankees for more like 93 wins, myself, but your Boston numbers are seriously skewed. Sure, the Red Sox have only won >95 twice since ’79, but that’s a ridiculous arbitrary cut-off considering they’ve won exactly 95 several times recently. Which is what they’re projected to win this year. They’ve won at least the projected amount six times in the last 9 years and have averaged 94 wins over that time period.

    More important than your extremely well-tailored attempt to make Boston look like it hasn’t been a big winner recently, though, is the fact that historic win totals have nothing to do with the roster a team has this season. If you’re going to pick holes in a team (and I think there are a couple numbers off myself!), at least use an argument that has something to do with this year’s team.

    • Ari Collins - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      Oh, I re-read that, and it sounds like I’m projecting more than 95 for Boston, while I actually think that’s spot on. I just hate using a team’s former rosters to project its current roster. Even if it was done right, with recent averages or something, instead of arbitrary cutoffs designed to come up with the result you want.

      • ThatGuy - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:53 AM

        95 isn’t really arbitrary in this column, because its what the projected wins are for them. He prob should of mentioned the number of exactly 95 though.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        Good point, guess I’m being a bit harsh on the arbitrariness of 95. That’s why an over/under of 94.5 of 95.5 makes sense, too. So you don’t have those on-the-dots.

        My overall point still stands. (It should stand, since I beat it into the ground.)

  3. Ari Collins - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    I’d take the over on the Rays and Jays by a couple wins, under on the Angels by a few. Might be an AL East bias on my part, though.

    • cur68 - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      Take way over on the Jays. They’ve added base running and upgraded bats. Only question is pitching and since their manager is essentially a pitching coach, we’ll see an improvement there. And no, I don’t care what the on base percentages say.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:52 AM

        I actually like the over on them for the opposite reason! I think Morrow, Romero, and Drabek make an excellent front three. I don’t care about OBP in that there are lots of ways to score runs, but the Jays didn’t score that many runs last year. It will be interesting to see if they have the same high-slugging/low-OBP balance next year, and if better performances from last year’s strugglers will make up for the downgrade from Wells (overpaid though he was) and a regression from Bautista.

      • spudchukar - Feb 25, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        I’m all over the Jays also. Hill and Lind rebound. Bautista at 40/100. Arencibia blossoms, Encarnacion chips in with 25 dingers, and Francisco shutting the door.

      • cur68 - Feb 25, 2011 at 1:51 PM


    • Ick McWang - Feb 26, 2011 at 12:25 AM

      Its not a bias its a fact. I could see the Rays coming near 90 wins, plus they signed the Garfoose so thats gotta be worth a couple wins, and the Jays should be better than 76 wins but then again I’ve thought they were better before only to falter in the second half of the season.

  4. proudlycanadian - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    There is a lot of easy money to be made by betting the over on the Jays.

    • Panda Claus - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      I’d bet the over on the O’s; I heard 74 from another source which is even a nicer bet. I’d take the under on the Jays, Rays and Angels. Rangers look right on the mark, while Boston and NY I’d probably go slightly over and under respectively.

  5. baseballstars - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    The over on the Blue Jays is almost a given. That’s a bet I’d take if I wasn’t poor.

  6. Ari Collins - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    Central’s a bit hard to read, but I’d take the under on the Twins and the over on the White Sox and Tigers.

  7. uyf1950 - Feb 25, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    I like what the White Sox and Tigers have done over the winter. I’d take the over on those 2 teams. For the under I’d take KC and the Orioles. I’ll defer to others on the Yankees since I have an obvious bias.

    • yankeesfanlen - Feb 25, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      Don’t have an obvious bias, uyf, leave that to me. I’ll take the over for the Universe for 10,000 ARodbucks. Over for the Tigers for 5,000 Miggybucks.

  8. Ari Collins - Feb 25, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Check out the Royals depth chart. Tough to take the under on 69.5, but I might just.

  9. needtoplay - Feb 25, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Aaron….. thank you… first time I have seen in print, from any one, that Boston actually LOST two players !! All stories make it sound as tho they added AG and CC while losing no one. While they did pick up two darn good players, they also lost two darn good players ! And while there is a delta, it is not as great as it has been made out to be… just from those additions. The returning injured are worth more, IMHO.

    Thanks !

    Now… let the games begin and let’s see where this all ends up !

  10. Cran Boy - Feb 25, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    If you add up all the win totals and divide by 14, you get 81.6 wins per team, or 8.5 more for the league than you’d get if the average record were 81-81. Take the under on everything if you believe in NL/AL parity!

    • yankeesfanlen - Feb 25, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      Also if you want to lose all your money.

      • Cran Boy - Feb 25, 2011 at 2:15 PM

        Well, I don’t beleive in NL/AL parity.

    • cur68 - Feb 25, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      Wooo, good thing you threw in that last sentence with the ‘if’. Seriously concerned for your logic functions otherwise. There’s this book, The Wisdom of Crowds; puts out there that if you average all the guesses from everyone (no matter an expert or not) and bet on the result, you’ll be more right than wrong more often. Check it out, opens with an excellent anecdote about Frank Galton, father of modern statistics.

  11. Old Gator - Feb 25, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    …and pretty soon you’re back to bettin’ on chance, and then you’re back in the jungle with the beasts of burden, beasts of prey. Dis ain’t for me.

  12. spudchukar - Feb 25, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Early season UPDATE: Pittsburgh 15, Manatee CC 1 thru 4. Better go all in on the Bucs

  13. spudchukar - Feb 25, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Don’t see the Rays falling off of 2010 totals by 11 games. Zobrist rebounds, Rodriguez and Brignac emerge, Hellickson replaces Garza, McGee closes, with added DH punch from Manny and Johnny. Nor do I see the wild card coming out of the East. Too much competition

    • fieldingmellish - Feb 25, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      I’d gladly take that bet. Out of the 16 AL wild cards, 12 have been from the AL East. This season, you could make the case that 4 of the top 7 teams in the AL reside in the AL East. They beat up on each other every year and it doesn’t seem to matter much for their playoff odds. Over 162 games, it seems like it’d be prudent to take the better teams, not the easier schedules.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 25, 2011 at 2:35 PM


    • thinman61 - Feb 25, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      There’s no more competition in the AL Beast in 2011 than there was in 2010, 2009 or 2008. Which division did the wild card come from in those years, again?

      • spudchukar - Feb 25, 2011 at 3:49 PM

        It is the improvement of the O’s and Jays that will pull down the win totals in the East.

      • thinman61 - Feb 25, 2011 at 4:01 PM

        Seems to me the idea of too much competition applies more to the AL Central than it does the AL Beast. There are 3 teams there with a legitimate shot at winning that division, none of whom have a realistic shot at winning more games than the number 2 team in the Beast.

  14. thinman61 - Feb 25, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    I wonder how many times since 1996 the Yankees have been this shallow in starting pitching depth? The average MLB team will have 10 pitchers start games for them over the course of a season, and right now the Yankees have solid answers for 3 of them. They’re 1 extended DL trip for any 1 of those 3 away from being seriously under 92 games.

    Of course I am a Sox fan, so I’m inclined by nature to bet against the Yankees. 😉

    • uyf1950 - Feb 25, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      My friend the same can be said for your Red Sox. With one minor exception. The Red Sox pitchers are known for going on the DL so I would expect that trend to continue. Outside of Lester the other 4 regulars have spent various amount of time on the DL over the last 2 or 3 years. But then again they always have Wakefield to spell someone in the group. That’s my attempt at a joke.

      • thinman61 - Feb 25, 2011 at 2:52 PM

        And Felix Doubront, who’s likely to start the season at AAA.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 25, 2011 at 3:01 PM

        thinman61 – Is that the same Felix Doubront who the Sox just shut down for 2 weeks because of tightness in his elbow and who has pitched all of 37 innings in Pawtucket AAA. If the Sox have to count on him as a replacement for one of their starters, watch out.

  15. baseballisboring - Feb 25, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    “…and the Red Sox have won more than 95 games just twice since 1979.”
    “…the Yankees have won fewer than 92 games just twice since 1996.”

    These numbers mean _nothing_.

    91.5 sounds about right considering Andy Pettitte’s gone and Freddy Garcia is penciled in as the #4 (with Burnett as the #3 no less).

    And true, all Gonzo and Crawford did was replace Beltre and V-Mart, but they’re gonna add more value, injured players are coming back, and the bullpen has been made into one of the best in the game.

  16. marinersnate - Feb 26, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    I like the over on Seattle at 70, but since I have an obvious bias that is probably not worth much.

    I also like the over on Texas at 87 and the over on Minnesota at 86.5.

    I would go under on the Chisox at 85.5.

    On to the AL East where all the interest seems to lay (I am not a fan of any AL east team):

    I would take the over on both Baltimore at 76 and Toronto at 76.

    I think that the Rays at 84.5 is too close to call. I was tempted to take the under but it is hard to think that this team will win less than 85 games.

    And at the risk of inciting a riot:

    I will take the over on Boston at 95.

    And the under on NYY at 91.5.

  17. BC - Feb 26, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    I missed this one on Friday – sucks to get the flu. Here are my thoughts.
    Slightly over on the Yankees. Meaning Celebrity Deathmatch with Boston for the division. 95 sounds about right for both.
    Way under on the A’s. I don’t understand that number at all. If they crack .500 it’ll be a miracle. Or either that it will be Wonkavision. Either way, strong under.
    I would also say a close under on the Angels. Having Morales back will help, so that’s a so-so bet.
    Finally, under on the Tigers. If there’s one team that will end up staying with it for the first half and then cratering out of the Twins-Tigers-White Sox, it’s them. Unless Porcello comes back and wins 17 games, their first baseman stays out of jail, and their corner outfielders actually DO something, .500 will be tough for them.

  18. marinermousse - Feb 27, 2011 at 4:07 AM

    I have got to LOVE the over on the White Sox. They added Dunn and both Quentin and Beckham had off years. They have FIVE real starting pitchers, if Peavy comes out of the chute OK, with Edwin Jackson being one of the better #5 pitchers in the AL for sure. They will have a better closer that last year, as Jenks was erratic and the overall bullpen looks deep with Crain, Sale, Santos, Peña, Ohman.

    My gosh, I have gushed so much I think I will run to the bookie right away!!

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